It’s a term that is in short supply in the modern world of football. But thankfully for Norwich City, they’re reaping the rewards for keeping theirs.
Let’s make no mistake about it. Head coach Daniel Farke’s position was under increasing scrutiny after picking up just one win in their opening six Championship matches – off the back of a 14th-placed finish during his first season in charge.
Yet sporting director Stuart Webber stayed true to his belief that Farke’s way was the right one. He ignored the doubters and as it stands he’s been proved absolutely right.
The Canaries sit top of the table having won 10 of their last 13 league matches playing some absolutely sublime stuff along the way. ‘Farkeball’ is now associated with breathtaking, high-speed team moves, rather than laboured and sideways probing.
It takes time to instil a mentality on a group of players and impact change at a club. However, that’s something that Farke and Webber can now claimed to have had after arriving in Norfolk in April and May 2017 from Borussia Dortmund and Huddersfield respectively.
The German was accused of being the cheap and easy option but the man who headhunted him knew he was getting value for money. He’d enjoyed great success having attracted David Wagner to Yorkshire and saw Farke as the brains to help him close in on a second promotion to the Premier League.
It’s not been an easy job for either man with Norwich adjusting to a third year in the second tier. The end of their parachute payments and a subsequent tightening of the purse strings have led to a new philosophy on and off the pitch.
Big names with even bigger wages have been shown the exit door. Prized talents such as James Maddison and Jacob Murphy have departed for big sums to brighter lights and the squad has been rebuilt with a host of canny acquisitions and academy graduates.
Imports Teemu Pukki, Moritz Leitner and Emi Buendía have already proven to be top quality players and hit the ground running, as have home-grown products Max Aarons, Todd Cantwell and Jamal Lewis.
All six may well eventually be sold –and no doubt for huge profit – such is the way clubs like Norwich have to survive.
Yet there’s an increasingly likely chance they’ll have helped City get back into the top-flight before then.
Momentum and togetherness can be more powerful than money when everybody is connected.
All in yellow and green, including the supporters, are enjoying themselves, buying into what Farke and Webber are trying to achieve and strapping themselves in for the ride.
It will take them back to the promised land eventually, as long as everyone takes the time to allow themselves to get there if it doesn’t happen this term.
Canaries in full flight
Sat 15 Middlesbrough H W 1-0
Wed 19 Reading A W 2-1
Sat 22 QPR A W 1-0
Sat 29 Wigan Ath H W 1-0
Wed 3 Derby County A D 1-1
Sat 6 Stoke City H L 0-1
Sat 20 Nottm Forest A W 2-1
Tue 23 Aston Villa H W 2-1
Sat 27 Brentford H W 1-0
Sat 3 Sheff Wed A W 4-0
Sat 10 Millwall H W 4-3
Sat 24 Swansea City A W 4-1
Tue 27 Hull City A D 0-0
Town woes icing on cake
What a time to be alive!
It’s a catchphrase that has become synonymous with BBC Radio Norfolk’s coverage of Norwich City. And I’m sure Rob Butler and his top colleagues are shouting it from the rooftops.
As while I’m sure it’s great that their beloved Yellows are flying, the fact their fiercest rivals are at one of their lowest points in their history must make life even more enjoyable.
Ipswich Town have been stuck in the second tier since 2002 but won’t be there much longer if their current form continues.
To make it even sweeter, former Norwich boss Paul Lambert – despised by many for his acrimonious departure from Norfolk – could be the man who takes them down.
It’s the stuff that dreams are made of.
Mind the gap!
1 Norwich City 19 37
2 Leeds United 19 36
3 Middlesbrough 19 35
4 West Brom 19 34
5 Sheffield United 19 34
6 Nottingham Forest 19 31
7 Derby County 19 31
21 Millwall 19 17
22 Hull City 19 17
23 Bolton Wanderers 19 17
24 Ipswich Town 19 11
Encouraging signs for us
Next year will arguably be the biggest summer of cricket in England’s history.
Our one-day side are favourites to win the World Cup, which we are hosting, and then we welcome Australia for The Ashes.
It’s the finest Test series on the planet and, given our recent 3-0 whitewash in Sri Lanka, the signs that we could put one over those from Down Under are promising.
Joe Root is improving as captain and perhaps the loss of Alistair Cook won’t be felt quite as keenly as many feared.
England’s win in Asia was a real group effort and hopefully that will continue well into 2019.
LAST WEEK –
Who will win the bout between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder?
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Will Manchester United make the Premier League top four this season?
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