Daniel Farke can put a smile back on the faces of Norwich City fans
PUBLISHED: 22:39 02 August 2017 | UPDATED: 22:39 02 August 2017
Here we go again then!
I haven’t been able to get to any of City’s pre-season games, so have yet to see Daniel Farke’s brave new world in the flesh.
What I have done, though, is read and watched pretty much all of the interviews the new head coach has given to our guys during the summer.
And I really like what I hear.
He is certainly different to anything we have ever had at Carrow Road before, both in his style, approach and personality.
That smile is infectious, while the stern face would definitely make me want to ensure I give my all to the Canary cause!
I love Farke’s boundless positivity, enthusiasm, humour and confidence.
He doesn’t make excuses. In Farke’s world an injury gives an opportunity to someone else.
The German speaks highly of the fans and I sense he wants to build a really special relationship with us.
He is eager for supporters to back the lads, especially the younger ones, and is open to the fact that they will make mistakes, particularly with the type of football he is bringing to NR1.
From watching the highlights of the pre-season matches, reading reports from the games and talking to journalists/fans who have been there, I am feeling as positive about a new campaign as I have done for quite a while.
It’s a strange feeling as the positivity isn’t based on a thought that we will get automatic promotion or indeed that we are certainties for the play-offs.
The feedback I get from a lot of fellow supporters is pretty much the same.
I was interested to read that one well-established football magazine forecast City will win the league.
I’d say most supporters predict Farke’s men will finish somewhere between sixth and eighth.
So when the expectation levels are lower, millions of pounds of talent have headed out of Carra and we have a lot of inexperience in the squad, do we feel pretty optimistic?
I’d suggest that the tone Farke (and Stuart Webber) have set is rubbing off on the City faithful.
When Webber came in he made it clear that he wanted younger, hungrier players.
The huge wage bill had to be cut to make ends meet, was the clear message from the top.
A massive shake-up has been going on and it’s certainly going to take us a little while to get to know all the players and adapt to the new regime.
I’m very happy with the arrival of Angus Gunn. We need to be patient with him but he’s a big lad with a big future.
Our defence has been what has kept us awake for so long. It remains to be seen if Farke has got it right but here’s hoping.
I like what I see of Christoph Zimmermann, Marcel Franke and James Husband. We need Ivo Pinto back as soon as possible to build on the brilliant work he did last term.
I believe Timm Klose will flourish under the way Farke wants to play and if he can be at his best, our backline will surely be much tighter.
Harrison Reed looks the part as the shield to the defence and should allow the midfield boys to express their creativity.
So much has been said about James Maddison and now really is the opportunity for him to stamp his mark on the team and be a real star, especially with Alex Pritchard and Wes on the sidelines.
We did a poll on who fans thought had impressed most in pre-season and Mario Vrancic was a clear favourite, so watch out for him. It’s also going to be a huge season for Josh Murphy. We all know what he can do, he just needs to find his consistency week in week out.
One player who really excites me is Marley Watkins. He seems to have that real hunger Farke and Webber demand and if he can bang more goals into the top of the Barclay End end, then he’ll quickly become a hero.
For me Nelson Oliveira needs to be first choice frontman ahead of Cam.
In the long season both of them will get plenty of time on the pitch, but Nelson’s superior finishing puts him in pole position. My one concern with him is his temperament and I hope DF has a calm but firm whisper in his ear.
So it’s time to fasten the seatbelts and get set for another season on the Canary rollercoaster.
I won’t be at Fulham but that will obviously be a tough start. Forget the years of misery going to Craven Cottage. Fulham were top six last term and will be there or thereabouts again.
I can’t wait for Sunderland to arrive at Carra and let’s hope by my next column we’re all wearing a smile as broad as Farke’s. OTBC.
For as long as I can remember, pundits have said that the ever spiralling amount football clubs are spending on transfers and wages cannot carry on.
The bubble will burst, we keep being told.
But with almost a month of the summer transfer window left, the juggernaut of eye-watering investment on players is gathering speed rather than slowing down.
Premier League clubs alone have shelled out more than £500m already and the record of £1.2bn looks almost certain to be broken by the start of September.
Man City have alone spent £212m (on top of the crazy resources they already have). Everton have topped the £90m mark, the West Ham wallet is £40m lighter and new boys Huddersfield haven’t been shy with £36m going on transfers.
Extravagance isn’t solely seen in the top flight. Middlesborough have pumped in £40m - compared with City’s estimated net £5m spending.
Madness? Of course it is. Will it change? Don’t hold your breath.
Top man Matt
I worked on Sunday, so unfortunately missed the testimonial game at Dereham Town for Matt Henman.
I’m really pleased that the Magpies paid the fitting tribute to a top man who has given so many years of service to the club.
He started playing as a lad, worked his way into the first team, became a hugely influential midfielder and latterly managed the team during the most successful period in the club’s history.
Matt’s association with Dereham is synonymous with the rise and rise of the Aldiss Park outfit.
The warmth of the messages to Matt on social media reflected the impact he has had on so many people.
With my journalist’s hat on, he has always been open, honest and available to talk.
He has also become a mate and I wish him all the very best in all he does.
And I can’t finish without recalling how Matt put away the biggest plate of cricket tea I’ve ever seen when we played together for Dereham at Thetford!