He brought the pride back to Carrow Road after the relegation to League One and that 7-1 horror show against Colchester. It’s been some ride and that’s how we should remember Paul Lambert – for bringing the good times back to Norfolk.
Despite the fact that many aren’t playing regular first-team football, the Under-21 squad is littered with Premier League names and not one of the outfield players in the group for Friday’s European Championship play-off is contracted to a Football League club.
Transfer deadline day, where the Sky Sports News crew look like they’re about to have kittens when their ‘sources’ reveal that Rochdale are about to sign someone on a Bosman, has a feel of desperation about it if you ask me.
With tomorrow’s first showpiece friendly on the horizon with Newcastle United coming to town, you would expect the City boss to start testing out his preferred team, injuries permitting. With seven additions to the squad this summer, the Scot has plenty of options.
Now I can understand why Askou couldn’t force his way back in; after all, Messrs Doherty and Nelson were performing well, with Zak Whitbread waiting in the wings. But for me, he’d be a decent bet even in the Championship – the lad can play.
After the additions of Elliott Ward, Andrew Crofts, Steve Smith, Andrew Surman and David Fox, the defence and midfield numbers will give Lambert plenty of options come August 6 and that Friday night TV date with Malky Mackay’s Hornets.
While, for me, Paul Lambert has the been the single most important factor in driving City back to the Championship, most of these ‘awards’ are for the players, who have also been a credit to the football club in 2009/10.
Delia Smith, Michael Wynn Jones and Michael Foulger continue, much to their credit, to put their money where their mouth is and the business acumen of the board’s newest recruits means that Norwich City appears to be in safe hands, despite the financial crisis currently engulfing football.
For me, there are three stand-out contenders and a host of others who could also be in the running. And the fact that there are so many worthy candidates shows how well the Canaries have performed in 2009/10.
The bravery in his decision making has been one of the standout qualities so far and the match that shines brightest in the memory is that 1-0 win over Brentford. With Grant Holt sent off just before the break, the Canaries boss opted for a 3-4-2 formation; the rest, as they say, is history.
It’s fair to say that by the 28th, with those three promotion showdowns done and dusted, we should have a fair idea of whether City will be as good as up, or fighting hard with a host of other teams for those coveted two spots.
Millwall look a racing certainly for the play-offs at least and as many predicted, they are having an extremely strong second half of the season, so there is no shame in losing at the New Den.
It’s not just the turnaround that has been remarkable – doesn’t that 7-1 defeat to Colchester seem an age ago? – it’s the speed at which Paul Lambert has transformed Norwich from a club in crisis into promotion favourites in a matter of months.
It’s Millwall next up for City on Boxing Day and another chance to rack up another three points and an eighth successive home win. The Londoners will, however, be in good spirits after earning a 4-4 draw at The Valley and I expect Kenny Jackett’s men to be strong during the second half of the season.
They would have had no problem selling 3,000 tickets – which is what Leeds got I’m told – for League One’s East Anglian derby, but obviously that is now not going to be the case.
Paul Lambert admitted that ‘the fans would probably burn the place down’ if he was a sell a prized asset and even though the red tops will have a snippet or two containing the words Holt or Hoolahan, both players seem happy to stay in Norfolk.
It’s the automatic promotion places which will be concerning the Canary nation – and if they keep heading north at the current rate, Norfolk may well be celebrating a return to the Championship at the first time of asking.
“His [Russell’s] fitness is certainly not up to speed yet but he can play the game. If he starts, we don’t know how long we’ll get out of him or how long his injury will last so it is a risk. But we’ve not got too many options at the minute.” TOM HAYLETT reports.
A lot has already been said on the matter since West Ham and Millwall's 'supporters' decided to lock horns last night in what was a worrying throwback to the 80s.
But at times like this, you always wonder whether football has the potential to slip back into the dark ages, where scenes like last night's in East London were commonplace.
The clubs � and the FA to be fair � have put a hell of a lot of work in since the late 70s and early 80s. CCTV ensures …
To claim or not to claim? That is the question on many Canary fans' lips this week as the club made a heartfelt plea for supporters to pump their season ticket rebate back into the club.
There will always be two sides to this argument. And, at the end of the day, no one is right and no one is wrong. It is up to the individual. But the club have to be careful.
In my opinion, they shouldn't even be asking fans not to claim their rebate. If a fan decides not to …