‘Our best signing was Tim Krul’ – Webber launches passionate defence of Canaries keeper
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Sporting director Stuart Webber launched an impassioned defence of goalkeeper Tim Krul when speaking to Norwich City supporters with his trademark brutal honesty at Carrow Road.
Webber was speaking as part of a Q&A session which followed the annual general meeting of the Canaries Trust supporters group, speaking alongside football commentator Dan O’Hagan.
And while a wide array of topics were covered, including player recruitment, potential Premier League prospects and the brilliant work to improve the atmosphere at Carrow Road this season – the Welshman had clearly been annoyed by something the previous evening.
That stemmed from the occasional groans directed towards Krul during the vital 3-2 home win over Hull on Wednesday, in which the Dutchman’s poor clearance under pressure led to the Tigers pulling a goal back just before half-time.
That strike contributed to a dominant City performance still involving plenty of nerves, thanks to a host of chances being missed and Hull pulling back another goal late on – but Webber was keen to stress just how important the former Newcastle number one has been for the Championship leaders so far this campaign.
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“Teemu Pukki will get a lot of the headlines and quite rightly, he’s been outstanding,” City’s chief said. “Emi Buendia is a joke, that flick (against Hull) is one of the best things I’ve ever seen live – and I’ve been lucky enough to see Barcelona and Real Madrid live.
“But to be honest, in my opinion, our best signing was Tim Krul because after Angus Gunn, the next person to fill that shirt was going to find it unbelievably difficult. His dad’s a legend, he was brilliant for us, we all know what that names means to this football club, so the person coming into that shirt was going to find it unbelievably difficult.
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“We wanted it to be Remi (Matthews) and Remi didn’t perform in pre-season. I genuinely believe the shirt weighed too heavily for him – a local lad who was desperate to do well.
“He couldn’t follow Angus Gunn, probably two or three years down the line, he could, but at that stage it was important for us not to gamble on that.”
At that stage, indulging in the light-hearted mood during much of the Q&A, Webber adopted a Scottish accent as he explained he spoke to Grant Hanley about the defender’s former Newcastle team-mate.
“So we were looking for a goalkeeper and I spoke to Grant and he said ‘have you spoken to Tim Krul?’ uh, yeah we have, ‘sign him!’ and he said he was exactly what we needed in terms of the dressing room. And if you look at Tim over the season, yeah he’s made some mistakes, absolutely, and he’ll be the first to admit it, but how he’s helped in our dressing room in terms of being a leader and culture, he is the guy that leads the culture in that dressing room, among others.”
Webber, in a clearly jovial tone, continued the passionate defence of one of his players, saying: “I could have punched about 1,500 people in the face! Because in the second half, he’s just made a mistake at the end of the first half – and by the way, everyone forgets the 10 kicks outs where he got us over their press – but let’s not talk about that, let’s talk about the mistake!
“Then second half, in the 52nd minute, I remember it because I went home and watched it again, and there’s an ironic cheer when he kicked it long.
“We’re top scorers in the league, only Manchester City have scored more goals than us (in the country), I’ve got someone behind me saying ‘get it forward’ and I’m thinking ‘I’m going to go off here in a minute!’.
“But if you can’t respect how we’re trying to play, and by the way it’s gone alright so far – I get if it’s rubbish, no problem, you pay your money – but Tim Krul is a good goalkeeper!”
That ardent defence received a warm response from the audience of around 250 but was just one of many issues covered.
Webber admitted he was pleased to have “top coach” Daniel Farke’s contract situation sorted and emphasised that whether promotion is secured or not, the club’s scouts need to “go and find another Buendia” as there will not be lots of money to spend.
Farke’s work to improve rough diamonds like Hernandez and Buendia was also praised while the former Huddersfield chief said he wants “to create a legacy” when asked about his own future.
And Webber also tempered his frustration at moans towards Krul with acknowledgement that “we’ve made huge strides” in terms of improving the atmosphere, admitting he was filled with pride at the noise inside Carrow Road during the crucial 3-2 win over Bristol City last month, saying he had “goose-pimples” on his arms.