Stuart Webber hopes Norwich City’s summer revamp will improve ‘disappointing’ atmosphere at Carrow Road
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The atmosphere at Carrow Road and the futures of Mitchell Dijks and James Maddison were all addressed in Stuart Webber's latest media work. David Freezer looks at the best bits of the Canaries chief's new interview.
Part of the bold plans for a busy summer at Norwich City will be to give supporters plenty to sing about at Carrow Road next season.
New sporting director Stuart Webber has seen three matches at his new home since arriving from Huddersfield Town almost three weeks ago and has been surprised to see a full house not necessarily making for a great atmosphere.
The 33-year-old may have arrived with promotion hopes effectively over, explaining a timid atmosphere at times in the games he's seen, but is hoping his plans for the Canaries will change that.
Webber saw the 7-1 demolition of Reading followed by a 3-1 defeat to Fulham, both in front of over 26,000, and Friday's 2-0 win over already promoted Brighton – with over 27,000 in attendance – as well as his old club's 2-1 win in Norfolk in December.
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'With the exception of the Reading game, after about 20 minutes when we were three up and all four sides were enjoying themselves, I've actually found the atmosphere disappointing, at times non-existent,' Webber revealed.
'I think when there's 27,000 in here I don't see how that's possible really. We shouldn't hear 500 Huddersfield fans being louder than 26,500 Norwich fans.
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'I appreciate on the pitch we need to give them something to sing about, I get that, but the fans sometimes need to help pick the players up, especially if we end up having a slightly younger team, which we will have, because we probably need to.
'There was one game here where Jacob Murphy had a shot and it went almost out for a throw-in or something, and the whole crowd were almost taking the mick and laughing. That's a young player, one of your own players by the way, not some overpaid mercenary that you might think exists, and I thought that's a bit rubbish – get behind the kid.'
It is those summer changes to the playing squad which will dictate whether a better atmosphere can liven up Carrow Road next future, as Webber and a new head coach set about introducing a new playing style.
One of the players that City supporters are hoping will still be here when City kick-off the new campaign is towering Dutch left-back Mitchell Dijks, who is currently on loan from Ajax.
'We have to consider that it's all well and good people wanting to stay, but does it fit them financially and for us?' Webber said of potential summer signings, speaking to fan-run Canaries website AlongComeNorwich.com. 'I'm sure people wouldn't want to stay if it wasn't within a financial framework that wasn't right for them.
'Mitchell's done well on his loan. Has he smashed it? I wouldn't go that far.
'He's done reasonably well and I'm sure if we can get to a deal we'll try and get to a deal, but at the same time it's where he comes in, in terms of being realistic with the finances, because going forward it will ultimately come down to money.
'It's not about the level of player because we know we'd like him, he'd want to stay, but it's what it looks like financially.'
Another player that supporters are hoping will remain is 20-year-old playmaker, James Maddison, who is in competition with the established forces of Wes Hoolahan and Alex Pritchard – and Webber admits that is a conundrum which needs to be solved.
'The squad needs freshening up, everyone can see that, we are heavy in certain areas,' he continued. 'So for example James Maddison, if he isn't in the team next year he can't have another year of a loan (at Coventry and Aberdeen) which was far from perfect in my opinion and then come back into a club where so far he's played 14 minutes of football for the first team.
'That can't happen again, because before you know it James Maddison will be 21, 22 and we'll be going 'how many games has he played?'
'We have to get a clear plan for James – whether that be in our team next season or whether that's maybe he needs to go and gain more experience to wait for his chance, because Steven Naismith, Hoolahan and Pritchard are top players. So he's got top players in his way, it's not like he's got someone in the way who's easy to dislodge. In that case we've got to do what's best for James and what's best for the club.
'I've had a couple of conversations with him and his agent and we need to work out over the course of pre-season where does he fit in.
'He can't be stuck in no-man's land. I think that's what kills young players is when they're stuck in that in-between where they're not playing but they're doing a bit with the first team.'
Read the full interview at AlongComeNorwich.com