The plan all along seemed to be for Norwich to take the Premier League’s money and accept relegation, but they’ve been so abject that the plan could fall apart…
It wasn’t a colossal shock that Norwich were relegated this season, after spending a fraction of what most clubs splash out on agents’ fees to strengthen their squad after promotion last summer.
Their ostensible plan, to use the near £180million that new clubs to the Premier League receive through TV and parachute payments to beef up their wider infrastructure, is fine in theory, but the manner in which they have gone down could be more damaging in the long term.
That’s what our panel agreed upon in the latest edition of the Totally Football Show, using the abject defeat to Burnley at the weekend, their tenth on the spin in all competitions and in which they were reduced to nine men by half-time, as an example of a club spiralling.
“When you look at their points tally, they’re going to end up with the sixth-lowest total in the Premier League era,” said Michael Cox. “The only teams worse than them will be an absolutely wretched Derby side, Huddersfield last season who were hopeless, Villa of four years ago who were hopeless, and two Sunderland sides who I can’t really differentiate between in my mind because they were both so irredeemably awful.
“You do have to ask questions about Daniel Farke: not just that they’re going down, but that they really do seem to have lost any form of belief. The way they lost on Saturday, with the two red cards, points to a real lack of discipline, maybe motivation, maybe belief in Farke.
“When you get into such a bad run like that, you get the feeling it can continue into next season. For all the people like me who have been saying “well, they might go down but they’ll be in a good position to bounce back” – when you lose ten on the trot, I think you have to start questioning that.”
Daniel Storey questioned the wisdom of the wider plan: “I know they’ve had this plan to basically take the money and run in the Premier League, to use that money to build a training ground and improve the club’s infrastructure etc. Burnley are the only club really to do that, to take the money and come back stronger, but Sean Dyche is a very different character to Daniel Farke, and it takes a huge effort in man management to turn around that mood.
“And as we have mentioned before, there’s going to be an incredibly short close season – they’re not going to have three months to do this. They’re going to have two or three weeks.”
Furthermore, Adrian Clarke believes that their dreadful end to the campaign could have a wider impact on some of the young talent in their squad.
He said: “I think Farke has inadvertently cost Norwich a lot of money in the transfer market. The way they have played, his inability to change their approach, to build a stronger, sturdier defensive platform, has let down talented guys like Todd Cantwell and Emi Buendia to some degree.
“They’ve been playing in such a despondent side, there’s been so little service into them, and as a consequence I don’t know whether there will be enough suitors in for them to pay the big money.
“They believe Ben Godfrey is worth £50million: he doesn’t look like a £50million centre-half to me. I don’t think there’s anyone in that team that’s worth more than £20million.
“They’ve been so bad towards the end, they’re going to see their transfer kitty sunk, in terms of player sales, this summer.”
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