Lee Payne: I don't know if Norwich City can break this yo-yo cycle
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
I am running out of answers when it comes to Norwich City.
It doesn’t seem to matter how much money they spend, what team they put out or what formation they play, they just can’t crack the Premier League.
I’m not here to make excuses. Six defeats from the first six league games of the season is unheard of and absolutely not good enough. The last time they were at this level they put their trust in the players that had got them there and it didn’t work. This time, they have spent money - which is apparently so important to some people - and the defeats just keep on coming.
Why? How can Watford, who finished six points behind the Canaries in the Championship last season, turn up at Carrow Road and play them off the park as they did last week? Confidence was bound to have been knocked by coming out of the first five games pointless, no matter the quality of the opposition, but the extent to which Norwich were second best was a shock.
It’s food for thought that Watford’s best player, Ismaila Sarr, scored twice. He caught the attention of the top clubs when he was instrumental in his side beating Liverpool in February last year, bringing an end to the Reds’ unbeaten run at 44 matches. Last season, he scored thirteen times. In the summer there were rumours that Liverpool were trying to buy him, but Watford stood firm. Compare this to Norwich and Emi Buendia, who was sold to Aston Villa at seemingly the first opportunity.
We are well aware by now of how the club operates. It lives within its means. It doesn’t spend money it hasn’t got. Therefore, it was only through the sale of Buendia that they were able to buy a reported £60 million worth of players ahead of the new season. They haven’t bought bad players, either. Several of them were purchased from under the noses of other suitors, filling positions that the fans were adamant needed filling.
Maybe, just maybe, City would have been better off investing in keeping the Argentine for one more year. They have never been known for keeping it tight at the back, so the creativity Buendia offers could have been crucial. His absence combined with the loss of the defensive protection provided by Oliver Skipp, who impressed enough on loan to now be a regular starter at Tottenham, and characters like Alex Tettey have left the squad feeling disjointed and unhappy.
- 1 Webber on Farke future and his own contract
- 2 Ferguson knew ex-City captain would excel in management
- 3 Paddy Davitt: Should Farke pick up the phone to Neil?
- 4 'Scandalous, a disgrace' - City chief hits backs at haters
- 5 'Don't give up on us now' - Webber plea to City fans
- 6 Buendia sale crucial to £21.5m profit that helped fund City's summer revamp
- 7 City chiefs 'very proud' of financial results amid Covid-19 challenges
- 8 Webber defends City's summer recruitment
- 9 Giannoulis committed to City survival scrap
- 10 From a magician to a clown. Farke on his critics
It must be a real headache for Daniel Farke, who will obviously now be under pressure after a grimly predictable defeat at Everton. I have been trying not to point the finger at the manager, as I am very fond of him. While he has been brilliant in getting Norwich promoted twice, it’s hard to ignore the fact he is on a sixteen game losing streak in the Premier League.
The club’s approach to the Premier League is constantly lambasted by the fans of other clubs for never changing, for being unambitious, for being apparently quite happy to get relegated as it means we can take the cash for a year in the top division. This is nonsense, and it’s quite obviously nonsense. No club is ever happy to get relegated from any division and the apparent riches that going up and down brings are wildly exaggerated. In my last column for this
newspaper I stated my belief that there was a way for a club run the way Norwich City is to establish itself in the Premier League - but as hope of staying up is already pretty much gone before the clocks have changed, I have to wonder if it really is. I have no desire to see my club become some rich bloke’s plaything, but without serious investment it’s a struggle to see Norwich ever breaking out of the yo-yo cycle.