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Where did it all go wrong Daniel, Stuart, Delia?

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Where did it all go wrong Daniel, Stuart, Delia?
 

I had a client who - aside from other things - was a leading National risk assessor for Health & Safety accidents at work. 

When thinking about apportioning blame for any perceived failure, I often think about his firmly-held belief - borne of repeated experience - that major failures are almost always the consequence of a string of (he would say predominantly-avoidable) smaller errors occurring in collective sequence.

These errors can be broken down into the strategic, the operational-systemic and the individual. The overriding driver for assessment is learning and structural improvement where necessary. 

Much as it is with Norwich. 

In the immediate aftermath of failure, my client would consider it highly unwise to leap to find fast answers and apportion useful blame. It is something of a human instinct, though it is a poor substitute for slower, more considered thinking. 

Norwich don’t have enough money to compete on an equal footing at this level. This is undoubtedly a massive hindrance and defines a number of macro imperatives that drive subsequent sporting decisions. 

Let’s start with the obvious. There are few Norwich fans who would argue against the statement that Buendia was our best player last year and that Skipp was our most important. Buendia for pure ability to hurt the opposition and affect games, week in, week out. He cannot be ignored strategically by the opposition, they have to change their own preferred plans to adjust to his very presence. Coaching definition: a weapon. Skipp naturally played the exact way that offered a key counterpoint to the way Farke likes to play and set up his sides. He instinctively acted as a third centre back when necessary, didn’t get sucked forward or out of shape when we were on top, smelt danger before it arrives and was fast into the fire at its outbreak. If he was not priceless to us, his role was. If not him, then someone had to bought to do that exact job. It is even more important at the top level. This is not hindsight, it was pretty clear to the vast majority of Norwich fans who watch their team regularly. 

Let us now shoot a canard or two to move the discussion forward.  It is unheard of to sell your best player and major weapon upon promotion. Unheard of. The timing of it is extraordinary. It was a huge gamble and - slightly - smells of a compulsive need-belief in ‘doing differently’ to the point where you try to reinvent the wheel in evangelical belief. 


Norwich did not have to sell Buendia. There have been thousands of footballers who pitched for a move, who got their agent to get spiky, who leaked some ‘come-and-get-me’ pleas, a thousand gentleman’s agreements in football that weren’t worth the toilet paper they weren’t wiped on. Norwich were premier League. Buendia was under contract. Promotion was fresh.

Norwich chose  to sell Buendia. 

This goes to the heart of the issue, as it combines the weaknesses of lack of finance with sporting strategy. 

It is not retrospective wisdom to note that at the top level teams are full of powerful, capable squads who have the top level nous to minimise on-field strategic weakness (and force the best to be brilliant, week-in, week-out). Weaker teams face more pressure and thus weaker players make more individual mistakes. Is this then really errors of the individual or the inevitable odds of the wheel of fortune?

Stuart Webber wisely stated that we would not try to compete with this, that we couldn’t, that we would focus on improving the first xi and not spread money around a vast squad of interchangeable (likely not-quite-as-good-as-everyone-else’s) players. 

Nevertheless the decision was made to sell Buendia - who not only a weapon in his own right, but also ensured that Pukki his compadre was at least half a weapon. That’s already good enough to trouble teams a bit. 

What has been bought are not weapons. They are good players. We are on average much better as a squad, yet conversely less dangerous to the opposition. There is the trade. It seems at odds with the early-in-pre-season statement. 

Daniel Farke can pick two good teams every week, though not an eleven that can trouble the opposition. This looks like an expensive mis-calculation. 

There may be a necessary asset investment angle to this. A Tzolis, a Sargent, a Rashica can flourish and suddenly be a valuable asset. They may stay and thrive in the Championship. This strategy may be a product of lack of finance. It would be hard to argue that it doesn’t sacrifice the here-and-now though. 

The painful truth may be that Daniel, Stuart and Delia have all done as well as they can with what they have. 

Demanding change now may be missing the point. Daniel may be wedded to a dominant footballing philosophy that flourishes exclusively against the weaker. Stuart may have ‘done different’ one too many times and succumbed to the - often wonderful - religious fervour of a new  Messiah. Delia may be right to rail against the dreadful capitalism of the whole thing….but….
 

…Maths is a terrible adversary however and all the numbers are against us with what we have. Unpicking the stitching in the dugout changes little if the over-arching fundamentals remain the same. Farke may be the lightning rod, Webber may seek pastures new and trade off well-earned previous glories, Delia may cling on with an ever-tighter grip like Miss Haversham in the crumbling manor…but what then? Does the cycle repeat….the wonderful, awful pain and joy of yo-yo greatness and awfulness? The railing against Murdoch’s millions while gobbling it up so it can be dribbled away to pay for the inevitable annual millions lost in the Championship?

Farke has an array of good players, though he has no weapons. Even Pukki is emasculated without Buendia. Of course when you have one or two weapons you are dependent. Of course you are one injury away from a real issue. Though even that wily old warhorse Steve Bruce - no-ones favourite for favourite manager of the year - essentially builds a solid, effective team then ‘gives the ball to the lad Saint-Maximin’ while the others players sit tight, watch and applaud. It is an effective strategy for the job at hand. Newcastle stay up comfortably (also not enough for fans of course, one must ever move forwards..such is top level sport). Unless you are a truly wealthy, incredible team you cannot hold many weapons for long though. Though the magpies do keep Saint-Maximin, Spurs do not sell Kane and nobody - but nobody - sells such a weapon at the point of promotion. 

Norwich are hamstrung by their ownership model. Self-sustaining to an absolutist degree is an extraordinary strategy in football. There is no money. Self-sustaining is not a philosophy or a laudable guiding principle, it is borne of necessity. Everything - selling Buendia included - flows from there. 

Unless Delia gives the shares away or bequeathes them to a group or individual, then they must be bought. They do have a value. Let us say that the club is worth £100m. To buy 65% of the club, an investor, new benefactor, lottery winner must spend £65m on a nameplate. Before anything else happens. £65m spent and not a single loan left back added yet. No wonder there ‘is no queue of investors lining Carrow Road’. 

So this is it. This is where the maths ends up and the road we tread again. Farke is a red herring. Sacking the manager changes nothing. I’m not even sure that 2 or 3 ardent fans would agree on what our best xi is, what shape it should be, where our best weapons are. I’m afraid simply railing that ‘we should get after them more’….or ‘we don’t go at teams from the off’ … or ..’we need to want it more’ is pointless, worthless nonsense.

We have spent Buendia on a lot of players who are better than we had before and a lot less not-as-good-as-everyone-else’s. Though we don’t have anything now to really hurt teams tactically with. ‘Both boxes’ as the old boys used to say. 

Our failure is a cascading collection of small weaknesses and inter-connecting sticking plasters to cover the gaping wound of lack of finance. All of it is understandable.

If we really want to ‘do different’ it is time to reach out to the SME world, to the Tifosys trading ground bond supporters, small investors, loyal individuals and create a genuinely inclusive French-Shared-Mortgage model whereby the small slices of ownership fluctuate according to investment size at any given moment. Whereby any small (vetted) investor gets a marketing share of brand usage, whereby the community and collective spirit is honourably leveraged to create a membership-style model that would truly be a fitting legacy to Delia’s wonderful era. She herself could and should be a major part going forwards. Like it or not, intended or not, the club has become a massively appreciated asset. It’s value has increased maybe tenfold from the very welcome, though contextually small investment of (anecdotally) £10m or less. 

The majority of the £100m is now Delia’s. She can hand it down to Tom. He can keep it or cash it in. Maybe it is a theoretical £100m that never sees the light of day. If you ask for that money from an investor, I would be reasonably sure it would never materialise. The ‘doors are open’ offer to sell is thus a somewhat theoretical one. It also would have no benefit to Norwich City. Not a pound would enter the club from such a share sale. Something of a circular reference self-fulfilling prophecy then….

..and so we have 20 odd good players and no Buendia. Nor any Skipp. Nor any points. 

Not really an accident at all.

Parma 

 

 

 

Edited by Parma Ham's gone mouldy
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Norwich City's laissez-faire attitude towards the EPL is much as a moral, as a financial one. Smith has not been complimentary to the league in past and that filters through the rest of the club. We take the T.V money and parachute payments, but other than that, they are comfortable being a second tier club, whether the fans like that or not. I've never known owners of a football club that takes their fan base for granted as Norwich City. 

Unless the club is in the hands of somebody that does not accept that view and wants to invest - or attract outside investment - the club will struggle going forward. The club can't blame the EPL for its own failings, the situation the club finds itself in is firmly and squarely at its own door. 

I'd love Norwich City to make a real go of staying in the EPL - on and off the pitch - but the will is not there. 

Edited by komakino
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The moment Emi was sold City might just have well hoisted up the white flag. That aside, constantly playing out from the back works for Norwich in the Championship but doesn't in the Prem. It didn't work in 2019/20 but Farke didn't adapt.Its just so easy for opponents,press high ,especially early in games and eventually the cumulative pressure on defenders will lead to errors. 

Edited by MORDENCANARY

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We have abandoned our footballing identity and not improved the starting 11 of our team. If anything we had a stronger first 11 last season. Doesn’t take a genius to work out what’s gone wrong 

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Wonder why irrespective of if we win The Championship or finish in the top 3 why the Bookies and Pundits ALWAYS make us a certainty to be relegated 

Edited by daly

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Just now, daly said:

Wonder why irrespective of if we win The Championship or finish in the top 3 why the Bookies and Pundits ALWAYS make up a certainty to be relegated 

History proves them right though we are the most relegated club in the history or the premiership which also conversely makes us the most promoted side too 

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7 minutes ago, daly said:

Wonder why irrespective of if we win The Championship or finish in the top 3 why the Bookies and Pundits ALWAYS make up a certainty to be relegated 

Because they know the owners don't really want to be there, except taking the money. 

 

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Think you’ve hit on some very good points Parma.

I think you’ve summarised the investment issue very well. It’s an absolute catch-22. Norwich is a PL yo yo club, the appreciation of that asset is already made bar some miraculous transformation to European contenders.

There is no investment to be made from what I can see. What those clamouring for investment want doesn’t really exist, someone prepared to buy an asset at its highest value ever after the biggest return has been made and then spend big with a very unlikely chance you will see any return on that spend. Norwich is a victim of its own success in football finance terms as far as I can see.

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Personally am fed up with seeing the name "Buendia" written on here. We move on and we build a team around what we have. If it's not good enough, so be it.  

I'm also a bit fed up of people talking about "failure" too.  The only failure I can see is the lack of patience being shown by some fans to wait and see how things develop - as they will. Failure to get any points? Yes, OK, fair enough, but the season cannot be regarded as a failure after just six games. 

 

 

 

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49 minutes ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Let us say that the club is worth £100m.

Although not central to your argument, I suspect that it is worth far more than that. 

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It's pretty lazy to pinpoint the Buendia sale as the catalyst of our failure, tempting as it is. 

The problem is absolutely the lack of quality in the replacements, compounded by regressive tactics which fail to play to the strengths we have.

We needed 4 quality signings: CB, CDM AM (LRC) and S. £20m a piece on genuinely improving the squad. Instead we've signed a lot of journeymen or 'potential'.

The worst thing is that we've lost any momentum, all our identity and we've abandoned the winning system. We could easily have just looked to replace Buendia and Skipp and pick up where we left off last season.

We simply didn't need the turnover of players. We didn't need to switch to a midfield 3 when we'd absolutely nailed the double pivot last season. I just don't understand the strategy.

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10 minutes ago, lake district canary said:

Personally am fed up with seeing the name "Buendia" written on here. We move on and we build a team around what we have. If it's not good enough, so be it.  

I'm also a bit fed up of people talking about "failure" too.  The only failure I can see is the lack of patience being shown by some fans to wait and see how things develop - as they will. Failure to get any points? Yes, OK, fair enough, but the season cannot be regarded as a failure after just six games. 

 

 

 

It’s like you didn’t read what he wrote.

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1 hour ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Where did it all go wrong Daniel, Stuart, Delia?
 

I had a client who - aside from other things - was a leading National risk assessor for Health & Safety accidents at work. 

When thinking about apportioning blame for any perceived failure, I often think about his firmly-held belief - borne of repeated experience - that major failures are almost always the consequence of a string of (he would say predominantly-avoidable) smaller errors occurring in collective sequence.

These errors can be broken down into the strategic, the operational-systemic and the individual. The overriding driver for assessment is learning and structural improvement where necessary. 

Much as it is with Norwich. 

In the immediate aftermath of failure, my client would consider it highly unwise to leap to find fast answers and apportion useful blame. It is something of a human instinct, though it is a poor substitute for slower, more considered thinking. 

Norwich don’t have enough money to compete on an equal footing at this level. This is undoubtedly a massive hindrance and defines a number of macro imperatives that drive subsequent sporting decisions. 

Let’s start with the obvious. There are few Norwich fans who would argue against the statement that Buendia was out best player last year and that Skipp was our most important. Buendia for pure ability to hurt the opposition and affect games, week in, week out. He cannot be ignored strategically bu the opposition, they have to change their own preferred plans to adjust to his very presence. Coaching definition: a weapon. Skipp naturally played the exact way that offered a key counterpoint to the way Farke likes to play and set up his sides. He instinctively acted as a third centre back when necessary, didn’t get sucked forward or out of shape when we were on top, smelt danger before it arrives and was fast into the fire at its outbreak. If he was not priceless to us, his role was. If not him, then someone had to bought to do that exact job. It is even more important at the top level. This is not hindsight, it was pretty clear to the vast majority of Norwich fans who watch their team regularly. 

Let us now shoot a canard or two to move the discussion forward.  It is unheard of to sell your best player and major weapon upon promotion. Une heard of. The timing of it is extraordinary. It was a huge gamble and - slightly - smells of a compulsive need-belief in ‘doing differently’ to the point where you try to reinvent the wheel in evangelical belief. 


Norwich did not have to sell Buendia. There have been thousands of footballers who pitched for a move, who got their agent to get spiky, who leaked some ‘come-and-get-me’ pleas, a thousand gentleman’s agreements in football that weren’t worth the toilet paper they weren’t wiped on. Norwich we’re premier League. Buendia was under contract. Promotion was fresh.

Norwich chose  to sell Buendia. 

This goes to the heart of the issue, as it combines the weaknesses of lack of finance with sporting strategy. 

It is not retrospective wisdom to note that at the top level teams are full of powerful, capable squads who have the top level nous to minimise on-field strategic weakness (and force the best to be brilliant , week-in, week-out). Weaker teams face more pressure and thus weaker players make more individual mistakes. Is this then really errors of the individual or the inevitable odds of the wheel of fortune?

Stuart Webber wisely stated that we would not try to compete with this, that we couldn’t, that we would focus on improving the first xi and not spread money around a vast squad of interchangeable (likely not-quite-as-good-as-everyone-else’s) players. 

Nevertheless the decision was made to sell Buendia - who not only a weapon in his own right, but also ensured that Pukki his compadre was at least half a weapon. That’s already good enough to trouble teams a bit. 

What has been bought are not weapons. They are good players. We are on average much better as a squad, yet conversely less dangerous to the opposition. There is the trade. It seems at odds with the early-in-pre-season statement. 

Daniel Farke can pick two good teams every week, though not an eleven that can trouble the opposition. This looks like an expensive mis-calculation. 

There may be a necessary asset investment angle to this. A Tzolis, a Sargent, a Rashica can flourish and suddenly be a valuable asset. They may stay and thrive in the Championship. This strategy may be a product of lack of finance. It would be hard to argue that it doesn’t sacrifice the here-and-now though. 

The painful truth may be that Daniel, Stuart and Delia have all done as well as they can with what they have. 

Demanding change now may be missing the point. Daniel may be wedded to a dominant footballing philosophy that flourishes exclusively against the weaker. Stuart may have ‘done different’ one too many times and succumbed to the - often wonderful - religious fervour of a new  Messiah. Delia may be right to rail against the dreadful capitalism of the whole thing….but….
 

…Maths is a terrible adversary however and all the numbers are against us with what we have. Unpicking the stitching in the dugout changes little if the over-arching fundamentals remain the same. Farke may be the lightning rod, Webber may seek pastures new and trade off well-earned previous glories, Delia may cling on with an ever-tighter grip like Miss Haversham in the crumbling manor…but what then? Does the cycle repeat….the wonderful, awful pain and joy of yo-yo greatness and awfulness? The railing against Murdoch’s millions while gobbling it up so it can be dribbled away to pay for the inevitable annual millions lost in the Championship?

Farke has an array of good players, though he has no weapons. Even Pukki is emasculated without Buendia. Of course when you have one or two weapons you are dependent. Of course you are one injury away from a real issue. Though even that wily old warhorse Steve Bruce - no-ones favourite for favourite manager of the year - essentially builds a solid, effective team then ‘gives the ball to the lad Saint-Maximin’ while the others players sit tight, watch and applaud. It is an effective strategy for the job at hand. Newcastle stay up comfortably (also not enough for fans of course, one must ever move forwards..such is top level sport). Unless you are a truly wealthy, incredible team you cannot hold many weapons for long though. Though the magpies do keep Saint-Maximin, Spurs do not sell Kane and nobody - but nobody - sells such a weapon at the point of promotion. 

Norwich are hamstrung by their ownership model. Self-sustaining to an absolutist degree is an extraordinary strategy in football. There is no money. Self-sustaining is not a philosophy or a laudable guiding principle, it is borne of necessity. Everything - selling Buendia included - flows from there. 

Unless Delia gives the shares away or bequeathes them to a group or individual, then they must be bought. They do have a value. Let us say that the club is worth £100m. To buy 65% of the club, an investor, new benefactor, lottery winner must spend £65m on a nameplate. Before anything else happens. £65m spent and not a single loan left back added yet. No wonder there ‘is no queue of investors lining Carrow Road’. 

So this is it. This is where the maths ends up and the road we tread again. Farke is a red herring. Sacking the manager changes nothing. I’m not even sure that 2 or 3 ardent fans would agree on what our best xi is, what shape it should be, where our best weapons are. I’m afraid simply railing that ‘we should get after them more’….or ‘we don’t go at teams from the off’ … or ..’we need to want it more’ is pointless, worthless nonsense.

We have spent Buendia on a lot of players who are better than we had before and a lot less not-as-good-as-everyone-else’s. Though we don’t have anything now to really hurt teams tactically with. ‘Both boxes’ as the old boys used to say. 

Our failure is a cascading collection of small weaknesses and inter-connecting sticking plasters to cover the gaping wound of lack of finance. All of it is understandable.

If we really want to ‘do different’ it is time to reach out to the SME world, to the Tifosys trading ground bond supporters, small investors, loyal individuals and create a genuinely inclusive French-Shared-Mortgage model whereby the small slices of ownership fluctuate according to investment size at any given moment. Whereby any small (vetted) investor gets a marketing share of brand usage, whereby the community and collective spirit is honourably leveraged to create a membership-style model that would truly be a fitting legacy to Delia’s wonderful era. She herself could and should be a major part going forwards. Like it or not, intended or not, the club has become a massively appreciated asset. It’s value has increased maybe tenfold from the very welcome, though contextually small investment of (anecdotally) £10m or less. 

The £100m is now Delia’s. She can hand it down to Tom. He can keep it or cash it in. Maybe it is a theoretical £100m that never sees the light of day. If you ask for that money from an investor, I would be reasonably sure it would never materialise. The ‘doors are open’ offer to sell is thus a somewhat theoretical one. It also would have no benefit to Norwich City. Not a pound would enter the club from such a share sale. Something of a circular reference self-fulfilling prophecy then….

..and so we have 20 odd good players and no Buendia. Nor any Skipp. Nor any points. 

Not really an accident at all.

Parma 

 

 

 

Parma - that is a great , and very surprising read. Surprising as you have (apologies) stated the obvious (selling Buendia , Farke’s philosophy overcomes weaker teams) without the over complication that I have been critical of in the past. 
I suspect that as you have said it , it may not attract the vitriol that others may have received . 

 

I , like many in business, have fears around the Miss Haversham reference . It isn’t entirely fair , but the refusal to see any way other than the current way does seem accurate which is a pity . 
 

I’m so disappointed. I had high expectations for the seasons. I don’t follow European football so the signings meant little to me . I hoped the players were more  Buendia than Heise .  They may still be , but so far they are not. 
 

My analogy of Farke is a job interview / CV scenario. DF arrives for a job at a high end job in any industry. The shareholders and their directors are looking for the best person to take the organisation forward. DF opens his pitch by saying he has had exemplary success in the lower reaches of the industry or environment in question. So far so good . But when asked about his successes at the level the organisation is currently operating in , DF has to concede he has had no success.
 

The organisation, and all of its stakeholders is faced with a fairly simple decision . 
 

Farke has grown with Norwich and vice versa . There is genuine love for him. But his demonstrable inability to compete at this level is currently in question . But a you say , this is not the main issue of why Norwich find ourselves where we are . 
 

 Good , but troubling , read Parma. 
 

 

Edited by Graham Paddons Beard
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3 minutes ago, nutty nigel said:

@Parma Ham's gone mouldy

Best bit of quality on this board for a long time. 

 

Out of likes but I agree with this Nutty. I don’t always agree with every little thing Parma says but his posts are knowledgeable, insightful and well argued.

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To quote Abraham Lincoln. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

 

They have been found out and even those most willing to buy into the 'self funding' project have discovered that they are simply bankrolling Smith and Jones' desperate and cynical cling on to ownership. The bank balance matters. events on the pitch don't.

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1 hour ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Norwich did not have to sell Buendia. There have been thousands of footballers who pitched for a move, who got their agent to get spiky, who leaked some ‘come-and-get-me’ pleas, a thousand gentleman’s agreements in football that weren’t worth the toilet paper they weren’t wiped on. Norwich we’re premier League. Buendia was under contract. Promotion was fresh.

Norwich chose  to sell Buendia. 

FFS I spent the whole summer complaining about it and getting shouted at and I’d finally convinced myself we didn’t really have a choice and then you go and say this!!

I do think it wasn’t quite as straightforward as you make out, though. Yes we could’ve put our foot down and refused to sell, but what impact would that have had on his output for the team? Case in point being Harry Kane, heard from several Spurs fans that they’d much rather have taken the money seeing how he has started the season. Of course could still be fitness issues there but hard to argue that his commitment hasn’t taken a knock.

But at the other end, I don’t for one second believe all the nonsense that was said about how ‘keeping Buendia would destroy our model’ and our ‘reputation for developing young players and letting them go’ etc etc, making it hard for us to sign similar prospects in the future.

Ironically it now appears that selling him has destroyed our prospects of staying up anyway, and with that our reputation - albeit in a different way. I.e. I certainly can’t see too many players queuing up to join us if they have serious PL aspirations given our reputation is now of a side which cannot cope with the league, at all.

So we need to shake this monkey off our back, we need to make a good of it this season, even if we just fall short, we simply can’t go down with a whimper again. 

I still think it could be too early to say we ‘don’t have a weapon’, early performances have not been good but I don’t think it’s beyond the realms of possibility for one of our attackers to hit some form. When everyone is low on confidence, in and out of the team, struggling to click with the players around them, then of course it’s hard to pick any stand outs. It could still change! We won’t find another Buendia in this group though I will admit. 

Edited by Hank shoots Skyler
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14 minutes ago, robert choice said:

To quote Abraham Lincoln. “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

 

They have been found out and even those most willing to buy into the 'self funding' project have discovered that they are simply bankrolling Smith and Jones' desperate and cynical cling on to ownership. The bank balance matters. events on the pitch don't.

Great post. Not that it will be fully appreciated, as some still buy into the falsehood that she 'saved the club'. Strangled it more like. 

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1 hour ago, lake district canary said:

Personally am fed up with seeing the name "Buendia" written on here. We move on and we build a team around what we have. If it's not good enough, so be it.  

I'm also a bit fed up of people talking about "failure" too.  The only failure I can see is the lack of patience being shown by some fans to wait and see how things develop - as they will. Failure to get any points? Yes, OK, fair enough, but the season cannot be regarded as a failure after just six games. 

 

 

 

Do you feel a little bit like a bloke looking at an ex who’s moved on and you just want to get Karen back and proved you’ve changed? 

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11 minutes ago, komakino said:

Great post. Not that it will be fully appreciated, as some still buy into the falsehood that she 'saved the club'. Strangled it more like. 

Can it not be both?

I personally believe they saved the club in a dire time, but I also broadly agree with Parma’s assessment of where we are now.

I believe Delia and Michael love the club but their good ownership unintentionally leaves us stuck within the current Football financial pyramid.

I have no desire for a stinking Rich owner, but there other ways that could be explored as Parma had suggested at the acceptance of a dilution of their current ownership. We could become a model for community/supporter ownership for instance.

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58 minutes ago, Petriix said:

It's pretty lazy to pinpoint the Buendia sale as the catalyst of our failure, tempting as it is. 

The problem is absolutely the lack of quality in the replacements, compounded by regressive tactics which fail to play to the strengths we have.

We needed 4 quality signings: CB, CDM AM (LRC) and S. £20m a piece on genuinely improving the squad. Instead we've signed a lot of journeymen or 'potential'.

The worst thing is that we've lost any momentum, all our identity and we've abandoned the winning system. We could easily have just looked to replace Buendia and Skipp and pick up where we left off last season.

We simply didn't need the turnover of players. We didn't need to switch to a midfield 3 when we'd absolutely nailed the double pivot last season. I just don't understand the strategy.

I agree with some of this but a Novel concept would of surely been keeping your best player and still signing 4 quality signings to have a real chance of staying up. If we went down the price of Buendia/ Aaron’s / cantwell wouldn’t really change too much in 12 months 

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To go into the premier league with a WEAKER team than last season is completely unacceptable

Delia won’t invest or can’t invest adequately in the team so it’s time to go and go now 

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1 hour ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Where did it all go wrong Daniel, Stuart, Delia?
 

I had a client who - aside from other things - was a leading National risk assessor for Health & Safety accidents at work. 

When thinking about apportioning blame for any perceived failure, I often think about his firmly-held belief - borne of repeated experience - that major failures are almost always the consequence of a string of (he would say predominantly-avoidable) smaller errors occurring in collective sequence.

These errors can be broken down into the strategic, the operational-systemic and the individual. The overriding driver for assessment is learning and structural improvement where necessary. 

Much as it is with Norwich. 

In the immediate aftermath of failure, my client would consider it highly unwise to leap to find fast answers and apportion useful blame. It is something of a human instinct, though it is a poor substitute for slower, more considered thinking. 

Norwich don’t have enough money to compete on an equal footing at this level. This is undoubtedly a massive hindrance and defines a number of macro imperatives that drive subsequent sporting decisions. 

Let’s start with the obvious. There are few Norwich fans who would argue against the statement that Buendia was out best player last year and that Skipp was our most important. Buendia for pure ability to hurt the opposition and affect games, week in, week out. He cannot be ignored strategically bu the opposition, they have to change their own preferred plans to adjust to his very presence. Coaching definition: a weapon. Skipp naturally played the exact way that offered a key counterpoint to the way Farke likes to play and set up his sides. He instinctively acted as a third centre back when necessary, didn’t get sucked forward or out of shape when we were on top, smelt danger before it arrives and was fast into the fire at its outbreak. If he was not priceless to us, his role was. If not him, then someone had to bought to do that exact job. It is even more important at the top level. This is not hindsight, it was pretty clear to the vast majority of Norwich fans who watch their team regularly. 

Let us now shoot a canard or two to move the discussion forward.  It is unheard of to sell your best player and major weapon upon promotion. Une heard of. The timing of it is extraordinary. It was a huge gamble and - slightly - smells of a compulsive need-belief in ‘doing differently’ to the point where you try to reinvent the wheel in evangelical belief. 


Norwich did not have to sell Buendia. There have been thousands of footballers who pitched for a move, who got their agent to get spiky, who leaked some ‘come-and-get-me’ pleas, a thousand gentleman’s agreements in football that weren’t worth the toilet paper they weren’t wiped on. Norwich we’re premier League. Buendia was under contract. Promotion was fresh.

Norwich chose  to sell Buendia. 

This goes to the heart of the issue, as it combines the weaknesses of lack of finance with sporting strategy. 

It is not retrospective wisdom to note that at the top level teams are full of powerful, capable squads who have the top level nous to minimise on-field strategic weakness (and force the best to be brilliant , week-in, week-out). Weaker teams face more pressure and thus weaker players make more individual mistakes. Is this then really errors of the individual or the inevitable odds of the wheel of fortune?

Stuart Webber wisely stated that we would not try to compete with this, that we couldn’t, that we would focus on improving the first xi and not spread money around a vast squad of interchangeable (likely not-quite-as-good-as-everyone-else’s) players. 

Nevertheless the decision was made to sell Buendia - who not only a weapon in his own right, but also ensured that Pukki his compadre was at least half a weapon. That’s already good enough to trouble teams a bit. 

What has been bought are not weapons. They are good players. We are on average much better as a squad, yet conversely less dangerous to the opposition. There is the trade. It seems at odds with the early-in-pre-season statement. 

Daniel Farke can pick two good teams every week, though not an eleven that can trouble the opposition. This looks like an expensive mis-calculation. 

There may be a necessary asset investment angle to this. A Tzolis, a Sargent, a Rashica can flourish and suddenly be a valuable asset. They may stay and thrive in the Championship. This strategy may be a product of lack of finance. It would be hard to argue that it doesn’t sacrifice the here-and-now though. 

The painful truth may be that Daniel, Stuart and Delia have all done as well as they can with what they have. 

Demanding change now may be missing the point. Daniel may be wedded to a dominant footballing philosophy that flourishes exclusively against the weaker. Stuart may have ‘done different’ one too many times and succumbed to the - often wonderful - religious fervour of a new  Messiah. Delia may be right to rail against the dreadful capitalism of the whole thing….but….
 

…Maths is a terrible adversary however and all the numbers are against us with what we have. Unpicking the stitching in the dugout changes little if the over-arching fundamentals remain the same. Farke may be the lightning rod, Webber may seek pastures new and trade off well-earned previous glories, Delia may cling on with an ever-tighter grip like Miss Haversham in the crumbling manor…but what then? Does the cycle repeat….the wonderful, awful pain and joy of yo-yo greatness and awfulness? The railing against Murdoch’s millions while gobbling it up so it can be dribbled away to pay for the inevitable annual millions lost in the Championship?

Farke has an array of good players, though he has no weapons. Even Pukki is emasculated without Buendia. Of course when you have one or two weapons you are dependent. Of course you are one injury away from a real issue. Though even that wily old warhorse Steve Bruce - no-ones favourite for favourite manager of the year - essentially builds a solid, effective team then ‘gives the ball to the lad Saint-Maximin’ while the others players sit tight, watch and applaud. It is an effective strategy for the job at hand. Newcastle stay up comfortably (also not enough for fans of course, one must ever move forwards..such is top level sport). Unless you are a truly wealthy, incredible team you cannot hold many weapons for long though. Though the magpies do keep Saint-Maximin, Spurs do not sell Kane and nobody - but nobody - sells such a weapon at the point of promotion. 

Norwich are hamstrung by their ownership model. Self-sustaining to an absolutist degree is an extraordinary strategy in football. There is no money. Self-sustaining is not a philosophy or a laudable guiding principle, it is borne of necessity. Everything - selling Buendia included - flows from there. 

Unless Delia gives the shares away or bequeathes them to a group or individual, then they must be bought. They do have a value. Let us say that the club is worth £100m. To buy 65% of the club, an investor, new benefactor, lottery winner must spend £65m on a nameplate. Before anything else happens. £65m spent and not a single loan left back added yet. No wonder there ‘is no queue of investors lining Carrow Road’. 

So this is it. This is where the maths ends up and the road we tread again. Farke is a red herring. Sacking the manager changes nothing. I’m not even sure that 2 or 3 ardent fans would agree on what our best xi is, what shape it should be, where our best weapons are. I’m afraid simply railing that ‘we should get after them more’….or ‘we don’t go at teams from the off’ … or ..’we need to want it more’ is pointless, worthless nonsense.

We have spent Buendia on a lot of players who are better than we had before and a lot less not-as-good-as-everyone-else’s. Though we don’t have anything now to really hurt teams tactically with. ‘Both boxes’ as the old boys used to say. 

Our failure is a cascading collection of small weaknesses and inter-connecting sticking plasters to cover the gaping wound of lack of finance. All of it is understandable.

If we really want to ‘do different’ it is time to reach out to the SME world, to the Tifosys trading ground bond supporters, small investors, loyal individuals and create a genuinely inclusive French-Shared-Mortgage model whereby the small slices of ownership fluctuate according to investment size at any given moment. Whereby any small (vetted) investor gets a marketing share of brand usage, whereby the community and collective spirit is honourably leveraged to create a membership-style model that would truly be a fitting legacy to Delia’s wonderful era. She herself could and should be a major part going forwards. Like it or not, intended or not, the club has become a massively appreciated asset. It’s value has increased maybe tenfold from the very welcome, though contextually small investment of (anecdotally) £10m or less. 

The £100m is now Delia’s. She can hand it down to Tom. He can keep it or cash it in. Maybe it is a theoretical £100m that never sees the light of day. If you ask for that money from an investor, I would be reasonably sure it would never materialise. The ‘doors are open’ offer to sell is thus a somewhat theoretical one. It also would have no benefit to Norwich City. Not a pound would enter the club from such a share sale. Something of a circular reference self-fulfilling prophecy then….

..and so we have 20 odd good players and no Buendia. Nor any Skipp. Nor any points. 

Not really an accident at all.

Parma 

 

 

 

Binner! 😜

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1 hour ago, Monty13 said:

Think you’ve hit on some very good points Parma.

I think you’ve summarised the investment issue very well. It’s an absolute catch-22. Norwich is a PL yo yo club, the appreciation of that asset is already made bar some miraculous transformation to European contenders.

There is no investment to be made from what I can see. What those clamouring for investment want doesn’t really exist, someone prepared to buy an asset at its highest value ever after the biggest return has been made and then spend big with a very unlikely chance you will see any return on that spend. Norwich is a victim of its own success in football finance terms as far as I can see.

I agree with this. I think that Parma has seriously undervalued the club as well. A valuation of £150 to £200 million is more likely.* Then if (I don't) accept the argument that we don't have sufficient finance to be competitive, we have to assume that there would need to be an annual deficit to make us competitive - I have no idea what amount this would need to be - but it would need to be an ongoing subsidy.

So what would be the end game for the buyers? Would you really be confident that in 5 years time we would be worth £400 -£500 million so that you could get your money back + profit, in justification of the risk involved. I do, however, think that he has a good point in the alternative methods of raising finance. Speaking personally I would be prepared to buy more share +  would be interested in another bond scheme. We have done both before and they could be used again - but what for and for how long if he feels that we are structurally under-funded when does this stop - again where is the end game. But I would be very happy with dilution of ownership amongst fans, local businesses and other smaller investors.

 

*According to the administrators there are several credible buyers prepared to buy little more than a brand name at Derby County - no ground, no players etc. Although the nominal cost will almost certainly be £1, they will have to pay between £40 to £60 million of Derby's debt (and even then most of the debtors will only be getting 25%).

 

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Parma, much to agree with there. But with respect I think you oversimplify the Buendia situation. Roughly speaking, based on what looked like well-sourced estimates in the media, we had somewhere between £15m and £25m to spend without any sales. Keep Buendia, fill the Skipp gap with a Premier-League quality replacement, and that would have been the transfer budget pretty much used up.*

 

No cover for Krul, no new defenders, no improvement on the willing but limited Hernandez, no new striker and so on. Come early November and a bit of an injury crisis and we have only Gibson available in central defence, an unfit Bryam pressed into service at fullback, and the very blunt instrument of Idah up front.

 

Easy to imagine what the volcanic reaction of fans here would be if we found ourselves in that kind of situation.  Webber and Farke are not idiots. I am sure they knew what they would be missing by selling Buendia but they felt they had no choice.

 

As to ownership, yes, there is an alternative to either the poor but honest status quo and the cartoon-like figure of a billionaire with all eyes on the bottom line. Well over a decade ago I came up with the idea of a supporter-director with a golden share veto as part of a much more fan- and community-based model. I don't think the notion has got any less sensible or relevant to Norwich City in the intervening years.

 

*This equation still works if we loaned in a Skipp replacement but had to spend many millions on a permanent deal for, say, a new striker.

 

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1 hour ago, Monty13 said:

Think you’ve hit on some very good points Parma.

I think you’ve summarised the investment issue very well. It’s an absolute catch-22. Norwich is a PL yo yo club, the appreciation of that asset is already made bar some miraculous transformation to European contenders.

There is no investment to be made from what I can see. What those clamouring for investment want doesn’t really exist, someone prepared to buy an asset at its highest value ever after the biggest return has been made and then spend big with a very unlikely chance you will see any return on that spend. Norwich is a victim of its own success in football finance terms as far as I can see.

But if you make a determined effort to look for a benefactor, not an investor, then Parma's defeatist thesis is false.

I do not accept for one minute that Norwich are in a situation with no way out. There is no forward-thinking leadership to address the fundamentals alluded to.

The problem is that the club is lazy. It has no strategic advancement agenda. It is content with the status quo. It is content to follow a hereditary succession plan only.

Norwich's timid approach to expanding the ground to 35,000 mirrors its timid approach to competing in the EPL.

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As with many businesses the main chance to pump up the bottom line comes from operations around the periphery of the core business. So , if football is the core business, then selling team shirts is around the edges operations ;  or selling players. The problem comes when the core business flounders then all the deals around the sides tend to implode as well. If you are not successful on the field of play you will be unlikely to attract the young talent that you hope to groom and develop in order to sell on for a vast profit and so keep the self sustaining model alive. So success on the pitch (in our case Premiership survival) is imperative to keep the model alive and flourishing.

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6 minutes ago, Big Vince said:

But if you make a determined effort to look for a benefactor, not an investor, then Parma's defeatist thesis is false.

Who really wants to be the benefactor of NCFC?

The venn diagram overlap of someone with millions to burn and an interest in giving it to Norwich city is likely no one.

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2 hours ago, Parma Ham's gone mouldy said:

Where did it all go wrong Daniel, Stuart, Delia?

Thanks for this Parma, it was thoughtful and interesting.

I don't want to go over some of the well-trodden ground again but would like to focus on some of the financial/ structural points you make. I will say at the outset that I am very attracted to the idea alternative financing methods involving fans/ bondholders/ SMEs - we have used it before. I can see it as a useful source of finance + also a way of binding the community increasingly firmly to the club (and also make us less prone to vultures in the future.) There is merit in the idea even if it did not make us "competitive" in the PL (something, I'm not convinced by).

If we were to raise finance, it could no doubt be beneficial, but if you are asserting that structurally we are too short of funds to compete, surely this implies that this fund raising would need to be an annual process. I know that for each position we get £c2.5 million + it could be used to fund ground expansion which in turn would generate further revenue. Both of these things would be good - but in your opinion would that be enough?

My own view is that we are not that far off a competitive revenue. If we ever manage to stay up, the second year need for new players would be lower + of course we would have earner extra performance millions from sky. It is getting through the first year or two is the challenge. If, however, you are of the opinion that we are miles short, it would seem to imply the need for ongoing bond + share issues, the former, incurring interest charges reducing some of the revenue attained.

What do you think is a competitive PL revenue? (By competitive, I mean able to stay up for a few years without being nearly ruined like some clubs have been). From what I have seen, we are not that far short. (Especially when dividend and interest payments are taken into account).

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