Webber signs three-year contract extension at Norwich
Written by Simon Austin — September 19, 2019
NORWICH CITY Sporting Director Stuart Webber has signed a three-year contract extension that will keep him at the club until the summer of 2022.
The 35-year-old has been linked with several top clubs, including Manchester United, since masterminding the club's return to the Premier League last season.
He said: "I'm obviously thrilled to sign. I'm very grateful to be in this position at what is a special club [and] looking forward to overcoming the hurdles that await and continuing to build on what we've achieved so far.
"When we first sat down to talk about the new contract it took all of 10 minutes to sort out. It was a really simple and quick conversation. I'm fortunate to have a special relationship with Daniel (Farke), which is very much based on complete trust.
"I'm looking forward to another three years of working closely with him, as we attempt to achieve our objectives and targets. The players and staff have been amazing during my time with the club so far and we wouldn't be in this position without their hard work and commitment.
"I'm excited to see how far our current group of players and staff can go. It's important we don't stand still. We must now continue to strive to improve and better ourselves in all areas. Whether we're successful or not, win or lose, we must continue to be together."
Husband and wife Michael Wynn Jones and Delia Smith, the co-owners of the club, added: "The contract for Stuart was something we were extremely keen to finalise.
"We're absolutely thrilled at the job that Stuart has done. It has been an immense team effort from Daniel, the players and staff so far. Stuart has been amazing in being the real driving force behind our club philosophy and vision."
When Webber arrived at Norwich from Huddersfield in April 2017, he explained: “There's a real carte blanche to go and do it as I believe is right and you don't get many opportunities like that.”
The Welshman was ruthless, replacing every head of department bar analysis chief Lee Dunn within his first few months, while bringing in Daniel Farke as Head Coach from Borussia Dortmund reserves. The wage bill, which was £63m when he arrived, was slashed to £25m last season.
Webber explained: “It was, unfortunately, a failing group of players. So we came back to three things - employ someone who can implement a certain style of play, be open-minded in the transfer market and promote young players from within. In appointing the Head Coach, that person had to fit in with those three things.”
Norwich struggled in their first full season under Webber and Farke, finishing 14th in the Championship, but dominated in 2018/19, winning the league by five clear points.Speaking at TGG’s Youth Development Conference in June (video below), Webber insisted that the club’s approach would remain the same in the Premier League.
“We have to keep developing our young players, we have to keep making smart recruitment decisions, we have to keep developing our environment, our culture, our togetherness, our connection with the fans."
Last weekend they achieved their most eye-catching result of recent seasons, beating champions Manchester City 3-2 at Carrow Road.
Webber started his coaching badges at the age of 16, before becoming assistant head of youth at Wrexham. After that he moved on to Liverpool, where he became director of academy recruitment, QPR, where he was head of scouting, and Wolves, where he was head of recruitment.
He came to national attention at Huddersfield Town, where he was Head of Football Operations and played a key role in the hiring of little-known David Wagner as Head Coach.
Webber has enjoyed close relationships with the owners of both Huddersfield (Dean Hoyle) and Norwich (Delia Smith and Michael Wynn-Jones) and this was a key factor in his decision to remain at Carrow Road for a further three years.
He has previously said: “In my last two jobs I’ve worked for two of the best owners around. They let you get on with it, so long as you keep them up to date with what you’re doing.
“I look at some of my friends in the game who have owners who interfere and overrule them and think ‘how can you do your job?’”