'Incredible fanbase' - Call for unity among City fans during Leeds battle

The home fans wave their flags and get behind their side before the Premier League match at Carrow R

The flags and banners returned to the Barclay stand ahead of Norwich City's draw with Brighton - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Stuart Webber has called for the 'incredible fanbase' of Norwich City to be united in creating a positive atmosphere for Daniel Farke's struggling squad when Leeds arrive at Carrow Road on Sunday,

The Canaries head into the game on the back of a tumultuous week after a 7-0 capitulation at Chelsea brought stinging criticism for the Premier League’s bottom side. 

Having slumped to a club-record 10 successive defeats during the nosedive to top-flight relegation last year, a title-winning campaign in the Championship has been followed by seven defeats and two goalless draws.

Those struggles in the top tier have left many City fans feeling embarrassed - with last month’s 3-1 home defeat to fellow promoted side Watford ending in boos. 

With Leeds making a slow start to the campaign as well, Webber has called for a united front on and off the pitch, reminding supporters that we have only just seen the end of behind-closed-doors football. 

“What probably surprised me most about our fans at the start of this season is, when you haven’t watched football for 18 months, I can’t believe you wouldn’t be just desperate to watch it and get behind your team,” said City’s straight-talking sporting director. 

“You’ve not been able to see them, you’ve missed the greatest season in our club’s history in the second division, some of the best football we’ve ever played. You weren’t able to be there to watch it and that’s pretty sad.  

“Now there is an opportunity to watch it and get behind it and be grateful. I think we can all agree on one thing: isn’t it nice to go back out to watch live sport or into a restaurant, because it isn’t that long since we all had to sit in our houses. 

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“So I think how quickly the fans … not turned, because it’s not that type of fanbase, this isn’t a fanbase where they start beating you up outside the ground or smashing up cars, it’s not that demographic. 

“It’s a fanbase that have been through thick and thin with this club down to League One, an incredible fanbase where you can’t help but respect the fact that if you’re up in Cromer 45 minutes away from here you’ll see a Norwich fan in a Norwich shirt. If you come and take your little lad, as I do, to football training, 80 per cent are Norwich fans.  

“It’s not Man United fans, Leicester, Chelsea and all that, these people here, generations come together - a granddad, dad, grandson, son, daughter - so it’s an incredible fanbase and we can’t criticise that.  

“But at times I believe as a football fan you’ve got to recognise when your team needs a bit of help.” 

The last home game, against Brighton, was played out amid an excellent atmosphere, particularly in the second half. 

Norwich Head Coach Daniel Farke gives the thumbs up to the fans at the end of the Premier League mat

There was an appreciative full-time reception as City draw with Brighton earlier this month - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Webber this week asked fans to ‘not give up on us’ and not to pin all of the blame on Farke, after calls from some fans for a change of head coach. 

“There’s time when your team needs a bit of stick, absolutely, but we played Watford here, we weren’t good enough but we had seven players under the age of 21,” he continued. 

“Identify that as that moment they need a bit of help - because that game was built up as a cup final because it was our first game after the first four where everyone accepted ‘oh they’ll lose those four’.  

“We weren’t good enough on the day, but nor were the fans, it was almost like people turned up and said ‘just beat Watford’. No, this is when that young team actually needed a bit of help.  

“Do they need a bit of help after they got beat 7-0 at Chelsea? No, we all deserve everything we get that day in terms of criticism because that is completely unacceptable.  

“But what we need on Sunday and going forward is to make Carrow Road, which is such a tight, great, traditional ground, a bit more supportive of our team.  

“Not necessarily hostile to the opposition because we’re not that fanbase, this isn’t going to Elland Road or Millwall and never will be, and nor should it be because that’s not our club and what we’re about.  

“But it should be that if you’re wearing a yellow shirt you should feel from the first minute to the last that they’re right behind you. And if in the end we haven’t produced a good enough performance, absolutely get on the back then at the end, but not during.  

“I’ve never known it help during. I’ve never known substitutions being booed to help anybody. By all means say what you want but wait until the end. 

“While there’s still a chance of us being able to win a football match, which is what every person turning up wants, let’s invest everything in that.” 

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