Terri Westgate: Players hold key to City's destiny - and Farke's future
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Social media plays an important role for modern day football fans.
It’s often how the supporter community keeps in touch when they are apart. During the long periods of lockdown, when we were all shut out of grounds and stuck at home, it was a vital tool to keep us from feeling isolated.
Last season when we were running away with the league it was a joyful escape from the pandemic and everyday life.
However, on Saturday it became platforms for rage and despair. No longer do people wait until the post-match pint to discuss the events of the game. These days, during and even before kick-off, fans are posting their opinions on the line-up, the tactics and why they believe things aren’t going to plan.
So when things go badly wrong, as they undoubtedly did against the European champions at Stamford Bridge, people wasted no time in expressing their thoughts.
Supporters started out frustrated, but this soon developed into anger at the sheer helplessness of watching your beloved football team capitulate from afar. It wasn’t that we lost the game to Chelsea - to get a win would’ve been a big ask - but the manner of the defeat.
The words “disgusted” and “embarrassing” were repeated and reposted, and as our defence continued to be breached the cycle of anger seemed to build to a crescendo of furious passion.
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Blame was thrown at the recruitment, the game management, and the effort the players were putting in. Those of us who prefer a more considered post-mortem were too stunned to respond and simply sat back and let others vent.
I was at Ewood Park in 1992 when we lost 7-1 to Blackburn Rovers, and there was little anger that day. But the match was played in a completely different context. We were in the midst of our greatest ever season, and the scoreline rather flattered the hosts. It was just one of those days when anything hit even vaguely in the direction of the goal seemed to go in. Rather then booing or berating the players, we formed an incongruous conga on the terrace and just laughed at the ridiculousness of it all.
This time it’s a very different scenario. We are nine games into the season, have just two points and are yet to win. The promising shoots of recovery seen in the Burnley and Brighton matches have been well and truly stomped into the ground, and it’s back to the drawing board for the upcoming fixture against Leeds.
For the first time in his tenure as Norwich boss, a significant number of Canaries fans were calling Daniel Farke’s leadership into question. Many reluctantly so, as they had been behind the head coach until this point, but now felt exasperated.
The reality of the situation is that changing personnel at this point is not a straightforward option. Farke was offered and signed an extended contract in the summer, to much jubilation from the fans. To exit it so soon would be costly to the club, and bringing in a new head coach and a new system of play is unlikely to bring rewards for several weeks - and there’s no guarantee that it would be successful at all.
Casting an eye to the North East where some Newcastle fans are celebrating new ownership and the departure of the much-maligned Steve Bruce, their team are also still without a win this season. Unable to spend big until the January transfer window, they just hope to stay in touch with the pack until then. Change takes time, even when you have an obscene amount of money at your disposal.
Norwich City don’t have a surplus of cash, so our season will be determined by the players already at the club, and how they respond to the pressure. The weight of our destiny is now on their shoulders, as is the future of our head coach.