Alan Irvine defends Norwich City’s recruitment strategy

Ricky Martin has left the club with immediate effect. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ricky Martin has left the club with immediate effect. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Alan Irvine defended Norwich City's recruitment policy following the exit of Ricky Martin and two of the club's key scouts.

City's patchy signing strategy was highlighted by new sporting director Stuart Webber when he was first unveiled, and Webber has wasted no time in shaking up the club's recruitment department.

Technical director Martin, along with head of football recruitment Tony Spearing and head of scouting Lee Darnbrough have departed with immediate effect on the eve of Friday's Championship test against Fulham.

'It doesn't always work or always fail. You are always going to get some right and wrong,' said Irvine. 'If you go through each individual who has been recruited in the last three or four windows people will have a view whether that was good or bad business. There is always an element of gamble, an element of risk. Stuart has formulated his opinion about the recruitment and has obviously decided he wants to make changes. People shouldn't be surprised about that, because there was going to be a number of changes in a number of areas within the club as a result of the new structure being put in place. It is just which ones Stuart deems necessary.

'They are good people, so from that point of view I am really disappointed. I have known Ricky for a very long time. He was a part of me coming here. That was sad from a personal point of view. Tony, was at West Brom when I was there; not so much Lee, but as people I like all of them. You are always disappointed where there are changes at clubs. I spoke to Ricky on Wednesday night to pass on my condolences, if that is the right word, and I have sent text messages to Lee and Tony. I just wish them well for what comes next and thanked them for what they helped me with.'

Webber's success in overhauling Norwich's squad this summer will be key to plotting the way forward.

'There is a phrase I stand and fall by. If you want to be a good coach, get good players. If you want to be a great coach, get great players. It doesn't half help,' said Irvine, speaking on Thursday afternoon at Colney ahead of Fulham's Championship visit. 'The players are the ones who do it. We have just seen that in the last two games. What did we do differently as a coaching staff from Huddersfield to Reading? Nothing magical. The fact is we prepared for both games in exactly the same way. There were tactical differences and so on to do with individuals but it was the same approach and the same routines.

'The preparation was just as thorough but at the end it comes down to players. The better your recruitment, the better chance of winning games. It is not an exact science. Some work, some don't.'