'This is our way' - Farke launches passionate defence of Canaries structure

Norwich City's Joint Majority Shareholder Delia Smith and Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke after the

Norwich City's joint majority shareholder Delia Smith celebrates last season's Championship title triumph with head coach Daniel Farke - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

The humble, realistic and passionate leadership at Norwich City is far more important to Daniel Farke than the ability to splash out huge transfer fees at a club with wealthy ownership. 

Farke inevitably enjoyed a decent wage bump as he signed his new four-year deal in July and the Canaries were able to spend more than ever before during the summer transfer window, spending around £50million with the potential for further fees to follow if survival can be secured this season. 

That’s before taking into account over £20m to make the loans of Mathias Normann and Ozan Kabak permanent but is also set against a club-record sale of Emi Buendia to Aston Villa for an initial £33m and the loss of around £35m in expected income thanks to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The delicate financial scenario that Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber have navigated for the past four seasons is in stark contrast to most clubs in the Premier League and several in the Championship that have wealthy benefactors and can deal with big losses. 

That financial inferiority has been emphasised in the past week by Newcastle becoming the wealthiest club in the world, with the Magpies swapping the wealthy Mike Ashley for far greater riches of an investment firm spearheaded by the Saudi Arabian monarchy. 

With big clubs including Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Portsmouth among the many to come unstuck after chasing the big bucks, City’s joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones have been notoriously cautious about investment from overseas – and have always insisted that realistic and responsible approaches haven't been made.

“I am here especially because of Delia and Michael, I can’t ask for better owners. We are also not jealous, as a club,” Farke said when asked about the situation at Newcastle. 

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“When I first signed for this club of course the relationship with Stuart Webber was also quite important but for me it was also important to speak to our board and our owners, to get a feeling of how they want to develop this club and for the heart and soul of this club. 

“I really can’t ask for better owners, in terms of how they lead the club by staying humble, down to earth and with so much passion for the people, and also concentrated on bringing the right values to the club. 

“They lead the club with so much intelligence and being concentrated on the bigger picture, on the mid-term and long-term process, not just quick success and spending an unbelievable amount of money in order to bring some success – and if it doesn’t work, we leave the club in a horrendous place and in financial disaster. 

“They really care for the people and this club. They care for every human being here and for that, in these terms, you can’t ask for better owners. 

“I think they are fantastic, great and also a major part of why I extended my contract, because I know there is a big trust between us.” 

Newcastle currently sit just a place and one point above the Canaries at the foot of the Premier League table, as they embark on a gold-plated new era. 

That’s despite already being able to sign players for big fees in recent years, such as the reported £40million deal for Brazilian forward Joelinton or around £20m on Miguel Almiron and Callum Wilson – buying left-back Jamal Lewis from Norwich for an initial £15m last year. 

Stuart Webber, Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Matt Windle at the official opening of the Lotus

Majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, centre, at the recent official opening of the Lotus Training Centre, alongside sporting director Stuart Webber, left, and Lotus Cars managing director Matt Windle - Credit: Danielle Booden

In contrast, Norwich signed Josh Sargent, Milot Rashica and Christos Tzolis for similar fees approaching £10m this summer which could become club-record deals if they prove successful and add-on fees are activated - while Mathias Normann could surpass those deals if he is signed permanently, with an initial £11m and potential add-ons to reportedly follow a £1.5m loan fee. 

Farke continued: “We are a self-funded club and we don’t have the financial opportunities like other clubs. Investors sometimes bring other opportunities to other clubs and then it’s not easy to be competitive on this level, but we are not jealous. 

“We have to work for this club with the tools that this club has – and I think also to be careful what you wish for. 

“Yes, for some clubs, when the right people are there with the right money, it works quite well, but the most important topic is that you have the right people in the right place. 

Norwich City's Joint Majority Shareholder Delia Smith and Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke after the

Head coach Daniel Farke thanks joint majority shareholder Michael Wynn Jones after a win over Reading sealed the Championship title last season - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

“For that, we are not jealous. We know that it makes our life a bit difficult that we have to sometimes sell our best players so that we can earn the money before we spend it, but then we really think that our supporters and those connected with Norwich really value what we are doing. 

“We are also quite proud. Sometimes it is not always about winning titles and it’s about making the most of your opportunities. 

“I think our supporters have a great sense and know that it is also difficult for us to be competitive and the outside world quite often writes us off a little bit. 

“There are not opportunities like other clubs but our supporters and the whole community feels the pride to be competitive even under these circumstances.” 

Norwich City's Joint Majority Shareholder Delia Smith gets behind her side during the Premier League

Delia Smith shows her support during the Canaries draw with Brighton at Carrow Road on Saturday - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd 

City’s head coach has often talked of the need for an underdog spirit and was also keen not to sound defeatist or unambitious. 

“We do not complain or offer any excuses. We want to go with our tools, to be realistic and to not make more out of what we are – but also not less,” he concluded. 

“We want to defend this yellow shirt with all that we have got and also our values. This is our way. 

“Of course, other clubs have other ways and I also totally respect them, that there is the potential to create something outstanding and there are many clubs who have proved that with a lot of money they can work in a very valuable way. 

“You don’t have to be scared of working with money in this business, that’s also quite important, but you also have to make sure that you work with your individual situation and your circumstances – and this is what we’re doing.” 

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