Pink Un columnists warm to impact Dean Smith could have

Aston Villa Manager Dean Smith and Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke before the Sky Bet Championship m

Dean Smith during his time as Aston Villa boss, welcoming Daniel Farke ahead of Norwich sealing the Championship title in May 2019 - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City have a new man at the helm.

After Dean Smith was officially confirmed as Daniel Farke's successor on Monday morning we asked our Pink Un columnists their thoughts.

David Hannant

When news of Dean Smith's appointment was first emerging, I was a little underwhelmed to begin with.

As football fans often do, I live in a Norwich City bubble so sometimes only have surface-deep knowledge of other managers and my snap reaction was we were employing a man who couldn't even get a tune out of Emi Buendia.

However, on delving deeper into who Dean Smith is and what his football philosophy is, I've warmed to the idea immensely.

I spent a reasonable chunk of my weekend reading up on Smith's approaches and really like what I saw.

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Every time he has departed a club, they have been in a better position than when they arrived.

I even put myself through the torture of rewatching the highlights of his last trip to Carrow Road - a 5-1 demolition of Daniel Farke's Norwich side.

His team that day were hard-working, high-pressing and impressive - if that's what we can expect then I'm all for it.

Ian Clarke

I’m not going to lie - I was pretty underwhelmed when the name Dean Smith was first mentioned for the City head coach role.

On the surface he lacked the allure of others and had just been binned by one of our big rivals. As the hours and days went on and I read and thought more, DS grew on me.

He knows how to win games of football in the top flight and on the whole has a decent track record in management.

I’m now positive that he gives us the best chance to achieve the seemingly impossible. Two things which impressed me most from his quotes when he was appointed.

He’s only had four months out of football since he was 16 - and he didn’t enjoy it.

That deep love of the game will certainly rub off on players and us fans.

Also he’s talked very early on about making Carrow Road much tougher for visiting sides and that’s crucial to survival hopes. 

Since beating Man City in Sept ‘19, City have won just two and drawn four out of 21 games and scored only 14 goals at home.

Let’s do this! OTBC.

Terri Westgate

Dean Smith is a safe pair of hands.

It’s not an appointment that gets me excited, but he does seem to be the sensible choice. He has Premier League experience, but also has a point to prove after his recent, rather hasty dismissal.

Though the player budget at Norwich will be more modest than he had at his disposal the last two seasons, he also had previous success lower down the divisions on a shoestring budget.

Although the announcement didn’t garner much excitement for me, this could all change on Saturday with his first game in charge against the Saints. What really inspires us fans is the style of play. And if this new era of the Canaries kicks off with free-flowing attacking football, goals from open play, and three vital points, I will certainly be one of many in the Barclay singing his name come 5 o’clock. 

Lee Payne

I will readily admit that Dean Smith wouldn’t have been my first choice to replace Daniel Farke. The trouble he had been having at Aston Villa, with a fifth consecutive defeat losing him his job, did not make me think that he could be the man to get Norwich City out of the bottom three.

I had been sucked in by the idea of Kjetil Knutsen, as he seemed the kind of left field appointment that Norwich have gone for in recent years and had success with. I was even coming round to the idea of Frank Lampard.

What has convinced me about Smith is the reaction to his arrival at Carrow Road from Villa supporters, who from what I have seen been unequivocal in their love for him. I’m fed up of our relegation being spoken about like it’s a foregone conclusion, so hopefully Smith can get City going.

Iwan Roberts

I like the appointment, I think he can do very well at the club given support.

It’s fair to say Dean’s done his apprenticeship with spells at Walsall and Brentford, and then he was given his dream job of managing his beloved Aston Villa.

Under him Brentford played quick attacking football but I think his main strength is getting the defensive side of the team organised and solid, which I would expect being a former central defender.

His Villa side finished 11th in the Premier League last season and had the 6th best defensive record while doing so, only Man City and Chelsea kept more clean sheets than Aston Villa.

I thinks its these sort of statistics that give me hope that Dean and his assistant Craig Shakespeare can produce some magic and keep Norwich in the Premier League.

Spud Thornhill

They say a week in football is a long time. And so true it is.

I’m not going to lie, but Dean Smith was not my first choice especially as he had just lost five games on the trot which forced his ex employers to sack him.

I did state I was interested in the Norwegian guy but I suppose my heart was still aching from Daniel Farke and I let my heart rule my head.

I never wanted Frank Lampard as manager and the longer the talk of Smith went on, the more I was coming round to the idea of what a fantastic manager we were lucky to get.

I remember how well his Brentford and Villa sides have done when they have visited Carrow Road. 

With the high praise I have heard from Villa fans, it seems we have a quality man at our club. The more I think about it, the more I have faith in Dean Smith keeping us up.


Di Cunningham

Underwhelmed best described my initial response to the managerial appointment. I’m happy to be classed with those fans teased on socials over the last week as predisposed to favour football bosses from overseas. And yep; I probably would have been more excited at the prospect of little known Dino Schmidt who’d kept his squad of young unknowns against the odds atop of an Eastern European nation’s elite league table.

Not just because under Farke we saw a joyful injection of cross cultural atmosphere as well as playing style but because in recent years we've resisted defaulting to standard British managers (Sam, Harry, Roy ..). And on paper Smith has little to offer over Daniel other than being a change of guard - he hasn’t managed a team successfully in the Prem either.

But I have faith in Webber so I’ll reserve judgement for a few games in. Let’s hope he can get the squad gelling soon. This was an opportunity missed though; a co-management pairing of Dean with New York City FC’s Ronny would have given us Deila Smith!