New broom begins to sweep up at Norwich City under new sporting director Stuart Webber
PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 April 2017 | UPDATED: 19:52 12 April 2017
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It took less than a week for Stuart Webber to flex his muscles as Norwich City's new sporting director.
Three key figures, including technical director Ricky Martin, have been told they will be allowed to leave.
Martin is the key name here, and not just because of his role at Carrow Road.
A former local footballer, Martin has risen through the ranks from assistant academy director in 2001, to academy manager, to academy manager/youth team coach and, in 2014, to technical director following the creation of the Football Executive Board.
It’s fair to say he has been maligned over the years, particularly since his involvement with affairs nearer the top end of the footballing food chain. As soon as he began working alongside the first team management, he was there to be shot down.
The inference was that City’s recruitment failures were down to him, but perhaps there needs to be some mitigation here.
When it comes to the club’s own production line, there is a difference between developing young talent and then seeing players used in the first team. You can develop all the youth players you like, but if a manager doesn’t play them, you won’t get your glory. And recruitment, as in signings? When Martin was put in charge of player recruitment department by Jez Moxey, then manager Alex Neil still “has got an absolute veto on our transfer activity”, according to the former CEO.
There’s a element of too many cooks here, which is perhaps one of the reasons Webber is in, and Martin is out.
Webber will inevitably have his own men in mind: that’s the way football works. No one should be surprised, and you don’t doubt that head of scouting Lee Darnborough and head of football recruitment Tony Spearing will find other jobs in the game.
It seems there are titles everywhere, head of this and head of that. Only the furniture will change: Webber is also looking for heads of recruitment for the UK and for Europe.
Recruitment is king and however you wrap it up, it has been banana republic time at Carrow Road in recent years. Change was needed, and inevitable.