'Outstanding track record’ - Smith was long-term target for City chief

Dean Smith and Stuart Webber

Norwich City sporting director Stuart Webber has appointed Dean Smith as head coach - Credit: PA/Danielle Booden

Sporting director Stuart Webber says he is ‘delighted’ to appoint long-term target Dean Smith as Daniel Farke’s replacement as head coach at Norwich City. 

After making the difficult decision to part ways with Farke after a disappointing start to the season, despite a 2-1 win at Brentford, Smith entered the race when he was sacked by Aston Villa the next day. 

CONFIRMED: City confirm Dean Smith appointment

After impressing at Walsall and Brentford previously, the 50-year-old led boyhood club Aston Villa to play-off glory, two years of Premier League survival and a League Cup final, under wealthy ownership. 

However, a summer of change including selling Jack Grealish to Manchester City for £100million and assistant coaches John Terry and Richard O’Kelly moving on, left Villa 16th on 10 points from 11 games after five consecutive defeats. 

After a good start to the season, fears that Smith wasn’t going to build on finishing 11th last season saw the Villans’ ambitious owners make their change. 

With talks also held with Frank Lampard last week, it is Smith that Webber decided to choose, confirmed this morning as signing a contract until the summer of 2024 and bringing assistant Craig Shakespeare with him to Norfolk.

Webber managed to arrange a face-to-face meeting with Smith before the West Midlands native flew out to New York to visit his son following his Villa departure, as the recruitment process kicked into action.

“We are delighted to have appointed Dean as our new head coach. I have admired his work for some time and he has been a long-term target in the event that we needed to appoint a new head coach,” Webber said in a City statement. 

“Dean has an outstanding track record and as soon as he made it clear that he was ready to go straight back into a managerial role we contacted him immediately. 

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“He shares the same values and vision as the club, has a proven track record of winning games in the Premier League as well as developing players and building a winning culture and mentality.” 

The former Sheffield Wednesday and Leyton Orient defender is joined by his former Walsall team-mate Shakespeare, who helped Nigel Pearson steer Leicester to safety in 2014-15. 

The 58-year-old was also Claudio Ranieri’s assistant as the Foxes won the Premier League in 2016 and then took over from the Italian in 2017 to steer Leicester away from relegation trouble. 

Webber continued: “In Craig Shakespeare we have secured an assistant head coach with an outstanding reputation and vast experience within the game. We are delighted that Craig has agreed to join our new team. 

“We look forward to working with Dean and Craig and building on the outstanding work which has been achieved at this club in the last few years. 

“There are huge challenges ahead, but we are excited and determined to see how far we can continue to grow as a club on and off the pitch.” 

It's understood that goalkeeper coach Ed Wootten is likely to remain in his role and that further coaching appointments could be internal promotions but those details will be confirmed in the weeks ahead.

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