As Dean Smith begins his first full season in charge at Norwich City, MFW regular Alex Bain thought this would be a fine time to cast his eye over all the managers he can personally recall at Carrow Road, a journey which recollects some 60 years! ***
So, take it from the top, Alex.
Archie Macaulay: 1957-61. 224 games with a 46.7% win rate. His obvious high spot was the 1959 FA Cup run. In 1960 he led City to a third-place finish in the old Division Three.
Willie Reid: 1961-62. 31 games with a 41.9% win rate. He won the 1962 League Cup Final over two legs against Rochdale, before leaving to return to Scotland and his family.
George Swindin: 1962. 20 games and a 50% win rate. He had lost his previous manager’s job at Arsenal as their Chairman wasn’t happy due to Spurs’ Double that season.
Ron Ashman: 1962-66. 162 games with a 36.4% win rate. Ashman played 662 games for Norwich City, scoring 56 goals. 592 of those games were league appearances, which was a club record at the time.
Lol Morgan: 1966-69. 127 games and a 35.4% win rate. After a playing career at Huddersfield and Rotherham, he became player/manager at Darlington before replacing Ashman.
Ron Saunders: 1969-73. 221 games with a 38% win rate. In 1972 City became Second Division Champions and he led us to the 1973 League Cup Final. He resigned on 17 November 1973 following a boardroom row after a 3-1 home defeat to Everton.
John Bond: 1973-80. 340 games and a 35% win rate. 1973-74 saw us Second Division runners-up and promoted and in 1975 we were again losing finalists in the League Cup. Bond was the first manager who brought an attacking style to City.
Ken Brown: 1980-87. 367 games with a 40.9% win rate. His 1985 League Cup Winners also relegated but in 1986 City were again Second Division Champions and promoted.
The next season back in the top flight saw Brown lead his side to fifth place, then Norwich’s highest ever final position. They even topped the League during the first half of the season and proved to be the hardest side to beat in the First Division alongside champions Everton. [Ken is a proper gent in real life – sub-editor Martin P]
Dave Stringer: 1987-92. 229 games and a 38.9% win rate. He saved Norwich from relegation in 1987, and in his first full season of 1988–89 Norwich emerged as an unlikely contender for the League title and FA Cup. We finished fourth in the league and reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup. Norwich reached another FA Cup semi-final in 1992 and narrowly avoided relegation that season.
Mike Walker: 1992-94. 80 games with a healthy 45% win rate. He gave Norwich their highest-ever league finish in the new FA Premier League where they finished third and qualified for the 1993-94 UEFA Cup – the first time they had qualified for European competition and achieved that famous two-legged win against Bayern Munich. [Another nice guy with always time for a quick friendly word – Martin].
John Deehan: 1994-95. 58 games and a 22.4% win rate. Deehan stepped down as manager and handed the reins to his assistant Gary Megson but City were still relegated.
Martin O’Neill: 1995. 26 games with a 46% win rate. O’Neill became manager of Norwich City in June 1995 and left the club in December due to differences with club chairman Robert Chase over the denied signing of striker Dean Windass.
Gary Megson: 1995-96. 27 games and a record low of an 18.5% win rate. Took over following the departure of Martin O’Neill to Leicester City. Norwich finished 15th in Division One that season and Megson then left the club as Mike Walker returned as manager.
Mike Walker reprised: 1996-98. 98 games with a 32.4% win rate. After two years and no promotion, he was relieved of his position. [Not without some behind-the-scenes controversy – Martin].
Bruce Rioch: 1998-2000. 93 games and a 32.5% win rate. He cited a perceived lack of ambition at the club as the main reason for his decision to resign. [Can’t think where Bruce got that idea from – Martin].
Bryan Hamilton: 2000. 35 games with a 28.6% win rate. In April 2000 he was appointed manager of Norwich City but resigned on December 4. He returned to Ipswich as a coach in 2001.
Nigel Worthington: 2000-06. 280 games and a 40.8% win rate. Made the 2002 First Division play-off Final, but City lost to Birmingham City in a penalty shoot-out. 2004: Second Division champions but relegated after a single season.
In his third full season in charge, 2003-04, Worthington took Norwich into the Premier League after winning the First Division with a club record 94 points. With one match remaining in 2004-05, Norwich were one point above the relegation zone but after a 6-0 defeat at Fulham, were relegated.
Peter Grant: 2006-07. 53 games with a 34% win rate. Known as “Peter the Pointer”, Grant was never really popular with the Carrow Road faithful and failed to last the season out. A loss to the boys down the A140 didn’t help his cause.
Glenn Roeder: 2007-09. 65 games and a 30% win rate. He saved City from relegation in his first season but was sacked after losing to Charlton. [Not one to endear himself to the supporters, particularly at an infamous AGM – Martin].
Bryan Gunn: 2009. 21 games with a 28.6% win rate. Gunny saw us relegated to League One. Gunn was influenced in his management philosophy by Mike Walker. Himself a former goalkeeper, Walker believed – contrary to popular opinion – that goalkeepers can make good managers because their excellent view of the game enables them to develop a good tactical awareness. Whoops!
Paul Lambert: 2009-12. 142 games and a very healthy 49.3% win rate. 2010 League One Champions and 2011 Championship runners-up and promoted.
Following Norwich’s survival in the Premier League in the 2011-12 season, Lambert offered his resignation on 31 May 2012, but the club rejected it. [That didn’t stop him quitting for Villa, ironically in the last game of the season when their fans were singing only one Paul Lambert as well as ourselves – Martin].
Chris Hughton: 2012-14. 82 games with a 29.2% win rate. At the end of the 2011-12 season, Birmingham gave Norwich City permission to talk to Hughton about their vacant managerial post, and he signed for the Canaries on 7 June 2012.
On 6 April 2014, Norwich announced they had “parted company” with Hughton with immediate effect. At the time of his departure, Norwich were 17th in the Premier League, one place and five points above the relegation zone.
Neil Adams: 2014-15. 32 games and a 34.3% win rate. On 22 May 2014, the popular Adams was appointed permanent manager of Norwich City, signing a three-year contract. Adams resigned from his position on 5 January 2015.
Alex Neil: 2015-17. 108 games with a respectable 41.7% win rate. In 2015 City were play-off winners against Middlesbrough at Wembley and promoted to the PL, but relegated after one season. Neil was dismissed after a poor run in the EFL Championship.
Daniel Farke: 2017-21. 193 games and a 43.5% win rate. Establishing us as a yo-yo club, nobody needs to be reminded of the timescale of his achievements, disappointments and huge displays of dignity in the face of adversity.
On 6 November last year, the day his team recorded their first league win of the season with a 2-1 away victory over Brentford, Farke was sacked after the game and replaced by former Aston Villa head coach Dean Smith on 15 November 2021. [Some of us have lived to regret Daniel’s departure even now – Martin].
*** David Williams, Ian Butterworth, Jim Duffy, Martin Hunter, Alan Irvine, Gary Megson, John Faulkner and Paul Franklin all served as caretaker managers during this period.
I remember all those, too, Alex. Nice bit of work!
My favourites were Macauley, Bond, Brown, Stringer, Walker, Lambert and Farke. No surprises there, they were the ones that gave us the exciting years. Martin O’Neil would have also made my list, had he been given the opportunity to lead us for a bit longer. Nigel Worthington deserves an honourable mention, too.
Roeder has to be the absolute pits for me. He blew a real chance of doing something special, with his lousy man management, and getting rid of Huckerby because he couldn’t stand the thought of having someone more famous than him in the club.
Lambert’s departure was a real disappointment, given his special relationship with the fans, but I wouldn’t have him back now.
Some good managers their and just like today’s all underfunded the thing is what could they have achieved if they have had money to spend in their time.
Thanks for the comment
I have to give thanks for Martin Penney he does the tiding up of my scrawled thoughts and research.
nice to look back and remember some dam good days, we never forget the bad ones either of Roeder, was the worst ever, at least 16 loans speaks volumes. Ricoh I had high hopes for, but now looking back to to those words No Ambition, clearly rings very true today. Had he been some ex,-player who had not played at the top I could have dismissed that. But he had been around long enough to know. Wonder if he cod still say the same today. Hard to see a manager that wasn’t under founded , perhaps Saunders Bond Brown Stronger got the most support. None under this current regime
At my age good memories are worth a lot and we have had some over the years Roeder was a nightmare also Grant.
Alex Neil was an unexpected late recruit that had the playoff success but like Farke the Premiership was just that step to far especially with no great amount of financial backing.
Smith I think has hit the same wall lack of funding
Thanks for the comment
Inside Right says
Stringer would be my favourite and we had a damn fine side. Good to watch, but could mix it with the best of them. We were reasonably ambitious back then, before the Deliaisation of (‘some’) fans wanting to get relegated with a disregard for the top tier.
Maybe they prefer the cheap beer ‘Up North’ mixed with the wind and the rain on a grim Tuesday evening.?
Not so grim up north and the Beer prices are catching up with the down south.
Coming from Gt Yarmouth myself and living in Blackpool there is a slight difference in mentality and at times I get called a Southern Softie most in jest not real insult.
Stringer is a Gorleston Lad and played in the same school team as Arsenal Peter Simpson both Alderman Leach school now 6th form college.
Will agree that’s a good pick followed by Farke