Matt Howman: Do you want Norwich City to be in the Premier League
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It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
Twenty-four games into another Championship season and Norwich are purring along like a well-oiled results machine. At times, the football is scintillating and despite the obvious drawbacks of empty stadiums and lack of atmosphere, City have been a joy to watch.
With 50 points on the board and eight points clear of third place, you would be crazy not to assert Norwich as favourites for one of the automatic promotion spots this year. Of course, there is still half a season to play and plenty of points up for grabs, but there is certainly enough quality running through the City side to firmly hold their hands up and say they should be finishing in one of the top two spots at the end of the season.
Which brings the inevitable conundrum of our yo-yo club. Do I want to see Norwich back in the Premier League? Especially so soon following on from the disaster of last season. The instinctive answer is yes, however there are some doubts and a small voice saying the Championship is a far better place for Norwich right now.
As a fan you always aspire for your club to be the best it can be. Undoubtedly, Norwich back in the Premier League finishing eleventh and achieving 44 points as we did in the 12/13 season would be exceptional considering the resources Farke has been given comparative to all 20 teams in the division right now.
Yet, is that really what would define a successful season each year? Scraping together enough points to survive, only to start all over again…
If you take a look at Newcastle as an example, Alan Shearer recently wrote a piece about how the club has lost its soul, has no direction and no ambition to achieve more than surviving in the Premier League each season.
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As I look at the table now, Crystal Palace is another one which feels very similar. It’s difficult to say too much about Palace as I’m not an expert in the club, however since their last promotion they have bounced around between 15th and 10th in terms of league finishes.
So, envisage Norwich doing the same. 14th one year, 12th the next, maybe a run at 10th or even 9th on a good season, would fans be content with that?
With Farke continuing to manage the squad, there is a strong argument that we would continue to play the same exciting football, develop young players and enjoy a few games each season where we pick up a result against one of the big teams but my feeling is that for the majority of football teams in the pyramid, the journey is much better than the destination as far as the Premier League is concerned.
Over the past decade Norwich have spent time in both divisions and I can honestly say I enjoy the Championship more so than the Premier League. Of course, that view will have been impacted by our numerous relegations! And then, for the Championship to be so enjoyable, Norwich have to be fighting high at the top for promotion… therein lies the conundrum.
So, back to the instinctive yes. Norwich should be in the Premier League because no matter what happens the following season, it underlines how good the club are at the Championship level. The promotions are rewards for success and the ventures into the Premier League give the board food for thought on where Norwich should be as a club.
We don’t want to get into the same situation as Newcastle. Under Jez Moxey there was a threat of that happening, the club becoming a soulless entity. There needs to be more resources given to Farke to continue to develop the squad and as long as the club maintains the feel-good factors, Norwich could finally make a success of the Premier League and make the Championship a fond memory.