Frank Lampard did well at Derby but was heavily reliant on bringing in players, like Mason Mount, who were well above the standard necessary for the Championship.
I recall the game where the floodlights failed, where City looked well set for the win but where Derby destroyed us after the restart. Credit that to Lampard. Derby got to the play-offs which is more than Daniel Farke achieved in his first season and he laid the foundations at Chelsea by establishing young players in an appropriate base formation that set the tone for Thomas Tuchel.
What concerns me about Lampard though is there is more evidence than not to suggest he needs better players than he’d have at Norwich to succeed in either the Championship or Premier League. Our squad is already imbalanced with an excessive amount of young players. Andy O and Kabak, Aarons, Gilmour, Mumba, Cantwell, Idah, Sargent, Rashica, Williams and Tzolis. Succinctly put, there is no spare room for swapping loan players and there certainly isn’t the budget for the players likely to be on his watchlist.
Through the spine of the team, I don’t think you can really improve Krul and Hanley and the more experienced midfielders, Rupp, McLean and Lees-Melou are at an age where they won’t improve technically or physically, and I believe Lampard’s midfield expectations and assumptions will be beyond them leaving only Gilmour and Normann as the only viable options.
Likewise, Pukki is at his limit and there is the conundrum around the best way to incorporate Tzolis, Cantwell and/or Rashica. And I don’t believe that Sargent and Idah are going to score at this level, not yet.
Lastly, with Lampard, I wonder how the senior players would respond to him. There have been a couple of articles written by regional sports writers and you sense awe from them around Lampard. That’s not necessarily a mindset that carries in the head of an experienced footballer, elder family men, who are paddling like mad just to stay afloat in this league.
Guys like Hanley work best running through brick walls for someone that inspires them – a trick Paul Lambert and Mike Walker nailed – and I personally think that the technically limited players will want a manager that will keep it simple.
Norwich isn’t a fashionable, trendy place. I doubt we’d see Lampard for long if he achieved any level of success.
For all those reasons, my first choice is Dean Smith.
I wanted a decisive move by Stuart Webber very early in the season before anyone else snapped up Eddie Howe. I also fancied, for different reasons, and depending on what Webber decided for his own future, Chris Wilder, but going further back, I wanted Dean Smith when he was at Brentford.
First off, someone bitten will want to right the wrongs. He was poorly treated at Villa given his achievements, and such actions are likely to make him, potentially, the most loyal of all the candidates.
Keep Norwich up, he won’t be going anywhere. Bigger club knocks on his door? No thanks.
Norwich City FC offers loyalty and trust you just don’t get anywhere else. Losing five on the bounce is a lesson learnt as a coach on someone else’s account.
In terms of personnel, Cantwell isn’t dissimilar in style to Jack Grealish. Todd carries the ball, something we’ve lacked this season, and something that is fundamental to Smith’s preferred setup.
Pukki is a similar striker to Ollie Watkins, where movement is nine-tenths, and it was reported that Villa were previously looking at Rashica. In addition, Smith has great contacts in the game with more senior players in positions in which we are bereft, such as Connor Hourihane in central midfield.
He made Tyrone Mings into a great player and made a bang-average Villa into a team that survived promotion, albeit admittedly with a bigger budget. But his work at Brentford and his overseeing of the Villa academy are both significant achievements.
But it’s his experience and his attitude that I really like. He’s rarely seemed flustered, he’s realistic, which will be very important at City, but he appears capable of motivating people.
Smith is clearly respected by professionals regardless of age and experience, and looking forward, as Norwich approach a period of rebuilding, the elder, more experienced players may benefit from having such a personality at the helm.
With Smith, very simply, he knows our players, he knows their limits, he can apply a template and he would hit the ground running. He’ll draw players in the transfer window and he’s proven in the Championship. But with 3-4-1-2 or similar, that’s what he likes and that’s what suits us.
With regard to Kjetil Knutsen, well I know nothing about him. If he was an appointment in the summer, it would be understandable but to risk a language barrier coupled with a manager with neither experience of the Premier League or of training this calibre of player, at this stage of a season, would seem like a huge risk.
If this team gets pummelled for the next 5-6 months and relegated by February, as looks likely, then I think any manager will look like a lemon by the summer. I would understand a short-term interim for the rest of this season and to “go again” in the summer, but to ask a manager to rebuild an imbalanced squad after a horrendous relegation would be a big ask.
I think Smith offers the best chance of survival, the most reliable source of promotion, and is the least risk. He’s certainly the one I think could galvanize and encourage this squad.
Sorry but Dean Smith has just been sacked by Villa after a dreadful run of results with arguably much better players than we have. If Villa think that he isn’t going to keep them up why on earth would we even contemplate thinking he could us.
Quite frankly I will be livid if he is unveiled as our new boss but certainly not surprised !
If this was the summer, I’d want KK all day long.
When the coaches have a day off, I guarantee Lampard will be on the A11 to London with days out on a yacht on billionaires row on the South Coast. Smith will be taking his family out to Holkham.
This club needs a manager that will invest his future and his family in Norfolk.
Look at the comments by Villa fans. The majority seem to be gutted he has left. For all the reasons stated in the article he has more credentials than Frank Lampard.
Just look at why Smith was sacked , 5 defeats on the spin. thats 5. The trouble when big owners pump vast sums into a club they demand instant success. What would have happened to Farke. with 10 games, 20 if you look back ?.
Smith in my view had earned the chance to carry on for a few more games given his past history.
Watford change their managers as almost as people change their socks. Does make those guys poor? Ranieri will probably end with the same fate.
Seeing as his name has been linked, look at Hasenhüttl, he had an indifferent start at St Mary’s incluing a 9-0 thumping, then a season or two later they suffered another 9-0. Southampton were in their rights to kick him out, but they stuck with him.
Whereas Lampard has walked into two jobs because he was a name, no real experience of managing a group of players, backroom staff, the media , etc. Derby supporters have publically said he relied on loan players from Chelsea, when he and they left they were in trouble. I do not knowwhat part he played in Derby’sfinancial troubles , if he even did. I feel Derby lost some of their identity with him at the helm. it was never Derby County it was alway pre tagged with his name. As soon as a larger club shows interest Frankie boy will jump ship believe me.
I cannot really comment on Knutsen as not followed his path, but his style of play is akin to what we have had with a stronger defence, 6 past the special one isn’t to be ignored, I believe they got a draw in Italy to prove there was no fluke.
For sheer experience we need Smith. if not Knutsen I would put Lamperd in last spot
Mystic kev says
Yes good players half of them injured ring any bells?
Norman Feek says
Smith over lampard every day for me
martin penney says
It’s actually possible for me to agree with both Smiffy and Norman in so much as I’d go for Smith over Lampard but for Knutsen over both of them 🙂
Midfield Mike says
Mate, I would love KK.
I just think the biggest thing SW needs to base this decision on is they’ve blown their load on players already, and therefore any manager will need his tactical template to fit the players already here. KK will need a CDM for his setup. PLM doesn’t have the running stamina, does `Gilmour? We don’t have any goal scorers other than Pukki and a shoddy defence and none-existant midfield. Not sure we can reinvent this wheel,
And that’s the second biggest thing SW needs to worry about. We could be staring down a 5-6 month long pummelling and the psychological consequences of that, for a newly installed manager, is a frightening proposition. Relegation is possible by February with the wrong appointment. We need to be damned sure that the new coach would be capable of bouncing from that and not deferring to other offers. I think Smith would buy into the loyalty here.
Alex B says
I just wonder why Fat Frank hasn’t got a position long before now if he is such a good coach.
Derby fans say he took a team that finished 6th the previous season to finish 6th in his only season there and lost out to Dean Smith in the playoff final.
As I paper announced yesterday his worth is 3 times that of the Smith’s and his only motivation would be to hopefully look good for a bigger club.
His new number 2 would be is compensation could be agreed a Chelsea first team coach named Edwards who is trusted by Tuchel so that could be a no go.
It is also mentioned that he would like to bring in some of the youth players from Chelsea that are out of contract this summer maybe during January on the cheap.
All this speculation in the press real blows cold air up the nether regions to the promise from Webber saying that he had a list of potential managers ready to fill in as and when needed to carry on the style of the club.
Tim Ball says
I too wanted Dean Smith when he was at Brentford if we lost Daniel Farke for any reason Mike.
For a start I am astonished that Frank Lampard is even considering coming here.
He did a good job at Derby and I felt he was unlucky at Chelsea, lets be honest they only spent money after he was gone. Even Tuchell lavishes him with praise with how good a place he left the team in.
I would have thought he would only consider a club with spending power. It is a hell of a risk for brand Lampard getting stuffed every week here.
I do think he will get the best out of the youngsters. But will he and Stuart Webber get on ? they are both strong personalities and how much input will Frank want in the new signings coming in.
Dean Smith comes in after doing an excellent job at Aston Villa pre the Grealish move.
He also played brilliant football at Brentford, he seems like a man who knows his stuff and I can see him improving the younger players.
Finally Knutsen. He to me would be more tuned in to the way we work as a football club. Little money and more emphasis on the training pitch to improve players.
His record 6-1 beating of Mourinho’s Roma shows what he can do.
All three carry risks, but then doesn’t any appointment. Personally I would have gone for KK as he fits the supposed Norwich model.
But I think any of the three would be exciting and whoever is given the job we must get behind them and give them every chance to succeed.
Kev O'C says
I will find it very, very difficult to maintain enthusiasm if we get Lampard. A man with elitist political views who has always been surrounded by privilege, and who was happy to be paid a fortune in ‘dodgy money’ at Chelsea, does not seem anywhere near the right fit for our club or our city.
“Elitist political views” I.e votes for the centre right party? Strange comment.
Keith B says
Whoever comes in has to play at least 10 games with the current squad. Unless Webber has already written this season off (in which case why sack a man who’s twice won the Championship?) that means it must be someone with a track record of improving an existing squad quickly.
Smith has that record, so of course does Roy Hodgson at Palace a few years back. Lampard doesn’t.
For me the ideal set up would be to give Roy Hodgson a contract to the end of the season and strike a deal with Kjetil Knutsen to take over in May whatever happens. But failing that it’s Dean Smith.
Incidentally, anyone else think Villa may have stuffed up good and proper? Smith wasn’t looking like taking them towards West Ham and Leicester territory, but I don’t believe he was taking them down either. Gerrard only has experience of winning a two-horse race – and given that most of the time the opposing jockey was Neil Lennon that’s not saying much. My hunch is that he will turn out to be another Brian Robson. He’ll probably survive this season, but it won’t surprise me if they head south sooner rather than later.
“For me the ideal set up would be to give Roy Hodgson a contract to the end of the season and strike a deal with Kjetil Knutsen to take over in May whatever happens. But failing that it’s Dean Smith.“
I’ve thought that is the ideal solution. The only reason I’ve not mentioned it is because SW isn’t going that way…. And I don’t think KK would swap European competition for the Chump under that arrangement so it would likely be a different name.
Mystic kev says
If we get lampard it will lampard v gerrand when we play villa soon not Norwich v villa media think there bigger than the clubs it stinks bring on the Norwegian or has Webber thrown us some red herrings ?
Chris S says
My worry with a Lampard appointment is that the club’s narrative would be no longer be about Norwich City but about Frank Lampard. And I suspect he would not be grateful to be here and fully commit (like Farke) but be waiting almost from Day 1 to move somewhere more ‘glamorous’.
A Smith appointment wouldn’t have that baggage.
Why do you feel the need to bring his politics into it?
My politics are the polar opposite of Delia’s but I don’t judge her on that I judge her on the way she runs the club, ergo judge the man on football matters his personal opinions shouldn’t matter.
What exactly is the ‘right fit’ for ‘our club and our City’, am I not fit to support Norwich because of my political views??
Top comment. Delia and even Ed Balls/ Stephen Fry, in much more limited roles, did well for our club, wouldn’t necessarily vote the same way as them though!
😂😂 some would,only be happy with Leon Trotsky, providing we remove the ice pick.
Sky Sports: Smith interviewed, was impressive, boasting an in-depth knowledge of the squad, putting forward a clear playing style and culture. That’s more precise details than any other rumour so far
My worst fear was that we left it at least a month too late and therefore: Smith is abroad and needs convincing to take the job, according to reports by Friday morning. Maybe we are too far adrift already.
We’ll see…. But a great aside is the diversity of our supporters.
Chris on TNC has just been on Sky Sports lauding Lampard and it seems the younger fans deem Lampard has saviour. I just don’t see such a fashion conscious “brand’” (not my words but i get it) would be happy with the Prince of Wales Rd….. tactically Chris heralds Gilmour and Cantwell (then Tzolis left and Rashica right) and presumably Normann too. I worry at these thoughts because it basically imposes 1 or 2 formations, namely 4-2-3-1 with Gilmour and Normann sitting. I just haven’t seen any chemistry in any areas of the pitch except the improving 3 CBs. It’s such a lightweight concept. Those names are BEFORE Lampard would bring in his preferred (and better) players from Chelsea reserves, further alienating the likes of Sorensen or Idah etc etc etc. It’s those possibilities that the younger generation seem to rightfully ignore over the thought processes of the elder fans.
I wonder if Lampard knows enough about Pukki that if you push him wide he’ll drag shots, especially on his left foot….. or does Lampard know that a high press tailored so the last ball back to Krul puts him on his left angled cross field…. That you win the lofted ball towards back with an aerial challenge on Aarons…. Because my bet is Smith does know this stuff, hence “boasting an in-depth knowledge of the squad, putting forward a clear playing style and culture.”
I just think it’s great we’ve got such diverse opinions about this and regardless of all, initial excitement at the very least!
Catton canary says
Smith and Villa managed to finish far behind NCFC in our promotion season with infinitely better resources. How can he possibly be an upgrade on DF? I would be absolutely gutted if Smith is our choice.
Dean Smith sounds like a good choice to me, its going to take some work, and trading on a smaller budget than some are used to.
I don’t think Frank Lampard would have been the right fit, was a great player, needs to spend a couple of seasons or so at a Championship club learning the trade thoroughly.