Norwich want 'clarity and class' from Leeds over Spygate
Written by Connor Southwell — February 5, 2019
NORWICH CITY Sporting Director Stuart Webber says he is hoping for “real clarity” from Leeds United about the extent of their spying - and for them to “show a bit of class” and apologise for their actions.
The Canaries, who lead the Championship table on goal difference from Leeds, are one of 11 clubs to sign a letter sent to the EFL asking a list of questions about ‘Spygate’.
That incident happened last month and involved a member of Leeds' staff being caught spying at Derby County’s training ground ahead of the league game between the teams on January 11th. On Friday, the EFL announced that its investigation into the matter remained ongoing, as "there remain a number of areas that require further exploration and clarification."
In an exclusive interview with MyFootballWriter on Thursday, before Norwich beat Leeds 3-1 at Elland Road on Saturday, Webber said: “If what they’ve admitted, live on TV, is it, is there a problem? Absolutely not.
“You can come and watch us every day in training if you want, you’re not going to learn anything that will help you on a Saturday. Daniel (Farke) doesn’t line up the starting XI or stand there for four hours doing set pieces. You’d end up in our hedge getting a load of splinters up your arse.
“Do we believe there should be a points deduction? No. If that’s all they’ve done I don’t think it should even be a fine. What we do want is real clarity. They say they’ve done it to every club, so we want to know what did you do at our club?
“What if they paid a member of staff for information? What if they pretended to be a workman on site and were stood in your facilities? What if they’ve tried to contact players who weren’t playing for information?
“What if this does run deeper? If you’re willing to go with bolt cutters to a training ground the day before a game and notice that Harry Wilson isn’t playing at Derby, how do we know it doesn’t stop there?
“It’s like admitting you stole a Mars bar from the shop. Was it just a Mars bar? Because (it could be that) we also had a Snickers missing, a Twix missing and someone’s purse got nicked. It leaves bigger questions. What if it’s deeper than that?”
Webber said the argument - put forward by Leeds boss Marcelo Bielsa himself - that such actions are acceptable in other footballing cultures did not hold water.
“What I also don’t get is when people say, ‘culturally they wouldn’t know that’s not right’,” Webber said. “In certain cultures it’s alright to have two or three wives, but the minute you step in this country you know that’s not right.
“Surely the Leeds staff is not just full of Argentinians and there are people who’ve worked in this country - the Sporting Director (Victor Orta) was at Middlesbrough - who can say, ‘you can’t do that here mate’.
“Leeds is one of the greatest clubs in our country. People who run that club know what’s right and what’s wrong. We’ve not heard from them, which again has probably surprised us.
“There is a way a football club should behave and to come out and be so blasé about that in an interview, live on Sky, if we did that I’d probably pick up the phone to the clubs the next day and say sorry about that we’re going to fully co-operate.
“Hopefully at the end of it Leeds will show a bit of class as a club and go ‘you know what, we got that wrong and to the other 23 clubs who have been affected we apologise that you got dragged into it’.
"For us, it’s not great that he does that interview and the next day Daniel (Farke) does his press conference and the first 20 questions are about Spygate."
A day after the EFL opened its investigation into Spygate, Bielsa held a press conference at Elland Road in which he revealed his match analysis for the Derby game. It wowed many of the journalists present - but Webber said it was standard fare for a top football club.
“(Preston manager) Alex Neil said it - all 23 other clubs could do the same presentation,” Webber said. “We’ve been doing that for 10 years. It’s not revolutionary to do - with the greatest of respect - match analysis.”
And he countered fans who had cited Norwich painting their away dressing room pink as another example of underhand tactics.
“It’s our dressing room. If we want to paint the wall that’s our prerogative. That’s a completely flawed argument.”