Norwich sporting director Stuart Webber has thrown his support behind boss Daniel Farke, insisted the Canaries can achieve Premier League survival, and hit back at critics who have questioned the club’s ambition.
Last season’s Championship winners were thumped 7-0 at Chelsea on Saturday and remain rock bottom of the Premier League, with just two points from their first nine games.
Norwich finished 20th in the Premier League in 2019/20 before bouncing straight back up last term but Webber is convinced they can still avoid a similar fate this time around – and says Farke is the right man to lead them towards that goal.
“Of course,” Webber said, when asked by Sky Sports if the manager still had the club’s backing. “The situation here isn’t down to one person. When we win it’s not down to one person, when we lose it’s not down to one person.
“I and the club are 100 per cent behind him. We’re in this situation. It’s not, ‘he’s in this situation’, or, ‘the players are in this situation’. We all are. And we all have to do better because what we’re producing at the minute isn’t good enough.
“We all have to step up and bite down on the gumshield and start swinging back. What we’ve produced so far hasn’t been good enough and the only people who can change that is us. It’s not down to one person.
“It was a difficult day at the office [at Chelsea], an embarrassing defeat for us. For everyone in every part of the club, it hurt a lot and so it should. We’ve got two options now, we can sulk about it or use that energy to bounce back and prove we can do a lot better and start winning games.”
Norwich’s recent relegations and promotions have led to them being labelled as a ‘yo-yo’ club but Webber strongly refutes any suggestion they aren’t doing all they can to break out of that cycle.
Norwich spent £31.9m on new signings during the summer transfer window, and brought in more permanent signings – 10 – than any other side.
Webber says that investment underlines Norwich’s determination to compete in the top flight and says it is now down to everyone at the club to prove their doubters wrong.
“We’re not accepting this yo-yo tag or ‘they’ve given up’ or ‘they’ve accepted relegation’. No, not at all,” he said. “That’s not good enough for this football club and if anyone does think that then they won’t last very long at this football club.
“We’ve got to be better than that. Two years ago we got relegated and we understood the reasons why. I took full responsibility for that, absolutely that was on me. But second time around it was about coming back stronger and better and I won’t – and we won’t – accept that. None of us will at this club because we know we’re good enough to stay in and compete in this league.
“We’re the 11th highest spenders in Europe. By all means, criticise us for spending badly if that’s what people think but don’t criticise us for not spending because that’s not the truth. People say we’re not having a go, that’s completely unfair.
“If you look at what we’ve done at this club over the last few years around infrastructure, we’ve now got a training ground which would be anywhere around the top 10 in the Premier League in terms of its level. We’ve got a thriving academy which keeps producing young players, we’ve got 22,000 season ticket holders… I’m sure there’s lots of clubs who would like to swap places with us in terms of that.
“We’ve got lots of talented players, we’ve got a strong squad, a squad that is so much deeper and stronger than it’s ever been for this football club.
“For the people saying that, they’ve got their facts wrong. By all means criticise us and say we’ve done things poorly but don’t say we haven’t had a go or we’ve not spent money because that’s lazy and people who haven’t done their research.
“Part of me has enjoyed how much we’ve been written off because it means when we do come back we can really shove it up a few people. We need to prove people wrong. I know we can do it [stay up]. I’ve never had more belief in the players and the staff and the management for us to do it as a whole club.
“But the only way we can do it is hard work, belief and showing a bit of bottle. Not hiding or making excuses or chucking people under the bus. We need to take control and put our destiny in our own hands.”
Watch Norwich vs Leeds live on Sky Sports Premier League on Sunday; kick-off 2pm.