Norwich City example shows patience could pay at Nottingham Forest

Daniel Farke celebrates with the Norwich players.
Daniel Farke celebrates with the Norwich players.

Nottingham Forest could benefit from the example set by Norwich City and their Championship-winning manager Daniel Farke.

The Reds laboured to a third victory on the bounce as they signed off the 2018/19 season with a 1-0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

Prior to the announcement of their starting line-up, it was anyone’s guess as to who the visitors would field at the City Ground.

The tongue-in-cheek suggestions circulating on social media ranged from the tea lady to the kit man as the troubled Trotters were forced to fulfil their final fixture.

However, a semi decent side strode out onto the pitch on Sunday and quashed the cricket score predictions in an instant.

No matter how you dress it up, the final day of a 46-game season will always be akin to a pre-season friendly. And it certainly panned out that way for the 27,578 inside the ground.

Remarkably, the Bolton fans only made up the last three digits of that figure, which is strange when you consider how long it may take for them to compete at this level again.

As the final whistle blew, signalling the end of the match and the season in its entirety, my thoughts digressed 50 miles south west of the City Ground to Villa Park in Birmingham. Norwich City had not only inflicted a first defeat in 13 games upon Aston Villa, but they had lifted the Championship trophy amid a wash of champagne and smoke in the process.

That’s when it dawned on me; the Yellows had gone from finishing 14th last season to be the division’s best this time out. Their rookie manager Daniel Farke was the subject of some hefty criticism last year, but the club persevered with him and reaped the rewards for doing so.

It wasn’t the fact that the German had failed to get anywhere near the play-offs in his first season at Carrow Road, the main bone of contention was the supposed style of football he was enforcing. I spoke to David Wroth, who’s been a Norwich City season ticket holder for over 30 years.

David had the following to say about the evolution of Daniel Farke and his footballing ethos over the past two years. “Here’s a reason why Forest should stick with their manager. Look at us, we finished 14th last season, spent very little in the summer and came first this season with the same manager.

“Daniel Farke was given time by the board to make great summer transfers like Teemu Pukki among others. More important in my humble opinion, he brought through academy players like Jamal Lewis and Max Aarons in particular, without whom we wouldn’t have won the league.

“Keep the faith, Forest fans, stick with Martin O’Neill and I’m sure you’ll be playing Premier League football (where you belong) very soon. Sacking managers every half season gets you nowhere in the Championship, look at my Suffolk friends Ipswich Town!

“Moral of the story, to be successful in any business, stability and togetherness is the key. And that is all that’s happened here with Daniel at Norwich City over the last year.”

Here is Farke’s record in his first season in charge of the Canaries - played 46, won 15, drawn 15 and lost 16. They finished in 14th position with a goal average of -11, which in today’s footballing world is too often deemed enough to warrant a P45.

Recently, when Forest lost four on the bounce and were playing poorly, I was unsure about O’Neill going forward. The reinstatement of certain players and the upturn in form again gave me hope for the summer.

However, having seen the example set by Norwich City, it convinced me to give our manager the same grace for the final season of his contract.