Paul Lambert will tackle the Premier League with the same bold credo that carried Norwich City on their swashbuckling way to two consecutive promotions.
Our manager has summed up his beliefs in a seven-word mission statement.
“We have to try and win games.”
So, even in the billionaire’s playground that is English football’s highest division, Lambert’s Norwich will still be seeking those heart-stopping, soul-lifting last gasp goals that brought so many extra points in the last two seasons.
In an engrossing interview in the August edition of FourFourTwo magazine, Lambert says: “My ethos has always remained the same, whatever resources I’ve had available. I’ve always demanded good fitness levels and professionalism and have always tried to produce good footballing sides.
“Now we’re in the Premier League, I don’t think that philosophy will change. At least we come into the division with a winning mentality.
“We never came out of the top six for most of last season, so it was a case of hanging in there for as long as we could. When we first came up, we just wanted to stabilise the club in the Championship as part of a seven-year plan: three years in the Championship, go up, maybe go down again, go back up … and now all of a sudden that’s been blown out of the water. “
Whether that winning mentality continues, I don’t know, but we have to try and win games.
“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.
“We have a really good spirit here at the minute and we will give it our best shot.”
And Lambert elaborated on the policy with which he is recruiting troops for the assault on the Premier League – by explaining how he picked the men who carried City up two divisions.
“I’ve signed players I know because I can trust them. I know what I’m going to gt from them because I’ve seen them at close quarters. If you get hunger and desire in a footballer and they’ve got a bit of ability, it takes you a long way.
“You can’t play the game without it, you really can’t. Now we’re in the Premier League we’ve got to look at (doing) that again.”
I am not going to nick any more of the FourFourTwo interview.
The team who put it together deserve you to go and buy the magazine, but our man gives a very revealing glimpse of himself studying for his coaching badges in Germany, when he got all the literature translated into English so that he could sit alone in his hotel at night, studying.
Oh, all right, I’ll pinch one more quote.
FourFourTwo make the inevitable Alan Partridge reference, but Lambert counters with this tribute to the Yellow Army: “People might have this perception that the area is quiet and calm, but believe me, the fans are as passionate as any and they want to see their team win.
“That generates its own pressure but I make no apologies for it; I’d rather have that kind of pressure and support than not have it. The fans were fantastic last season – brilliant. Away from home they were unbelievable.”
Yes, we were Paul. But so were your team and so was their attitude. Good to confirm that you don’t intend to change it.
It is a bitter blow that chief scout Ewan Chester is leaving Carrow Road.
I know his reputation and saw the jubilation behind the scenes when he arrived just over a year ago.
He first worked as a scout at Glasgow Rangers when Graeme Souness was manager and splashing the cash to attract the best available Englishmen to Ibrox (including City goalkeeper Chris Woods).
Then Chester had a spell as chief scout at Livingstone but, by my calculations, had moved on again before Lambert began his managerial career at that club (with very little success!).
But it was where Chester moved to which was significant. He went to Fulham where he accepted the invitation of the chief executive to completely revamp the London club’s entire scouting network.
That chief exec was David McNally.
Chester returned to Ibrox in 2007 and the Norwich board considered it a major coup when they lured him to East Anglia last May.
He played a major role, in tandem with Lambert, in identifying the hungry young wannabes who arrived last summer, in January and on loan – and, depressing though it is to have lost Chester to Chelsea now, it is gratifying that he agreed to stay at Norwich until the end of this transfer window.
I would also expect the revamp he completed of City’s recruitment system to continue to bear fruit. Nearly all subsidiary football scouts are part-time and many work for more than one club.
Chelsea and Norwich are not likely to be fishing in the same ponds and so, even if some of Chester’s guys agree to work for him in his new role, I’d expect them to continue with Norwich as well.
My wife was a season-ticket holder at Carrow Road before I met her more years ago than either of us can believe and she can be a disgrace, frankly, at football matches.
But she had a magnificently phlegmatic response to the publication of the new season’s Premier League fixtures which is worth sharing.
Son Two and I got childishly excited and were exchanging texts about the start of the campaign (not too bad), the finish (pretty daunting), difficult months (nine of them) and so on.
Mrs D was so unmoved that I chided her.
She replied: “I think you’ll find that we have to play everyone else twice.”
Indeed we do. I think we’ll stay up. I honestly do. But if there are dodgy spells or, more importantly, when there are runs of good results, I shall try to remember her words.
I was going to parachute jump for the Norwich City Community Sports Foundation next month, and had intended to ask some of you to sponsor me, but I failed the MOT.
My doctor looked at my medical notes and my date of birth and shook his head.
So, like City, I won’t be going down.