You may or may not have heard Norfolk’s very own Dave Freezer on TalkSport at around 2.20pm on Saturday afternoon, just prior to the Luton Town friendly kicked off.
I didn’t hear it live myself but became aware of it on Sunday morning when Dave took to Twitter with a link to the interview.
"I can't see Norwich City fans being happy with what David is suggesting."
— David Freezer (@davefreezer) July 28, 2019
Dave was appearing on the station’s Saturday Scoreboard with Russ Williams and The Daily Mirror’s football correspondent, Darren Lewis and he was asked about Norwich City’s lack of spending big on players this summer.
After answering very eloquently and explaining the situation over the last few years, Lewis and Williams described the Canaries’ attitude as being “defeatist.”
Dave had said that Teemu Pukki had told him in an interview a few weeks ago that Teemu didn’t expect to get 30 goals next season, something that he also told Vital Norwich’s LeeBoz at City Hall on the day of the title celebrating parade. He did tell LeeBoz that he fancied he could get a good 15 though.
Dave also explained the self-funding model being operated at Norwich and that the club lack a billionaire owner who can just throw money at top players.
He was met with claims of it being a defeatist attitude with Lewis and Williams basically suggesting that unless you spend a lot of money you won’t stay up in the Premier League and that as City have achieved promotion, they have a golden opportunity to splash the cash and establish themselves.
I really couldn’t believe what I was hearing.
Dave explained that there is already quality in the squad with the likes of Leitner, Vrancic, Stiepermann and Trybull being very good players who had perhaps lost their way but have now found a home in Norfolk.
This fell on deaf ears though.
“It’s like a boxer, taking on the big fight, agreeing it, knowing they’re going to get their share of the purse and then turning up for their ring walk and thinking ‘I’ve got no chance here, I’m going to lose’. One man’s realism is another man’s defeatism” said Williams.
To try to sum up what went on, I think goes beyond the easy suggestion that TalkSport don’t know what they’re talking about and that their presenters are idiots.
You have to understand, and I’m cutting them some slack here, that what Norwich are attempting to do this forthcoming season is not just unusual, it’s unheard of in the Premier League.
They have spent very little money on new signings but they have tied down all their best players to new, improved, long-term contracts. I can only assume that Williams and Lewis didn’t see a lot of Norwich City last season because if they had then I think they might not be so dismissive.
On Friday, everyone’s favourite TalkSport presenter, Adrian Durham explained on his show, in great detail, how Sheffield United were dead certs for relegation, Billy Sharp isn’t good enough for the top flight and that Phil Jagielka is a “sentimental signing.”
Harsh words but as ever, designed to shock and get a reaction. As my brother pointed out to me a long time ago, Drive on TalkSport is nothing more than a staged argument. Durham will have an extreme point of view and then his co-host, usually Darren Gough, will take an opposing view – that is the premise of the show.
Whenever I saw the Blades play last season, they were a real handful. They are fearless and will be driven on by Chris Wilder, who won’t allow slacking or parking the bus. Talking of parking the bus, that’s something else that Dave mentioned and he said that City would not do that and that they would have a go, even against the bigger teams, to a certain extent.
What I think we witnessed in Williams and Lewis here is two journalists that have a fixed point of view that only money can bring success. That’s not surprising with the way that the transfer market has gone since PSG signed Neymar for £192m.
That transfer affected the whole market. Suddenly every player’s value was bumped up by a massive margin, making it much harder for clubs outside the top six in the Premier League to compete financially.
This has meant that clubs like Norwich City have a choice, you either throw lots of money that you haven’t got at bang average players or you try to find another way and rather than find themselves up to their necks in debt (again), the Canaries are trying that other way.
The lack of knowledge that Williams and Lewis have of the Norwich City squad was obvious to any member of the Canary Nation by the way they virtually dismissed Dave’s comments to his face.
They can’t be expected to know the ins and outs of every team and every player in every squad but if you’re going to speak from a position of perceived authority then you shouldn’t just make judgements without knowing exactly what you’re talking about.
Lewis even cited Fulham spending £100m in the vein of “at least they had a go.”
Really?! They had a go. Yeah, right, brilliant.
What is so hard to understand about trying something different because you believe in the players that got you to this point? The response from Williams to that was “Farke is trusting his players because he doesn’t have any other choice.”
That may be true but what if, stay with me Russ, what if they are good enough already? I would be so bold as to suggest that not a single Championship side could afford to buy and tie down to a long contract any of Norwich City’s best players now, after the way they performed last season, not without taking a significant financial risk.
Certainly if the likes of Pukki, Buendia, Leitner, Aarons, Lewis, Trybull, Vrancic and Hernandez were on the market after a season like they had last season and we were still in the Championship, we could not afford a single one of them at this point in time.
Signing a player in the Championship for big money and paying him £40k+ a week is a huge gamble, as the likes of Sheffield Wednesday and Reading have found out. They spent big and it didn’t pay off immediately and now Financial Fair Play is a problem.
So, what should City do, lads?
Should they just get a huge overdraft and gamble the future of the club on it? Or, should they take a more sensible, reasoned approach?
I know what I’d rather.
After they had let Dave go, Williams said “I can’t see Norwich City fans being happy with what David is suggesting.”
He is, of course, as wrong as anyone could possibly be with that closing statement because he speaks from a position of ignorance. I think the vast majority of Norwich fans understand where the club has come from since that avoidable relegation in 2016 and then being saddled with high earning underperforming players.
I happen to think, as I wrote last week, that our best XI from last season would be good enough to give any Premier League team a game and that’s before we signed anyone. I know that’s a bold statement but I’m making it.
Make no mistake, this forthcoming Premier League season is going to be very difficult but with the quality of players that City have, I honestly think we stand a decent chance of staying up. Whether we will or not is the big question and before the season starts, I expect City to be written off again and again by pundit after pundit.
“They’ve written us off, they always do…”