Norwich City grabbed promotion to the Premier League for the third time in a decade this season, very much asserting themselves as a yo-yo club in the process.
Norwich, who enjoyed their best ever finish in the top flight during the first year of the Premier League, surprisingly won the Championship despite not being tipped at the beginning of the season.
Manager Daniel Farke has built a robust side, slick on the ball but effective without it. Having lost James Maddison last summer, it was widely believed they’d struggle to become a force in the Championship, but stormed to the title clinching it on the final day.
The fact they beat Aston Villa, the division’s form side, on the final day will give them some hope of being amongst the favourites to simply avoid the drop in next season’s Premier League betting.
There’s no reason why they should be immediately relegated. This year two of the promoted sides came straight back down, along with Huddersfield who went up two years ago, but Wolves have established themselves as a top ten side. They’ve had money to spend, but Farke will hope to stay up with know-how.
Norwich are no strangers to the level and in Farke they have the ‘new breed’ of German manager looking to influence the English game. David Wagner got Huddersfield promoted, Daniel Stendel has impressed at Barnsley and in Farke, Norwich have a new saviour.
His signings have been excellent, low key but effective. Tim Trybull has been the beating heart of the side, whilst former Celtic striker Teemu Pukki defied all expectation to finish as the division’s leading scorer. Pukki struggled in the SPFL with the Hoops and wasn’t seen as a big signing when he arrived in the summer, but he’s kept former £10m man Jordan Rhodes out of the limelight.
The ability to bring through real talent has also helped at Carrow Road. Whilst the Murphy twins moved on to pastures new and Maddison soon followed, their remaining youngsters have been incredible. Max Aarons, in his first full season as a first team player, has really caught the eye. Ben Godfrey, on loan with Shrewsbury last season, is already a target for big clubs this summer.
There’s a big jump from the second tier to the top flight and perhaps an insistence on sticking with the same philosophy might come back to haunt them. There are no prizes for playing good football and Watford have proven being tough to beat is a viable route to establishing yourselves, but that’s not Daniel Farke’s way.
If they’re going to become a Premier League club for longer than three seasons, their current record run, then they’ll need a plan B. They’ll need a more defensive approach at times.
However, if they turn on the Norwich style against teams outside the big six, then there’s every chance that they might be significantly better than Wagner’s Huddersfield and become a top ten side.
They’ve got the players, the momentum and the manager. All they need now is savvy tactics and a flexible approach and they could well break their twenty years cycle of flitting between the two divisions.