Yesterday I wrote an article about Bournemouth’s chances of surviving the drop from the Premier League next season.
Today I will look at another promoted club Norwich’s chances of avoiding relegation in the new campaign.
That was the number of seasons that Norwich spent in the Championship. The Canaries were relegated in season 2013/14, but last season finished third in the second tier before winning a play-off final against Middlesbrough to earn promotion to the top-flight.
Norwich may have won promotion in the end, but for a long time it looked like they were going to miss out on even the play-offs.
However a late surge up the table from ninth position saw the men from East Anglia claim that valuable play-off and the rest is history.
The story of rookie boss Alex Neil is an incredible one. When the Scot arrived at Norwich in January the Canaries were in ninth position in the table. However his arrival signalled a turning point in the campaign for the club.
From his arrival in January Neil had the best win ratio of any of the bosses in the second tier, as the Canaries won 17 of their 25 games under Neil, which is impressive, but it is even more impressive considering that he is just 34 years-old.
Neil has been a manager for just two-years. Like his Bournemouth counterpart Eddie Howe, Neil has enjoyed an outstanding start to his managerial career. The rookie boss helped Hamilton Academicals to promotion to the SPL in his first season in charge and then repeated the feat last season with Norwich.
Neil spent a decade at Accies as a player and always showed good leadership skills. I have a feeling that his managerial career may just outshine his playing career.
His appointment as Norwich boss came as a surprise to a lot of people, as he was relatively unknown to a lot of English football fans. However, his appointment has been an absolute masterstroke by the Norwich hierarchy.
Neil has gone from the second tier of Scottish football to the English Premier League in just two years that is a meteoric rise if ever there was one. Keeping the Canaries in the top-flight would just add to his standing amongst the Carrow Road faithful.
With Norwich one of the favourites to be relegated at odds of 11/10, I just hope that everybody involved with the Norfolk stick with their rookie boss nest season. There is a trend of managers helping clubs to promotion to the top-flight before being dispensed with at the first sign of a bad run of form.
Neil has not been that busy in the transfer market so far this summer, but it is still very early. The players he has brought in are players with Premier League experience.
The Scot has pulled off something of a coup by signing West Brom’s highly-rated defensive midfielder Youssuf Mulumbu on a free transfer, while midfielder Graham Dorrans has also arrived at Carrow Road after completing a permanent move following a loan spell last season.
International strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Kyle Lafferty have returned to the club following loan spells at Saint Etienne and Rizespor respectively. Both will be hoping for fresh starts at the club in the Premier League.
The club have released Carlos Cuellar, Mark Bunn, Javier Garrido and youngster Kyle McFadden as the Canaries prepare for life back in the top-flight.
Despite being regulars in the top-flight of English football in their history the Canaries have struggled to maintain their place amongst the elite in recent years. The club’s aim next season simply has to be survival.
Neil will know that it will be a difficult task to keep the Canaries in the top-flight next season and that his Championship squad will need to be strengthened ahead of the big kick-off in August.
However, Alex Neil seems like sort of character that will relish the challenge of masterminding a Premier League survival bid and he could well just pull it off next season.
Can Norwich City beat the drop next season?