Date: 25th July 2019 at 8:47am
Written by:

Norwich lost for the first time in this summer’s pre-season as they were beaten 1-3 at Colney by Brentford, late afternoon on Wednesday.

I can’t stress enough how much you needn’t panic about losing a game of football with multiple changes made, in pre-season.

Brentford are a week further ahead in their planning for the Championship season which starts a week earlier than the Premier League does. That means that their line-up was a bit more settled and although they made a total of 7 changes in total, they were made in a more measured manner than City’s.

Even so, I know that social media was interspersed with people having mini-meltdowns beside wiser people trying to just keep it all calm.

It doesn’t mean anything and as I write every summer, pre-season is all about getting miles into legs and trying out formation and personnel ideas from the Head Coach.

Here’s how Daniel Farke lined up his men:

Norwich City: Fahrmann (Krul 45), Byram (Aarons 76), Klose (Hanley 66), Godfrey, Heise (Lewis 76), McLean (Roberts 76), Leitner (Trybull 76), Buendia (Cantwell 76), Srbeny, Hernandez (Idah 76), Drmic (Stiepermann 45). Subs (all used).

As you can see there were plenty of changes made and it’s telling that after Farke made six changes in the 76th minute, Brentford scored their third just two minutes later.

There was no Teemu Pukki, who was rested with a “slight toe injury” and there was no Neal Maupay for the Bees, with their star striker having been linked with a move away since the season ended.

Emi Buendía, Kenny McLean and Josip Drmic all came back in, having been rested against Schalke due to minor niggles and Buendía got City’s goal with a 20 yard cracker on 9 minutes, only for Brentford to equalise just two minutes later.

All in all, the second-half saw 8 changes, so like I say, don’t panic.

Should Norwich Have Spent More?

One of the big topics around, whichever forum you take a look at, this summer has been whether or not the Canaries should be spending more money than they have, so far.

Stuart Webber told us very early on in the summer that we shouldn’t be expecting the club to spend much money. In fact, he said, the Canaries will probably have the lowest budget in the Premier League this season.

That means that the club will have to be as canny and shop as smart as they did last summer and in the two previous transfer windows.

This question has been brought up a few times in the Vital Norwich Forum and here’s my response to it all:

Do we have enough to stay up? That’s the multi-million pound question. I think that even without signing anyone, our best XI would give anyone in the Premier League a game. A lot, if not all of last season’s first-team squad are now worth a heck of a lot more than at this time last year. So much so that a team in our position would have no chance of being able to afford any of our “best XI”, not a single one of them, now.

Pukki must be worth £20m.
Buendía approaching the same.
Aarons? Another figure like that, Vrancic maybe £10m, Leitner the same, Hernandez £10m etc etc etc

Our scouting and recruitment of these players and good coaching is what has got us here and having seen it last season, I think we need to absolutely trust in it again.
Matt Targett went for £14m and Byram cost us £750k – is Targett worth £14m? Time will tell, I suppose but for the first time since that double promotion under Lambert, I’m not fearful of what’s coming.
We’ll probably take a few beatings because if Man City can beat Chelsea 6-0 then it can happen to anyone but Man City and Liverpool are not who we are directly competing against. I’m confident in the squad we’ve assembled but we need Pukki to stay fit…”

Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment or get involved in the forum and have your say. One thing I can promise you about the Vital Norwich forum is that it’s friendly. It’s not a bear pit like Twitter or a breeding ground for numpties like Facebook or certain other, perhaps more infamous forums…


Click for the forum

10 Replies to “Pre-Season Musings And a Few Thoughts on NOT Spending Money”

  • You say our best Xl would give anyone a game. Unfortunately we are likely to be playing most games this season with at least a few players out injured/suspended…..
    If we get relegated, and miss out on staying up by only a few points, then the obvious complaints will be that we should have spent more.

    • Yes, I do say our best XI would give anyone a game in the PL. Every other team will also have injuries to cope with, so it’s the same for all teams. My point still stands though.
      The interesting thing is, and you’re right, there will be complaints from people that we haven’t spent enough if we are relegated. We got where we are by not spending much and I For one am happy to trust that recruitment/coaching set-up again. Mo eh doesn’t always buy success and that’s a good thing because City don’t have much of it.
      Those “I told you so” merchants perhaps don’t get the way things are being done here. There should be no recriminations if the worst happens. The club are in the best place it’s arguably ever been, in terms of position in the football pyramid and the quality of the squad and yes, I know that it’s all subjective but for our time and place, we’re doing okay right now…

  • Absolutely agree – given how the recruitment system has been set up, what we have seen this summer is exactly what I was expecting – no big names, one eye cast fully on the future, the steady formulation of a team, not a group of individuals. And yes the point is well made that the price of a player who would be a cast-iron guarantee to make the starting eleven would be most of the budget gone in one hit!

    As when Farke/Webber came in, people need to look to the long term. Hard though that is with the scrutiny that NCFC will be under for the next few months, keep supporting, keep cheering, keep waving the banners, because if this works, if they show how it is possible to play competitively in the Prem while spending a total of less than many clubs drop on one player, then people will be talking about it worldwide. And that alone, succeed or fail, is something worth getting behind.

  • We know the step up is enormous because we’ve been here before quite recently. We can probably be confident that some of our players can make that step up – the problem is that some probably can’t, and newly promoted sides often don’t find out who until it’s too late. Farke’s intention is to have two first XI’s who are largely interchangeable, but at the moment we have strengthened everywhere except in the centre of defence and at CDM.

    Unless we strengthen in those two areas, I don’t think we will survive. We let in too many goals – it’s that simple.

  • I son’t advocate spending vast sums to build disparate team (ala Fulham and Villa hopefully) but I would have liked to have seen one or two quality signings, partly as a statement of intent but also when you consider we did not win a single game in which Buendia was missing (in the Championship) there is big concern about depth in that area – someone to pull strong. A young Wes would be ideal.

  • As I see it .
    Dammed if you Do!
    Dammed if you Don’t !
    Absolutely right on Twitter & F/B calls.
    The predictions of a few pundits is mid to lower mid table which I think & hope is nearer to be a fair assessment
    of where we could find ourselves come the end.
    But as pointed out by you
    Luck with suspensions & injuries play a big part.
    But with VAR some of the “big” boys will have to contend with THE RIGHT decisions & not
    pressure from them being blah blah blah!
    Not if but when we make a really good fist of it !
    To have done it “OUR WAY”
    will make it all the sweeter,
    & the manner in which we do it will serve to show that sticking to your principles & plans will
    bring you success.

  • Lots said and written about what’s best spend spend spend like Fulham. Well that didn’t go well and Aston Villa are trying to do the same. Let’s see how that works out.
    My take is very simple.
    Believe in what we have because we are in a better situation as a club than we have been in years and maybe ever.
    We have a great chance of staying up which is plan A. Plan B. We are in a good place if relegated with so much younger talent which we can sell for large amounts or they stay and grow with us.
    Either way it’s in the clubs hands and we as supporters need to sit back enjoy the ups and downs of this season what be will be. I’m going to enjoy every minute and if it’s half as good as last year in terms of the football we play. I will be a happy clapper. OTBC

  • I think that the recruitment this summer has been good and there may be more to come. We seem to have recruited some good young players for the development squad. I like the idea of getting a lot of them playing time at other clubs, which I assume comes with some cash towards their wages. This should help us develop players rather than have to pay inflated prices for so called established stars. This is the long term project. It will bear fruit of which I have no doubt.

    I believe the first team squad is probably as strong as we’ve can afford. I don’t want to see ncfc face the financial messes it has in the past. If that means relegation then so be it but as long as the academy produces some great players then we will get stronger and stronger. Eventually becoming established in the Premier League.

    The key, however, isn’t the players in the first team squad. It is keeping Webber and Farke and their back room teams. They are worth a fortune to the club. They are the keys to the strategic planning and the delivery of the plan.

    This coming season is one to look forward to rather than fear. There should be no recriminations if we get relegated. There should be no if only we had spent more money on the team, we need to realise that is never a guarantee of better results. We need faith in every part of the team, management and directors to do their best and the fans to do likewise.


  • The squad of players last season provided so much pleasure and enjoyment to us fans they absolutely deserve a crack at the PL. The few additions we have made seem like the right stuff, time will obviously tell but Roberts in particular looks to be staking a claim for a start. I for one will trust DF/SW to get it right, we just maybe will have to be patient. OTBC.

Leave a Reply to James Cance Reply