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Parma Ham's gone mouldy

The Philosophy, the Company and the Future

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The new philosophy has seen a radical overhaul of what went before. Change was overdue, though questions remain as to whether the new philosophy and structure is fundamentally different from the cyclical culling of managers with differing ideas and differing personalities at CEO (or similar) and the subsequent Phoenix-like rise of a new messiah.

The restructuring of the club was and is a financial necessity, precipitating the chicken and egg question posed by historians discussing key events and figures ''ideology or economics''?.

Economics is nearly always considered the major motivating factor, with figures more often characterised as ''opportunists'' taking advantage of events, regardless whether they flew a philosophical flag in public (proctor or post hoc).

The Composition of board does therefore have relevance to direction taken and decisions made. An evangelical belief in any new Messiah is a fan-like approach, with an inherent risk of fervently embracing anything new and then clinging to it with a disciple''s commitment. Belief is unwavering, often - and by extension - beyond the empirical evidence to hand.

The current football oversight structure is similar to the multiple European models highlighted in the Masterclasses. The Bayern structure is a good example of how even greater delineation, specialisation and oversight of playing, philosophical, negotiating and recruitment roles are employed elsewhere.

Personalities are inevitably formed via experiences and such experiences influence decision- making and the weight afforded to factors used to influence decisions. Near administration may well make one financially risk-averse, very survival may then be considered a valid operational aim and achievement. Success may be viewed via a prism of sustainability, the cavalier methods of others may be dismissed and looked down upon, morals - politically or religiously influenced - may come to the fore and be used to mitigate or validate strategic approaches that are in reality more definitely influenced by finances or the lack thereof.

The current structure may well be too late in deployment and may well be hamstrung by the limited finances to effect major changes. The question posed in Masterclasses was '' can you really do better with less?'' and ''if it were so easy, why doesn''t everyone do it?''.

Greatly reducing wage budgets, player purchase values, squad size, de-facto pedigree and paper-level of players whilst fundamentally changing how the club functions operationally, the approach to training, fitness and tactical play is a huge amount to restructure in a short space of time. It can be built, though buying such players for limited money is a challenge, training existing players to operate differently is likely to be erratic, whilst breeding such players may take years.

This philosophy is not a new manager short-fix panacea, to work it must be programmed to operate five or ten years ahead, to be the route the club is completely committed to take into the future.

Arguably it will be more of a challenge to maintain it with success, the tendency will be to quickly parachute high earners in for the top level, which can quickly destabilise years of balanced philosophy and methodology. Alternatively it functions effectively without much top League exposure, maintaining Academic purity though consigning operations to Crewe-like breeding ground for others.

Dynamics and personality inevitably influence where we are at and the decisions we make. Webber would only be human to want to prove himself in his own right, to show that Huddersfield''s success was down to him as well as, or as much as, or more than, Wagner. Historically any Sporting Directors have been background figures, kingmakers perhaps, but the Manager or ahead Coach still typically gets the limelight. The footballing autonomy likely to be shown to Webber- in light of the limited football-background of the board outside of NR1- will be intoxicating.

Farke and Webber are hard workers, but many are in football. It is often all they know and has been their lives 24 hours a day for ever. Many know nothing else. Doing better is hard, doing (much) better with (much) less is not impossible, though it would as well not to get romantically carried away with lottery-winning possibilities. The odds are (well) against.

Long term footballing tactics must always survive short term results. The tactical methodology employed - a good deal of which chimed with many previous Masterclasses - is arguably confronting Europe''s least hospitable testing ground. The Championship remains a loosely-refereed rough-and-tumble League of physical men and spoilers. There are arguably increasing amounts of ball-playing sides, though many have dual personality characteristics that take account of the need ''to earn the right to play''. Mourinho has spent £300m and is still quite happy to throw Fellaini on and hit him from deep let us not forget.

The money had gone. In fact we will need to significantly reduce yet further. The change has gone too late, with too little to succeed in the short (to medium) term. The Naismith-Pinto- Klose purchases - and subsequently retaining a large, expensive squad upon relegation (turning down £15m summer money for Brady) - not only failed, it created resentment and a lack of stomach, fight and cohesion. This is where the money went. Paying multiple players £30k+ per week on 3 and 4 year contracts is a frightening Company liability.

Masterclass 16 commented that (vid Sunderland to QPR changes in approach) tactically it was ''early for Mummy to take away the spinach and putting the McDonald''s back on the table''. The concern was that what can be dressed as ''flexibility'' quickly transmits to paralysis through analysis to players and a fracturing of the clarity of instruction that players crave.

Better management may not be possible in the short term with limited, new, adjusting, inexperienced, homesick, mis-communicating, young, inconsistent players. In such a context Zonal marking (for example) may be an unnecessary complication. Alternatively even poor or flawed tactics are often rescued by weapons, players who simply do things regularly that are awkward for the opposition and cannot be ignored. Being better is a rare luxury in football and typically reserved for only the very best (and very richest) sides.

Possession is a defensive tool as Masterclasses have discussed. Developing a mindset that senses danger a half second later than English defenders typically do, taking a fraction longer on the ball, assessing passing angles in advance and looking to retain possession - particularly in the minds of those who do not have the ball and must act as auxiliary and possibly unused angles repeatedly - requires an education that should start at school. I succeeded in Italy in a way I could not in England because players thought like me, saw the game like me, played fast and slow in a way that was logical to me, pressed together or not at all, shut spaces and spoiled games without needing to be told. I felt at home. I was a different player.

We are hoping to achieve something akin to this now. Mentally the players must feel completely ''at home'' with it. They must operate it instinctively and seamlessly on the field. All of them. Always. The cheap ones, the old ones, the young ones, the awkward ones, the resentful ones, the foreign ones, the British ones. Doing more with less?

You can instantly buy players who understand, you can change those you have and you can teach the future. I support all of these into the future. The change we are seeing can be change for change''s sake and I would still support it. There is a level of intrinsic, instinctive, ingrained Football Intelligence that is required here though, not street smarts or jumpers for goalposts keenness, there must be an intellectual cohesive on the pitch whereby all operate on the same wavelength at the same time or the system will fail. Then our on-paper inferior players will look precisely that. Such coaching and instruction requires a clarity of communication, a (ironically) religiosity to language, an ability to create visualisation of the picture to all players , the ability to break down the technical into the simple, the visual, its constituent parts and essentials. Not easy with already formed mindsets.

Financially and spiritually it would be understandable if the current board intrinsically had no love for the Premier League. In many ways it represents the gargoyle head of society''s capitalist monster and warps and devours decency and long-term structural good behaviour. It cruelly exposes the limits of our model and operational capabilities.

We all have sympathy with much of that, but business is business and ''this is the life we have chosen'' as Michael Corleone famously reminded us.

There is something also of resenting what you don''t understand, what you can''t compete with. It is not unusual to then demonise it and create parallel universes where you are morally or spiritually victorious. ''Premier League bad, Lower Leagues and financial survival good''. Yes and no.

Financial fear can be accentuated through history, though also through circumstance. Administration is disastrous, but not competing can it be considered a moral victory merely because that is the only route remaining or finances insist. If educational, structural, intelligent possession-based play is the future, it must be adhered to for the very long term. It must inform Academy-to-first team, it must withstand no money and great riches, it must accept demotion to lower tiers if that is the consequence. Such a long-term vision will require huge education and communication both without and within to withstand such poor results however. Custodians may be considered superior to rich dictators, though custodians focusing on mere survival may not be enough of a religious parable for many.

That the ground was full in League 1 may be a blessing and a curse. Once the television money is all gone, the theatre must still be full and all may keep buying ice creams at full time. There are many theatres in many sectors available however.

The reasonable Premier Gamble has been had and it didn''t work. Buying better, attracting better and managing better simply doesn''t work well enough with our parameters at the top level.

Lambert''s miracle lead to the Neil pinnacle of short termism and not only are no long term benefits seen, there would be an argument that the accelerated, artificial almost, change that occurs to club is simply beyond our model to adapt to.

The new philosophy and structure must avoid multiple previous mistakes identified repeatedly across Masterclasses, though in doing there will be the irony that the mistakes you don''t make are invisible and thus not heralded (or even appreciated). Given the dramatic downturn in recent circumstances, and the contemporary recent high expectations that abounded, even performing ''well'' in our straitened context may still look like unattractive backsliding.

There is no guarantee of success with less, though there is the advantage of there being no other meaningful choice. The Philosophy is a consequence of the financial Model and vice versa. The Philosophy needed to be implemented with money and will now be conversely harder, yet possibly more steadfast and designed by necessity. Fans will be forced to accept it.

Maybe the modern fan will, maybe they will find something else to do. Maybe new blood will be encouraged. Shorter attention spans, coupled with less success, coupled with the need to educate to a very long-term strategy the fruits of which may take years to come to fruition, does not sound like a recipe for taking social media by storm however.

Logic says we will go backwards before (maybe) going forwards. The model - and the nature of other clubs, their strategies and their finances - suggests the (unintentional) possibility of becoming something akin to a breeding ground for top clubs. Such top clubs however will buy ready-made versions of what they need and may in time dismiss the best players in the Championship if it continues to operate tactically in a way increasingly dissimilar to the Premier League.

The odds are now against any meaningful top tier success for some time whilst we restructure. Unless cataclysmic implosion occurs at the top level of English football however, it is hard to see how we will not drift further away from such riches.

Relegated clubs continue to suffer the turmoil that we know so well following relegation, so perhaps regrowth and regeneration can see a leaner, low-cost model achieve a unity of purpose and vision and counter-act the financial odds. I wouldn''t put my money on it however.

Should we emerge as an elegant, intelligent, possession-based, technically and tactically educated and attractive passing side then many Norwich fans will consider that a moral victory and will wear the approach as a (religious) badge of honour.

Once shifted expectations have a habit of becoming the norm however and a more secular Norwich society may simply see less Canaries tweeting their love and a little more space in the nest.

This is the life we have chosen.

Parma

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Basically what you''re saying is that if we had got rid of Alex Neil while we were still in the Premier League, paid good money to Pulls or Big Sam when they were available, we wouldn''t have been relegated and would still be safely sitting mid table ( the top table)

But because of the prevarication of the board while they probably discussed the very wordy game analysis of the intelligent Neil, we shipped two goals per game and are in the relegation zone of the second div.

You probably could cut out 50% of the adjectives Parma.

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For my simple mind it would have been so much easier to secure someone like Tony Pulis, while available, enjoy whatever football he would have brought, while keeping us in the Prem than to wait for 16 years until from academy to first team we get intrinsically infiltrated with tiki-taka. But there.

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I''m afraid I did find this one a little long winded.

We''re not rich, & getting comparatively less rich by the year.

All we can do is try as hard as possible. Try to do what though?

It seems to come down to either go down the Pulis road or the Wenger road. Tony''s methods seem to have a better chance of league success than Arsene''s - especially for a poorer club - but how many fans really enjoy what he provides? And there is no guarantee of much success even then, so you may well end up with a rubbish team in a rubbish league with no football worth watching.

But you can, perhaps, take a dose of pragmatism with your idealism, as in the Mourinho/Fellani example. Perhaps that''s what the Hanley rumours are all about?

Personally I''m worried that a more experienced defender may not be the answer. I reckon it''s the zonal system that''s causing us the biggest headaches, & Hanley might well struggle with that as much as the others.

I''m still on board for the Farkolution & think he''s bright enough to sort it out. It may take a while, & the air will be thick with toys at times over the rest of the season, but my feeling is it''s going to be worth it!

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Sorry, but no.The idea of having any more of the style of football we had to endure under Hughton makes me feel physically sick.I don''t give a damn if the likes of Pulis and Allardyce get results that way, there''s f**k all point in even watching games if that''s the dross on offer IMHO. Stoke fans started to change their view after a number of years of safety (but god awful football) under Pulis, and we all know he we felt about the $hite Hughton served up!I''d rather risk dropping to League 1 again whilst developing a long-term,. financially viable structure that provides good, attractive, intelligent football, than I would see us appoint managers like the above to play Mick McCarthy football each week...I guess my view, is more of the old-fashioned view of going to football to be entertained, and watch a good contest between 2 teams of players, rather than the results only driven ''business'' that modern football represents.

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Completely agree, what''s the point of going to watch a football game whether that''s in the pub or at the ground unless you''re going to be entertained. It might well be you stay up under a Pullis but that''s death by a thousand cuts surely?!

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Because after you''ve become established you have the chance to adapt the playing style to something more palitable. Stoke are a case in point.

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[quote user="Hairy Canary"]Because after you''ve become established you have the chance to adapt the playing style to something more palitable. Stoke are a case in point.[/quote]But putting up with years of dross to get established, you still need super rich owners to keep you there. Stoke''s wealth - £3.1 billion...........

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[quote user="Hairy Canary"]Because after you''ve become established you have the chance to adapt the playing style to something more palatable. Stoke are a case in point.[/quote]Stoke had FIVE years of turd football under Pulis (with an additional one under Boskamp) before they got promoted, he then played god awful football for another SEVEN seasons before Hughes was appointed.So that''s THIRTEEN years of utterly terrible football just for starters.Also, things didn''t improve much under Hughes to begin with either, and it took him a minimum of two years to get any real improvement in the quality of football on display.So to follow the Stoke model, you''re looking at pretty much FIFTEEN years of total dross to get re-promoted, maintain safety in the top league, all in order to get to a point where you can attract somewhat better players and play better football...F**K THAT!I''d much rather we go with our current system, because even if it took the same 15 years as Stoke, as least we wouldn''t be watching utterly terrible hoofball each week!

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Plenty of teams have shown recently that the Pulis route is not the only way. Swansea, Bournemouth, Southampton etc have gone up an stayed up without having the play the sort of turgid shite we witnessed under Hughton.

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[quote user="Indy_Bones"]I''d rather risk dropping to League 1 again whilst developing a long-term,. financially viable structure that provides good, attractive, intelligent football, than I would see us appoint managers like the above to play Mick McCarthy football each week...[/quote]How on earth can you think dropping into League One would create a financially viable structure ?

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Whatever the philosophy, there is no fun in getting hit for four week after week.

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[quote user="king canary"]Plenty of teams have shown recently that the Pulis route is not the only way. Swansea, Bournemouth, Southampton etc have gone up an stayed up without having the play the sort of turgid shite we witnessed under Hughton.[/quote]Agreed, but none of those clubs would have been able to do so without the strong financial outlay they received - something we simply don''t have, which means either going the route we are currently, or playing hoofball...Just take a lookBournemouth:15/16 - 40.7mil spent16/17 - 29.4mil spent17/18 - 12mil so farTotal - 82.1mil, average of 27.4mil per seasonSwansea:11/12 - 9.6mil spent12/13 - 16.6mil spent13/14 - 20mil spent14/15 - 24.6mil spent15/16 - 17mil spent16/17 - 44.3mil spent17/18 - 27.5mil so farTotal - 159.6mil, average of 22.8mil per seasonSouthampton:12/13 - 32.7mil spent13/14 - 37.5mil spent14/15 - 67.9mil spent15/16 - 39.2mil spent16/17 - 57.8mil spent17/18 - 20.4mil so farTotal - 255.5mil, average of 42.6mil per season!Norwich:11/12 - 10mil spent12/13 - 9mil spent13/14 - 26mil spent14/15 - 8.6mil spent15/16 - 34.9mil spent16/17 - 14.7mil spent17/18 - 2.2mil so farTotal - 105.4mil, average of 15mil per season - which is approx 1/3rd of what Southampton have spent, and a clear 8-10 mil less per season then either of Swansea or Bournemouth...

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[quote user="TIL 1010"]How on earth can you think dropping into League One would create a financially viable structure ? [/quote]Last time it happened, we spent approx 1.25 mil on transfers over 2 seasons, which got us back not only into the champs, but into the Prem as well, clearly proving that if you buy well and play with the right philosophy, you CAN compete with much higher spending clubs rather than relying on a ''sugar daddy'' investor type...Nobody WANTS us to go down, and of course it should be avoided where possible, but if the alternative is 10-15 seasons of Pulis/McCarthy type hoofball in the champs, then I''d rather take the short term hit than the long term pain and horror that type of football would bring to the club.

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[quote user="Hoola Han Solo"]You can''t be bothered to go to the matches though, so why would it bother you what league we''re in?[/quote]
I think the opposite is the case Hoola. From my perspective as ST holder the most enjoyable games I have seen aren''t ordered by the league they were played in. But from Indy''s perspective he can only really watch in the PL where streams are widely available. 

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Exactly NN, it doesn''t benefit me very much at all if we''re in either of the champs or L1 (especially not L1), whereas in the Prem I''d get to watch the majority of our games.The situation would potentially change again if there was a permanent option for something like ifollow. that ALL fans (not just overseas) could buy into to view full match streams, but until that point I''m a bit stuffed.On a side note Hoola, I wasn''t aware that not having the spare finances, whilst also not wanting to do a 7-8 hour round trip each home match suddenly equated to a fan being ''not bothered'', can you clarify when this ruling was put in place because I''ve not seen anything official about it...after all, how dare I not have the available, disposable income to regularly attend matches...what a crime!

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@indy

Those figures don''t really compare as your comparing seasons they''ve had in the Premier League to ones we''ve had in the championship. Of course they''ve spent more.

Those Southampton figures are also somewhat influenced by the money bought in from player sales. They are almost working to the same model us we are just they were able to invest more in their first season in the Premier League. They''ve focused on youth, bought cleverly at (comparatively) low prices and selling high.

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[quote user="king canary"]@indy

Those figures don''t really compare as your comparing seasons they''ve had

in the Premier League to ones we''ve had in the championship. Of course

they''ve spent more.[/quote]Ok,Norwich:11/12 - 10mil spent12/13 - 9mil spent13/14 - 26mil spent15/16 - 34.9mil spentTotal -  79.9mil spent, average of just under 20mil per seasonStill less than all of the clubs, but the difference is slightly less now, with a 3-7mil difference on average between us and Swansea/Bournemouth[quote]Those

Southampton figures are also somewhat influenced by the money bought in

from player sales. They are almost working to the same model us we are

just they were able to invest more in their first season in the Premier

League. They''ve focused on youth, bought cleverly at (comparatively) low

prices and selling high.[/quote]Somewhat, but that''s really not the whole story.12/13 - 32.7 spent, 0 received (unless someone knows how much Harding went for?) - loss of 32.7mil13/14 - 37.5 spent, 1.95 received - loss of 35.55mil14/15 - 67.9 spent, 92.6 received - profit of 24.7mil15/16 - 39.2 spent, 36.5 received - loss of 2.7mil16/17 - 57.8 spent, 65 received - profit of 7.2mil17/18 - 20.4 spent, 14.7 received - loss of 5.7milTotal loss of - 44.75mil since promotion, and that was carrying a near 68mil loss over their first two years, something I''m pretty damn certain our board simply couldn''t afford to do.Yes, by the 3rd season they''d managed to buy well and make a good profit that season (still can''t believe they got 27mil for Shaw, 20 for Lovren and 16 for Chambers! Even Lallana was a stretch at 25mil!), but the year after they lost money again.So, yes, they were able to spend more in their 3rd year due to player sales, but that''s after they''d already carried a big loss for 2 years running to begin with!

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It''s long been accepted that there is much more of a correlation between wages and success than there is transfer fees.

Also there is not a universal acceptance of what style of football is classed as entertaining. Personally I don''t consider 70% possession, where-by much of the time the ball is passed side and backwards while probing for an opening, is edge of the seat stuff. One thing is clear though. Loosing is never much fun, whatever the division.

Finally being prepared to take a step back in order to progress can be fraught with danger. I know sometimes it can''t be helped, and sometimes needs must, but where will we be if it doesn''t come off?

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[quote user="Indy_Bones"][quote user="TIL 1010"]How on earth can you think dropping into League One would create a financially viable structure ? [/quote]Last time it happened, we spent approx 1.25 mil on transfers over 2 seasons, which got us back not only into the champs, but into the Prem as well, clearly proving that if you buy well and play with the right philosophy, you CAN compete with much higher spending clubs rather than relying on a ''sugar daddy'' investor type...Nobody WANTS us to go down, and of course it should be avoided where possible, but if the alternative is 10-15 seasons of Pulis/McCarthy type hoofball in the champs, then I''d rather take the short term hit than the long term pain and horror that type of football would bring to the club.[/quote]That is rolling well towards ten years ago and in that time PL transfer fees and wages have moved onto another planet and a drop into League One with our current financial position would be nothing short of a disaster and the chances of us clinging to the shirt tails of the dream of achieving Premiership football again would get more remote by the season.

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So what''s your solution Til? Spend money we don''t have, on players who still won''t guarantee success anyway - after all, it worked so well for us last season hanging onto high earning ''PL level'' players didn''t it???Also, it''s not just the PL where prices have gone crackers, we''ve already seen Champs level players going for 15-20mil a pop at times, and there appears to be no sign of this changing anytime soon either.The way we have chosen to go is the ONLY sensible course of action in both our current and expected financial situation, and whilst this may well leave some fans hankering after a rich billionaire to come calling, I can''t fault our board for their most recent restructure - even if I could argue that it may not have been needed if earlier decisions had been better made, but that''s STILL a moot point now anyway, we are where we are, it''s as simple as that for me.

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