Paddy Davitt: David Brent would love to manage this team
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Daniel Farke joked he did not have the spare time to star in the club’s superb ‘The Office’ inspired season ticket renewals video. We saw the fruits of his labours again in the composed 3-1 home win over Birmingham City.
In an era where too many people like to know the price of everything, but the value of nothing, it’s a fair assessment Norwich’s starting line up on Friday night arguably cost less than Birmingham shelled out on Jota.
The Spanish midfielder was a signature signing for the ‘King of the Jungle’ before things rapidly turned sour for Harry Redknapp at St Andrews. Biting on a beetle or two was probably preferable to getting the listing Blues’ upwardly mobile.
Garry Monk has done a decent job so far, given he is operating under straightened financial circumstances and transfer restrictions.
But Monk said something telling in his post-match verdict at Carrow Road. Something that cuts to the heart of Farke’s work and the Canaries’ brave philosophy. He agreed the hosts were full value for the victory and then bemoaned his own’s side’s deficiencies and failure to stick to the script.
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In essence, he said they had played too much like individuals and not as a team.
That unity, that sense of purpose is what has propelled Norwich into an unlikely assault on automatic promotion to the Premier League. It is what enables them to keep defying the odds and responding to adversity, especially with a catalogue of injuries.
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- 3 Farke's injury fears for Hugill after Barnsley FA Cup loss
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- 6 STARTING XIs: Hernandez starts as City make five changes for FA Cup tie
- 7 Ton up Tim is wonderful for Farke
- 8 Robin Sainty: Farke has taken City to a whole new level
- 9 Energetic Barnsley dump disjointed Norwich side out of the FA Cup
- 10 Barnsley v Norwich City in the FA Cup - all you need to know
But for a faulty fuse in that madcap finish against Derby you could argue they would be riding the crest of a 16-match unbeaten league run.
Even one, late defeat to the Rams in 16 games is a phenomenal effort, a signal of their consistency and a tribute to the work of Farke, Stuart Webber and far too many to mention here.
Particularly when you return to the point about price tags.
This is not a promotion push framed by how much money Norwich can spend, or how big a budget they have for transfer fees and wages.
This is fuelled by a richness of character, a tight team ethic, the precociousness of youth and fanned outside the inner circle by supporters who have fallen back in love.
Rest assured there will be no need for amusing video content to flog tickets between now and the end of this campaign. City will be backed in huge numbers at home and on the road because there is a gathering sense something special could happen.
There is enough circumstantial evidence to believe rather than simply hope.
Norwich’s backline against the Blues contained two free transfers and three academy products.
The midfield comprised players plucked from the second tiers of Germany and Spain, plus another free transfer from Holland in Tom Trybull, while Mario Vrancic joined from a club who had finished rock bottom in the Bundesliga in his previous season.
Then up front the pièce de résistance; the jewel in a recruitment strategy that you can be sure has rivals from across the Championship casting envious glances.
Teemu Pukki’s near post slot to set Norwich on their way against the Blues was his 20th strike for club and country in 34 appearances since turning his back on Danish football and pitching up in Norfolk on a free transfer.
Pukki must have exceeded even the expectations of Farke and Webber to maintain such a prolific output. His value on the pitch and the balance sheet has grown exponentially.
There will be plenty more scouts joining those who were in attendance last Friday at Carrow Road to cast admiring glances towards Farke’s band of brothers.
The sooner the January transfer window passes with barely a ripple in these parts the better.
Not because there is any prospect City’s powerbrokers would now jeopardise a feeling the force is with Farke and his players.
Simply because it removes another off field distraction in what is shaping up to be a thrilling finale. One which will dictate so much about the future direction of travel far beyond May.