A message to Talksport - you've got Norwich City so wrong

The Norwich fans before the Premier League match at Carrow Road, NorwichPicture by Paul Chesterton/

Norwich City fans were delighted to get back to familiar surroundings at Carrow Road.

After two games against two of the best sides in Europe, Norwich City are about to be relegated. 

Well, they are if you listen to Talksport anyway. 

Whilst former Tottenham midfielder turned presenter Jamie O’Hara argued the Premier League should revoke Norwich’s membership, it was Alex Crook that really went for the Canaries on his show, revealing how little time he has for their approach to the top-flight. 

City fans went on social media to convey their displeasure at Crook’s diatribe and we’ve tried to break down and address some of Crook’s key points. 

Crook: “Are they a club that’s quite happy to yo-yo between the Premier League and the Championship- are their fans okay with that?” 

Yes – if it means the club is run responsibly – then the majority of supporters will be absolutely fine with that. Norwich were a James Maddison injury away from financial disaster due to the mismanagement of the past. It was only the sale of the midfielder to Leicester that gave the club enough room to have a rethink how they approach things and prudently invest in Daniel Farke’s methods. It’s gone pretty well... 

To have someone like Stuart Webber offer a clarified approach in the boardroom has ensured Norwich have arguably never been in a healthier position both on and off the field. 

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Crook: “This is a team in my lifetime that were title contenders in the first season of the Premier League.” 

Well, quite a lot has changed since then... No reasonable supporter would expect the Canaries to be challenging for the title any time soon unless a sovereign state takes them over. Do fans want that or do they want a club and community they can feel a part of? 

Crook: “Their sporting director Stuart Webber has said they are happy to be a top 24 club. Therefore one of the best 24 teams in the country and they have been. They have consistently done that in the last few seasons.” 

Webber actually once said they club’s goal was to be a ‘top 26’ club but that ambition has moved on to being a sustainable Premier League side. Norwich won’t put their long-term sustainability at risk to achieve that and no business should. There are countless examples where reckless spending has seen clubs tumble down the football pyramid – do fans really want a part of that? One season of finishing in the top 10 followed by 20 in the lower leagues. 

Crook: “They came up last time and I think they spent less than £1m and they were never going to stay up on that budget, go back down again, finish in the top four, win promotion, use the parachute money, it doesn’t sit right with me. I think in some ways it goes against sporting integrity. They’re in a league when they have no real intention of competing.” 

How is running a club responsibly going against sporting integrity? To suggest they have no intention of competing when they have shelled out the best part of £50m on new signings (Gabriel Agbonlahor take note) is crazy. You would hope the majority of supporters would realise that to judge their side’s Premier League chances, after two games against two of the best sides in Europe, is somewhat premature. 

Crook: “It’s almost like they are signing players for the Championship next season. Angus Gunn, Rashica, Gibson for me is a Championship player, Gilmour not much Premier League experience – where is the experience, where are the goals coming from? They sold Buendia – have they reinvested that money? No.” 

Wow. Several points made here. How is signing a Premier League goalkeeper as a back-up a Championship signing? How is signing a winger who was coveted by some of the best teams in Europe a Championship signing? Meanwhile, Gibson himself will admit he’s got to prove himself as a Premier League player after an ill-fated spell at Burnley (still the Clarets record signing at £15m)... that’s why he came to Norwich City. And, yes, they have reinvested the Buendia money. 

Crook: “I think they would be willing to sell Todd Cantwell, if not this summer, then certainly if they were to get relegated then he would leave.” 

Yes – he's spot on. If a club offers over £40m for Cantwell then Norwich will sell him and reinvest the money. It’s the way Norwich as a responsible football club operates. 

Crook: “They are too reliant on Teemu Pukki and to be fair the goals dried up for him when they were last in the Premier League.” 

Right again – that's why the club has invested so much money in the top end of the pitch to try and alleviate some of the goalscoring load from the Finn. 

Crook: "They will probably be relegated by February and then do it all again and probably win the Championship next season." 

Perhaps – but that’s what a well-run club does. If one season doesn’t work out well then you try and put it right the next one. Anyone that suggests that’s easy should take a look at clubs like Huddersfield, Swansea or Middlesbrough to name just three.