When Stuart Webber arrived at Norwich City on 6th April 2017 as the new Sporting Director, he walked into a club in trouble. The 33-year-old left his position of Head of Football Operations with Huddersfield Town the day before.
His record with the Terriers speaks for itself. When he joined the Yorkshire club, they were struggling in the Championship. The were favourites for relegation every year and had little money to invest in players or facilities.
The Stuart Webber Effect at Norwich City and Huddersfield Town
Webber joined Town in June 2015 and persuaded David Wagner to move over to England in November, leaving Borussia Dortmund II. The Terriers finished 19th at the end of the 2015/2016 season. The German, with Webber, made some exciting yet shrewd signings in the summer 2016 transfer window, including loan signings from Manchester City (Aaron Mooy) and Liverpool (Danny Ward).
Taking the whole first team away to a very deserted part of Sweden on a bonding tour, with very little equipment and no phones, the players formed an important and crucial bond.
Webber helped change the football style and the results were almost instant. From a struggling Championship team, the Terriers earned promotion to the Premier League after only one full season with Wagner at the helm.
Although gaining promotion through the play offs, Huddersfield had been fighting for automatic promotion with Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion. Favourites to go straight back down again, and still with a very low budget, Huddersfield again stunned the bookies and survived their first season.
Webber left the John Smiths Stadium and moved to Carrow Road in 2017. At that time, the Canaries were struggling in the Championship. In the season he arrived, City finished 14th in the Championship. Webber had returned to Germany and persuaded another manager of Borussia Dortmund II to make the move to England.
Daniel Farke was brought in to manage Norwich although, as with Wagner, the title given was head coach. Once again, after a struggling first season, changes were seen and results were changing.
The Canaries improved substantially and were in the top three in the Championship and fighting for promotion. On a low budget, Norwich City managed to stay within reach of automatic promotion.
Just like his time with Huddersfield, Webber steered the club into the top flight. The route only slightly different, as no play offs were involved. Both clubs have relatively low budgets.
With Norwich securing promotion as the top team in the EFL Championship, the Canaries will also be favourites for instant relegation. Farke will want to try and repeat the Huddersfield example and get at least a full season in the top flight.
With this in mind, will Webber stay longer with Norwich than he did with the Huddersfield? Is the sporting director going to get addicted to promotion every couple of years? Will he need to move on from Norwich? Could he return to Huddersfield as they re-group and then look to make another assault on top-flight football?