Matt Howman: Norwich City must not deviate from Daniel Farke’s blueprint... regardless of whether he stays at Carrow Road
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January 2, 2010 – Norwich City climbed into the automatic promotion places in League One after a 0-1 away victory against Wycome Wanderers.
Fast-forward to January 1, 2020, City draw 1-1 against established Premier League club Crystal Palace, producing a strong, hard-fought display and are disappointed not to come away with a victory. What a difference, eh?
The season so far has been frustrating, there's no doubt about it. The momentum created last year following a 1-1 draw at Portman Road was nothing short of phenomenal, we almost dared to believe we would take the Premier League by storm.
After beating Newcastle 3-1, with Moritz Leitner gliding across the pitch for 90 minutes like Toni Kroos, the belief was there that we could be sitting comfortably just below mid-table. Somehow, after beating Manchester City in a David versus Goliath match up, it has largely been downhill from there.
It has been the results against the teams around us which have been the most disappointing. That, combined with a tendency to follow up a near-perfect first half performance with a shocking second act after the interval, means it looks like curtains for us this season and a return to the Championship is now to be expected.
What is important though, is that the club don't react to fans that are now calling for Daniel Farke to go based on our current league position, the work he has done in the time he has been at the club has been so important; we all have to remember the club is more than just 90 minutes of football on a weekend.
Farke has been working with limited financial resources and performed a miracle just by getting us to the Premier League last season.
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When we look back over the past decade, that journey from League One back to the top, all of that was nearly lost by the club going into administration before Farke and Stuart Webber arrived.
To take a club that close to financial ruin, transform the structure of the business, invigorate the academy and be bold enough to give the Todd Cantwells and the Max Aarons of the academy a chance to prove they can make it as a professional footballer is nothing short of phenomenal. For every negative comment about 14 points in twenty-one games, there are so many more reasons to be grateful the club is competing at the level we are.
When you look back over the last decade before Farke's arrival, at what point could fans have confidently said we would be in the Premier League, promoting a local boy from Dereham up into the first team who would score six goals in just half a season?
I remember being at Stamford Bridge in 2013 when the academy won the Youth Cup against Chelsea. The squad at the time was seen as a team with a bright future but only the Murphy twins made it to Championship level or higher. How many of those players may have broken into the first team had they been given more of an opportunity?
Then you look at the quality of football Farke has coached into the team. Full-backs hugging the touchline and pushing up to the halfway line to play like wingers, central midfielders dictating the pace of a game and feeding the ball into areas where we have technical players who can play intricate passes and through balls where you wouldn't have thought there was space. We may not have taken the Premier League by storm this season but the Farke philosophy is one which we should look to continue well into this next decade.
If Farke decided to leave, rumours are there for Borussia Dortmund, then the club should try to appoint as like-for-like as possible.
For Norwich to continue being successful it's about quality, consistency and effort.
If we carry on playing football in this way, coach good players through the academy and buy sensibly in the marketplace, we will have many more good seasons than we do bad.