Canaries sporting director Webber staying on rolling contract

Stuart Webber, sporting director, at the annual general meeting at Carrow Road in Norwich. Picture:

Norwich City's sporting director Stuart Webber at last night's AGM at Carrow Road - Credit: Danielle Booden

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber has confirmed he will be staying with the Canaries on a new rolling contract.

Webber signalled last month that he was set to commit to a new deal during the November international break.

However, the Welshman has been rather busy since then, having decided to dismiss Daniel Farke as head coach at the start of this month after one win from 11 matches since promotion to the Premier League.

City were holding their annual general meeting at Carrow Road this evening and Webber's contract situation was confirmed to shareholders.

Confirming to applause, he said: “I will be staying. I’ve been speaking with the directors for quite some time, we didn’t want it to be a big hoo-ha, I didn’t like what happened last time when I signed a contract and it felt about me, I hated that to be honest. 

“I’ve always been very open and honest, sometimes people don’t like that but I think that’s the only way, people pay their money and I think if someone asks you a question, you give them an answer, not a fluffy answer but tell them the truth. 

“My plan was always clear that I wanted to go abroad at the end of this current contract and I’ll be honest Covid has changed that, it’s not the right time to be going away at the moment."

Webber was due to be out of contract next summer, having previously signalled his intention to move on to a new challenge when he signed a three-year deal in September 2019 after masterminding the first promotion of his reign.

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The 37-year-old former Liverpool academy recruitment chief was alongside the Canaries' board of directors to discuss club matters, having recently decided to appoint Dean Smith as the new head coach.

He continued: "We’ve agreed to do it where we’ll talk about it privately, yearly, it’s not going to be I’m staying for three years, for 10 years, one year, or whatever. 

“The trust I have with (majority shareholders) Delia and Michael is that if the day comes when they want me to leave the next second, then not a problem, and likewise if the time comes when I want to have some time out. 

“I’ve got ambitions away from football, I‘ve got a load of ambitions and Delia and Michael have always known this. I’ve had opportunities to leave for bigger clubs, bigger projects, but it’s not about that. 

“If and when I leave here, it won’t be in football, so for me it was about that understanding with them that as long as I'm allowed to explore certain opportunities, and they've been top class as you'd expect.

"So I'm delighted to be staying, thank you for the round of applause. It's exciting, I'm looking forward to what's next and it's a good opportunity now."

Micahel Foulger, Stuart Webber, Ian Thornton, Zoe Ward and Anthony Richens at the annual general mee

Micahel Foulger, Stuart Webber, Ian Thornton, Zoe Ward and Anthony Richens at the annual general meeting at Carrow Road - Credit: Danielle Booden

The appointment of Smith brought a 2-1 home win over Southampton on Saturday and lifted Norwich to 19th and within three points of safety after 12 matches, ahead of the visit of Wolves this Saturday.

As head of the football department, it was Webber that advised the board that the difficult decision to dismiss Farke was needed after a poor start to the season, despite the German and his backroom team signing four-year deals following promotion.

He then led the recruitment process alongside assistant sporting director Neil Adams, with talks also held with former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard but Smith swiftly becoming first choice after being dismissed by Aston Villa a day after Farke's exit.

Prior to the recent changes, Webber and Farke had enjoyed four seasons working together to take the Canaries away from Championship mediocrity and financial concerns.

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Two promotions to the Premier League as Championship winners led a revolution on and off the pitch, with the multi-million-pound revamp of training facilities at Colney a symbol of the progress made.

The progress also led to substantial investment following promotion this year as well, as the club's self-funded model survived a loss of around £30million due to the Covid-19 pandemic forcing games behind closed doors.

Players sales of around £60million last season contributed to a club-record transfer window spend of around £60m this summer, with a further £20m to potentially follow if top-flight survival can be secured this season.

With Smith and assistant head coach Craig Shakespeare recently signing contracts until 2024, the rolling contract backs up the former Huddersfield Town chief's previous statement's that he would not leave City in the lurch.

He has always spoken of the intention to leave the club in a healthier state than he found it and has been linked with interest from clubs including Southampton and Manchester United in the past.

The Daily Mail reported last month that 'a host of leading clubs' were monitoring Webber's contract situation, after twice managing to engineer promotion to the Premier League despite financial constraints.

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