Lee Payne: Why all Norwich City fans must stop doubting Farke
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Things are looking good for Norwich City.
Four wins and a draw from the five games prior to the visit of Millwall have raised the spirits of the fans, even if the prospect of sitting in my Barclay seat to watch the team in person has never felt further away.
Another lockdown looms and it’s going to be a long while before we can all pack into Carrow Road again, despite the fact I’ve just spent the weekend working in a supermarket with more people in it than the average Ipswich home game.
It has been a relief to see the team winning again after the horrendous post-restart Premier League experience. And a relief as well to see the pressure being lifted from the shoulders of the head coach Daniel Farke.
There had been a growing number of comments on social media questioning Farke’s position in the early weeks of the season. I realise social media tends to lend itself to the most vocal in society – and brings out the worst in them – but I can’t say I’d seen comments like that before.
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I am a big Farke fan. In the good old days when we were allowed into football grounds to watch matches, I always felt a surge of pride when I saw him on the touchline. I am proud that he is representing my club and I am desperate for him to succeed.
Think about what a mess he arrived at back in May 2017. City had parted company with Alex Neil in March and had Alan Irvine in charge until the end of the season. The team had finished a full 10 points off the play-off places in their first campaign since top flight relegation. The club had a bloated squad of overpaid has-beens.
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Less than two years later Norwich were Championship title winners, playing the most attractive football in the division with an overhauled squad bursting with young talent. Farke is clearly an excellent coach and can spot a promising youngster. Not only that, but he also isn’t afraid to put them in the side.
It was for those reasons that as far as I was concerned last season in the Premier League was a free hit for him. I was willing to accept pretty much anything, barring maybe a Derby-style record low points total, because he had earned a shot at it.
It was inevitable that there would be a hangover from such a difficult season. When you get stuck in a losing run it’s difficult to get out of it. Add to that the uncertainty caused by the transfer window still being open and Farke had his work cut out.
So it is to his immense credit that City’s results have improved and as I write this they sit fourth in the table. It has taken a while for the performances to convince but the victory at Bristol City at the weekend was the best they had played for months.
Don Goodman, commentating for Sky, said that Norwich’s defending from set pieces gave him ‘kittens’ and overall they still have improvements to make at the back. But it has been great to see the slick passing football, incisive through balls and clinical finishes make a return in recent weeks.
Daniel Farke has demonstrated that he’s still very much in control at Carrow Road and it’s time for the comments doubting his abilities to stop. And there’s another reason why he’s the man for the job.
You see, the German gets us. He understands what Norwich City means to us, the fans, and is well aware of the important role we play. It’s a rare bond between manager and supporters and not one to be taken lightly. It reminds me of the strength of feeling between Jurgen Klopp and the Liverpool fanbase. Get behind him, and we’ve got so many more fantastic memories to make together.