City boss Paul Lambert has revealed that while he’s not in the predictions business, the newly-promoted Canaries will give the Championship a damn good go next season.
Speaking at last night’s civic reception, where an estimated 20,000 supporters lined the streets of Norwich to celebrate winning the League One title, Lambert praised the Canary faithful for a wonderful turnout.
But now the partying is done and dusted, the focus is firmly on next year’s second tier charge. And the Scot is excited about the challenge that lies ahead.
“We can start to plan now. It is a tough league but we will do everything we can to get the lads ready for next season.
“Nothing is certain but I know the lads who are at this club will give me everything as they have proved this season. And that is the very reason why we are here tonight.
“If I knew what we’ll do next season, then I would do the lottery. You can never predict the future but what I did say is we will do all we can.
“We know it is going to be really difficult as we are stepping up another league but I would rather be there next season, that’s for sure. We have earned our right to be there and we will do everything we can [to be successful].”
While the scenes might not have been quite as spectacular as in 2004, when Norfolk was gearing up for a Premier League return, last night’s bus parade and reception was certainly a fitting way to end a wonderful campaign.
And the Norwich public certainly showed their appreciation by turning out in great numbers; a good time was had by all and Lambert, not for the first time, thanked them for their contribution.
“From the first game, the backing they gave me and the team was terrific,” continued the Canary chief. “Some people would have taken time off work tonight to come here and support the lads, like they have done home and away all season; they have been brilliant.
“We knew that if we could get the fans and players onside, we could do something. And both the supporters and fans deserve this.
“It is brilliant and I have told the lads to enjoy it. You don’t know when these moments come around again. I think everyone at this football club and in the city deserves this as it has been a tough few years for everyone, that’s for sure.
“It’s a chance to thank the fans and it gives the lads a chance to see what they have done. Everyone has been just brilliant since I arrived and we will do our best to do something next year.”
One face missing yesterday evening was midfield maestro Darel Russell and with the player out of contract this summer, speculation was rife on City messageboards after his absence.
But Lambert settled a few Canary nerves and revealed that he had given the former Norwich trainee permission to miss the event. He also hinted that Russell could be set to agree a new deal in the not too distant future.
“I gave him permission to miss it as he has a family reunion in America and he had spoken to me a couple of weeks ago; everything is OK on that front.”
“I have spoken to him about it [a new contract], he knows the situation and we will sit down again and have a chat. We are hopeful we can do something there.”
Don’t go too far away over the next few days as we’ll have plenty more interviews on MFW following last night’s promotion party on the streets of Norwich.