Jonathan Blathwayt: Why I've got a good feeling about Dean Smith

Norwich Assistant Head Coach Craig Shakespeare and Norwich Head Coach Dean Smith during the Premier

Dean Smith and Craig Shakespeare orchestrated City's victory over Southampton - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

International breaks are usually a fairly boring time for football fans.  

While international football can provide an interesting distraction from your own club’s fortunes, it rarely grips the attention and allows the mind to wander onto other things. Not this time around. 

The search for a new manager, or head coach, is a rare occurrence for Norwich fans compared to many other clubs – especially a search that happens mid-season – so the intense speculation that followed Daniel Farke’s sacking felt like a whole summer transfer window condensed into a few days.  

When you add in the ‘glamour’ of being heavily linked with such a high-profile person such as Frank Lampard, it did feel like Norwich was the centre of attention for English football for a while. 

Ultimately, the appointment of Dean Smith seemed like an anti-climax for many I’m sure after being linked with someone with more than 100 England caps or lacking intrigue that a relatively unknown manager from Europe coming into Norwich.  

A large part of Farke’s legacy at Norwich isn’t just in the good times on the pitch he delivered, but the journey that Norwich fans could take in getting to know him. With a complete unknown like Daniel, it was impossible to have any negative preconceptions about him and Norwich could truly adopt him as one of their own. 

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke celebrates victory with the fans in the Barclay end at the end of th

Daniel Farke savours derby victory for the Canaries - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith seems to represent the sensible and pragmatic choice of manager. When it first came apparent he was in with a strong chance of being appointed, I found it hard to generate much of a reaction.  

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I just about convinced myself that Lampard would be all right after he was so strongly linked, only to have that suddenly disappear and Smith emerging into view. After the razzmatazz connected to Lampard, the more earthy Smith seemed a disappointment. 

Luckily, this feeling was only temporary. It soon became apparent that Smith has much more to him than many first thought and while the new manager press conference is a fairly easy one to get right with a few ‘pleased to be here’ and using ‘we’ liberally, it was hard not to get a good sense from him very quickly. 

This feeling is only growing after a debut win.  

I’m sure he’d be the first to say that the performance was far from perfect against Southampton, but he did seem to have at least one thing that often-escaped Farke – a slice of luck. Long may that continue as they say ‘it is better to be lucky than good’, you suspect that Smith will need to be both to get Norwich out of the bottom three. 

Lukas Rupp of Norwich and Ibrahima Diallo of Southampton in action during the Premier League match a

Lukas Rupp tries to find a way past Ibrahima Diallo