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In Hindsight, was Sacking Daniel Farke the Correct Decision?

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Farke’s Time at Norwich

Just hours after Norwich City secured their first three points of the season, with a 2-1 win away to Brentford, the Norfolk based club made the decision to part company with German head coach Daniel Farke.

Though the timing of the decision seemed unorthodox, Sporting Director, Stuart Webber, has since released that the club had planned to sack Daniel Farke regardless of the result at Brentford and the decision was actually made the week before after a loss at home to fellow strugglers Leeds United.

Farke was held in the highest regard by most Norwich fans, as he led them to two EFL Championship titles, in 2018-19 and in 2020-21. Farke was the club's first-ever foreign coach and provided the canaries with several fantastic memories, some great attacking football, as well as a connection between the manager and fans that had not been seen at Carrow Road for decades.

In 2018-19, Farke's second full season in Norfolk, expectations were low after a 14th place finish under the German’s regime in their first season. That summer, Norwich sold their best player, James Maddison, and after a poor start to the season, with just one win in their first five games, questions were being asked by fans and pundits alike, regarding Farke's ability to manage at Championship level.

Norwich went on to win the league with 94 points, and new striker Teemu Pukki finished the season with 30 goals and was named EFL player of the year.

Farke’s only full season at Premier League level was somewhat of a disaster, as the club had their worst season in its history, and one of the worst-ever top-flight campaigns of any club throughout Premier League history.

However, Farke corrected his mistakes and followed up relegation with another Championship title, this time with 97 points. Though in Farke’s first top-flight season, he had a fair excuse as City spent less than £1m in the summer window, the 2021-22 summer transfer window, saw Norwich as the 11th highest spenders in Europe, with the likes of Milot Rashica and Pierre Lees Melou joining the club.

However, many signings failed to perform, and on the 7th of November 2021, the club announced that they had parted company with the German manager.

Premier League Tips

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Burnley, Norwich & Watford all to be relegated @ 1/2

Was Dean Smith the Right Choice?

Farke averaged less than 0.5 points per game across the 41 Premier League games he managed at NCFC, and though there are several factors that heavily influenced this shocking tally, such as awful injury problems, the project restart disaster, and lack of funding available to him, it truly was an incredibly poor record.

It was Farke's awful Premier League record that ultimately cost him his job, and when Dean Smith was appointed, Norwich had just five points from 11 games. Dean Smith has since accumulated 16 points from 20 games. There is no doubt, that had Norwich City started the season under Dean Smith, they would not find themselves with as poorer a record as they currently have, however, there is an argument to suggest that Smith has not quite had the impact many would have hoped and that perhaps Smith should have accumulated more than 16 points across the 20 fixtures he has been in charge of.

In hindsight, the correct decision would have been to sack Farke earlier in order to have a better chance of staying up, a target that looks almost impossible now, even after Norwich’s 2-0 win against relegation rivals Burnley last Sunday.

With Norwich effectively eight points from safety (actually 7 points behind Everton) due to their poor goal difference, with just seven games to go, it looks increasingly likely that the club will be playing their football in the second tier next season. If the club are relegated, ultimately replacing Farke with Smith has failed, but that doesn't mean sacking Farke was the wrong choice.

However, If you asked most Norwich fans who they would rather have as a manager in the 2022-23 Championship, should the club be relegated, many would say that Farke would give the club a better chance of promotion than his English replacement. His two championship titles, something Smith has never achieved, prove that Farke is undoubtedly the better manager at Championship level. Statistics would suggest that Farke is one of the Championship's greatest ever managers, as his two league titles, with 94 and 97 points respectively, portray.

Premier League Tips - Bottom 3 Exact Order

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Norwich Bottom, Watford 2nd, Burnley 3rd @ 13/8