Soccer

Norwich, Sheffield on their way to EPL

05 May 2019 - 00:00 By The Daily Telegraph London


It had been 59 years since Norwich City last savoured promotion in front of their own fans, and as a nervy, narrow victory against Blackburn confirmed their restoration to the Premier League after a three-season absence, Carrow Road convulsed in euphoria.
"Farke's on a horse," the fans chanted, in reference to an episode when manager Daniel Farke had marked his farewell at his first club, SV Lippstadt, by riding into the stadium on horseback. Alas, the German did not oblige with a repeat performance, but the breadth of his smile at the final whistle conveyed how much this meant.
This was a precious occasion, even for a club of Norwich's standing. True, other promotions remained fresh in the memory: Paul Lambert's success in leading them from the third tier to the first, for example, or a play-off triumph at Wembley under Alex Neil.
But, somehow, Farke's class of 2018-19 have carved out a particular place in club folklore. From the vibrancy of their playing style to their manager's own cult of personality, they have embedded themselves in Norwich's hall of fame.
Norwich's latest elevation is faintly miraculous. They finished 14th in the Championship 12 months ago, until sporting director Stuart Webber turned eclectic recruitment into an art form.
Meanwhile, at Sheffield United, Chris Wilder, the manager who led the side to two promotions in three years, the story he used to inspire his team to believe was made by Eddie Howe in the somewhat more genteel environs of Bournemouth.
After Leeds United's draw with Aston Villa, the Blades' 2-0 victory over Ipswich Town in front of 30,000 fans at Bramall Lane last Saturday meant Wilder had emulated Howe in taking a team from League One to the Premier League in three seasons, and wingback George Baldock says it is more than coincidence.
Baldock, also from a lower league background at Milton Keynes Dons, was one of Wilder's first signings after winning the League One title in 2017. As United celebrated, he recalled his new boss citing Bournemouth as the model to aspire to.
"I remember in my first full season here the manager talked a lot about Bournemouth and how a lot of their players started with them in League Two and worked their way up," Baldock said.
"He would say to us 'listen, why can't we do a similar thing?' And If you look at the starting 11 today, there are a lot of players who have grown with the club. A lot of the lads are still here from the League One campaign. It has been everyone growing together and working together." 
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited 2019

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