Life Beyond The Men's 1st Team At Norwich City: Behind The Scenes
Norwich City are well known for their academy and being able to produce talents that go on to become superstars and with Norwich being deemed a “ Self-Sustainable club” means that in order for their senior team to be successful it is pivotal that every season they are bringing through youngsters into the 1st team.
The most important part of the academy is the U23 squad and team and these can be made up of a number of different players and each season they will play in Premier League 2 Division 2 which is like the championship version of academy football in England. This season the team managed to reach the play off semi finals but lost on penalties away to Wolves.
This season the U23 went from strength to strength they managed to pick up some impressive wins and also were lucky enough to gain vital experience at playing at Carrow Road in front of fans and also again at some of the bigger football stadiums in England. Here are some of the stats from across the season according to stats collected by Soccerstats.com says that in the 26 games that they played they averaged 1.50 points per game and at the end of the season was a stark difference with it being only 0.88 Points per game.
One thing that perhaps the U23 struggled with this season is when their top players such as Johnathan Rowe and Tom Dickson-Peters and a number of others got selected for the senior team it left the squad bare of goal scorers. This leaves the U23 having to go to the U18 to help fill the squads for all of their games.
I was lucky enough to attend one of the away games at Nottingham Forest and it was a quality game to watch proper end to end football showcasing the talent that academy football is producing. This season the new crop of U23 players will want to be progressing and get into division 1 which they came so close to getting there this season and with the addition of a few players they will hopefully develop the players as better people and players.
The academy is headed up by Steve Weaver who is head of football development so he works with both the U23 and U18 on the player development and how to make them better players on and off the pitch. Dean Wright heads up the football coaching side and he basically wants them to constantly try and develop those coaches and ensure they maintain the highest standards of coaching possible.
U23 Head coach is Alan Nielson and last year he was able to guide the U23 to the play off semi final for division 2. Also, was vital in the development and the pathway to help bring through the likes of Tony Springett, Jon Tomkinson and Liam Gibbs all of them have gone on to make a number of appearances in the senior team.
Lastly, one of the most important things for the clubs was ensure that the women's team who had been a separate entity to the club was now part of the club and they now offer support in a number of different ways with media and also the business side of the club and also of the back of the lionesses euro win the club will be wanting to capitalise on the interest now in the women's game.
Last season they very Narrowly avoided relegation with 1 game to spare and the team has been constantly getting better and better as they have been able to access very good facilities in The Nest and they beat AFC Wimbledon 1-0 in front of a massive home crowd to ensure they stayed in the National women league division 1 for this season.
They have recently announced 7 new signings to help boost their squad and also help develop the team in order to become better.
The first signing was Alice Parker who is only 20 year old and will come back to the Canaries after a short spell at Wroxham. Alice also was part of the club's player pathway and now she will hopefully be looking to get into the starting 11 and she will be very familiar to those who go to the games at The Nest.
The 2nd signing is central midfielder Rebecca Russel who has spent her time at Wymondham Town who was one of the best performing players in the team and also she played a pivtal part in help in Wymondham win the treble and as a reward she was awarded Wymondham Player of the season 2021/22.
Also, Norwich have then re-signed Hope Armstrong the goalkeeper who is returning from her spell at Wroxham and also Naomi Cooper who is a central defender that was part of the Wroxham defence had a number of decent performances.
Katie Knights also has signed recently from Wymondham Town who she played a lot of games with and has shown to be a very physical central midfielder who is not afraid of a tackle and also will help to be that link player between the defenders and attackers.
Also Norwich have signed a young prospect Olivia Cook who has signed from Waveney and she is very versatile and can cover any of the forward attacking positions she will be looking to establish herself in senior football.
The last signing of the season is Ceri Flye she is coming from fellow division 1 club Cambridge City and she will again be used to help bolster the defensive capabilities and also offer up another option for the coaching team to use.
Lastly, The Norwich Women's manager is Shaun Howes and he was very pleased with all of his signings and believed that they are now more than capable of staying in the division and now will be looking to progress through the league with the ultimate aim in the next couple of seasons.