Stevie wonder's staying put at City
Michael Bailey He is the secret ingredient in Glenn Roeder's recipe for the Canaries' Championship revival, and Steve Black is not about to go anywhere else in a hurry.
He is the secret ingredient in Glenn Roeder's recipe for the Canaries' Championship revival, and Steve Black is not about to go anywhere else in a hurry.
The Geordie, who is widely credited as the coach who mentored England's Jonny Wilkinson to the position of highest Test points scorer in the history of rugby union, was drafted in by Roeder to work alongside his assistant Lee Clark and first team coach Paul Stephenson.
And with 'Blackie' taking up a part-time role at Colney, having already used his main expertise in conditioning and motivational coaching at three other football clubs over the years, there is nowhere he would rather be.
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“I have been in the sporting business for so many years I do not take on these things lightly, but I am enjoying it enormously,” said Black. “I am really enjoying the situation and the good thing about life is spending time with good people.
“If Norwich become more effective and successful, then we ought to send all those great fans - and it's 25,000 every week - with a smile on their face.
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“When you think about it, it is a great opportunity to influence a lot of people's lives.”
Having coached both Clark and Stephenson as players, and knowing Roeder from his time at Newcastle United, the latest recruit to the Canaries' Geordie contingent began working away behind the scenes at City after they were hammered 3-0 at Plymouth. Roeder's first win as manager and a 13-match unbeaten run followed.
“I know Glenn, Lee and Paul very well. They are three good people and if I could help them out then I would,” said Black.
“Glenn is a good man and has got a good heart. He's been around the game and has good managerial experience dealing with players, and I think he has a respect borne out of his playing career.
“With the players, if you realise that you are working with someone who is honest, with integrity, then there is a chance of trust, and if there is that trust, then they will work for you and give themselves for that.
“With someone like Glenn, he is a good person and very trustworthy, he is a very competent lad and I am very impressed with the way they are all handling the challenge they were given at the start.”
Black worked at Newcastle United during Kevin Keegan's first reign on Tyneside, and has since spent time joining the rugby revolution at Newcastle Falcons, a stint with the Wales team as well as with boxer Glenn McCrory.
Sunderland and Fulham - both former clubs of Lee Clark - have also had the Black treatment in recent years, with the coach a big believer in kaizen - the Japanese philosophy concentrating on continual improvement and adding value.
So, will the coach be hanging around over the coming seasons?
“I'm not entirely sure; hopefully,” said Black. “Nobody's guaranteed tomorrow in life. If I can contribute and help people fulfil their potential, and there is enormous potential at the club and within the players at the club, and if I can act as a catalyst, then I will be there as long as I am needed.
“It is a lovely club with a lot of good people and it is good to see them getting out of the quite difficult position they were in.
“Obviously the job is not completely done yet. As anyone in professional sport would say, it is never a destination, it's a journey, but things have certainly improved since the three of them have been in, and the other backroom staff and the players have done very well too.”