'A great friend' - City chief reflects on difficult Farke decision

New Norwich City head coach, Dean Smith, at the press conference at Carrow Road, with Stuart Webber,

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber speaks to the media, alongside new head coach Dean Smith, right - Credit: Denis Bradley

Stuart Webber hopes his friendship with Daniel Farke will endure after making the ‘incredibly tough’ decision to make a change of head coach at Norwich City.

The duo masterminded two Championship title triumphs during more than four years working together but one win in 11 games prompted action from Webber, bringing in Dean Smith as the new first-team boss this week. 

“Anyone who can sit there and say that they find those decisions easy, and delivering those decisions, is probably a psychopath, to be honest,” City’s sporting director joked. 

“An incredibly tough decision. Daniel and I worked very closely for four-and-a-half years. I probably spoke to him more in that time than anyone else in my life. 

“So to come to that decision was tough, delivering it is always tough. There’s never an easy way or a nice way of doing it but it’s about looking someone in the eye and telling them first, so that they know first, and being honest with them. 

“Then it’s about shaking hands and moving on. Daniel will be remembered at this club as a great manager who achieved some incredible things, he’ll always be a great friend to me and I look forward to seeing what’s next for him. 

“But for now it’s about what’s going forward and unfortunately, we couldn’t hide our record in the Premier League, over the 49 games, wasn’t good enough – it was not good enough. Now we’re excited about what comes next.” 

Most Read

With Smith sacked by Aston Villa within 24 hours of Farke’s dismissal, Webber quickly moved for a man he had interviewed in 2015 when in charge of Huddersfield in the Championship and Smith was doing well in League One with Walsall – but opted to appoint David Wagner instead. 

“Like always, it’s about meeting good people at the right times. You always learn from every meeting with somebody,” he explained. 

“At times you get the feeling that you click, then you see each other around at games or whatever, and there’s no denying that we did meet back then. 

“It was a good experience for both I think, certainly it was from my side, and when I was sat at Dean’s house the other day it was sort of like, I’ve been quite looking forward to this day. 

“He’s a big bloke as well, so I thought I’d better say yes this time! 

“It was good. That’s how you build relationships in this game, it’s about people, that’s the most important thing. Do we get on? Does it work? 

“I think we’ve all worked for people we don’t like or with people we don’t like, and that’s tough, but you take the science out of it and it’s that feeling, which I think was pretty good even back then.” 

NCFC EXTRA: Norwich City chief hoping duo embrace fresh start