Instead, as the magnificent travelling fans yelled themselves hoarse and the players dug in for the draw which was the very least their endeavour and enterprise deserved, there was an almost palpable sense of: “We’ll be all right!”
He contrived to guide Birmingham into the play-offs, but you can see why Norwich – stable, Premier League, well-run Norwich – present Hughton with an opportunity. It will be a change to work somewhere sane. The calm man, who has shown time and time again that he can steady a rocking ship, has arrived at a safe harbour…
I could blather on about “sources” or bury you in coded cliches, but instead I assert baldy that I know for an absolute fact that Lambert understood and accepted the need for Norwich to keep the spending brakes on for two more seasons….
Of course people who pay to watch Norwich have a right to boo. Even keyboard warriors who stay at home have a right to boo. But the real question is why would you want to? Why would you look for negatives at Norwich City now? It is like winning the Lottery and moaning that it wasn’t the Euro Millions…
I always rage at the moaners and the snipers who, even this season, can find something to make themselves miserable before they phone Radio Norfolk or log-in to message boards. Yet Lambert was less able to deal with the [Manchester United] defeat than any of them. You’ve got to love the guy.
The changed football landscape meant that clubs like Norwich could never again compete at the very top of the English game on equal terms. But, there are no other clubs exactly like Norwich, with fans who stay so loyal and so passionate in the third tier. Certainly there are no managers quite like Paul Lambert…
“People say staying up is success, and I can understand that and agree but I don’t want the players to think that is enough. I want to drive them on. Sir Alex Ferguson must have a bad back, from lifting trophies but he still wants more. So I want to be at that sharp end, where you can win things.”
Those who warned that he would need men with Premier League experience in the top division should think about the Sunderland defence who were so bemused and confused as Norwich City constructed that Barcelona-esque second goal against them…
I don’t expect anyone – not one person – to agree with this column, but if I only write populist stuff on this site, I’d there would be no point in contributing. You can get your fill of one-eyed jingoism on message boards….
De Laet will be one of the Premier League’s top performers this season. I saw enough of him in pre-season to be certain of that. He is a pro-active defender, blisteringly quick, intelligent and with a healthy hatred of ceding an inch.
“It will be extremely tough, we know that, and I’m not going to make a rash prediction but we are going to enjoy it and if we can stay in the league it will be incredible…” Lambert tells FourFourTwo Magazine.
I spoke to Worthy recently. He was full of praise for Lambert and genuinely full of hope and support for Norwich. But he believes that, if he had been allowed to buy Dean Ashton in the summer instead of in the January, City would have stayed up. The board, at that time, reasoned differently. They wanted funds in reserve for the January window.
The fact that Lambert’s City have never suffered back-to-back defeats is not a statistical anomaly or a happy co-incidence. And all those last-gasp goals were not a fluke or a freak. Lambert’s City bounce back from reverses and don’t know when they are beaten because of sort of players he signs and the positive changes he makes when a win is still possible.
In the five years I have contributed to this website I have tried to use my columns to address long-term, strategic issues. This time, indulge me. I need to write about one game: one moment in the long history of a famous club from a fine city. Strewth, it was magnificent…
I thought City’s display at Barnsley was a new high-point, because the team put in the hard yards to make their dominance total. But that marvellous manifestation of Lambert’s ethos was eclipsed by the splendour of what occurred at the Walkers.
It was not the sort of triumph that leads to an open-topped bus parade, but perhaps it should have been recognised by some sort of celebration, because at this year’s AGM chairman lan Bowkett admitted that, without that rescheduling: “We would not be standing here today…”
Our Scot has more tricks than Paul Daniels. In three decades of watching the best teams all over the world, I had never seen any coach use five different formations during one game until Lambert did it against Sheffield United…
The team spirit the pugnacious Scot has fostered and his tactical awareness have made it a joy to watch our team. In particular, his fondness for the use of attack-minded players in bold substitutions has cheered the soul and harvested the points.
Now, with Surman injured, Lappin is first choice. He cannot assume he will remain first pick. But, as he has demonstrated amply, he has the character and ability (and, yes athleticism) to prove people wrong.
It is a division in which the cliché about anyone being able to beat anyone else “on their day” is accurate. I think Bellamy will give Cardiff numerous good days, but I think Lambert and Holt will give us enough, as well.