In the past, teams like Swansea, Wimbledon and Watford made a rapid rise through the leagues but in recent years, that sort of achievement has appeared to be impossible. Norwich, under boss Paul Lambert, have proved that it isn’t.
The last club to do the same back to back promotions was Manchester City some eleven years ago. Paul Lambert described the achievement as a miracle.
” It’s up there with anything I’ve done. In the last two years it’s a miracle what has happened.”
Having been relegated from the Premier League Norwich dropped into League One in 2009. On the opening day of their League One campaign they lost 7-1 at home to Colchester and the future looked to be about as bleak as it could be. The victorious Colchester side that day were managed by Paul Lambert and Norwich moved quickly to install him as their manager as they tried to halt the slide. Twenty months later, the Scot has led them back to the promised land of the Premier League. It is fair to say that he managed to halt the slide!
Captain and top goal scorer Grant Holt is in no doubt that Lambert is the reason for the club’s success.
“The manager has been fantastic. He’s a motivator and has been great for us. We’ve got a fantastic bunch of lads here. We’ve worked hard and I think when we’re on it there’s no-one better. We’ve a great team spirit and a great desire. It’s a joy being with each other every day.”
The forty-one year old Scot had an impressive playing career mainly with St Mirren, Motherwell and Celtic in Scotland as well as playing for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga, with whom he won the Champions League. He gained forty international caps for Scotland and won four SPL titles and four Scottish cups.
After studying for his coaching qualifications in Germany Lambert began his managerial career in inauspicious circumstances. He took on the manager’s role at Scottish club Livingston, where he lasted less than a season after winning only two games.
For the 2006-07 season Lambert was named as manager of English League Two side Wycombe Wanderers. In his two seasons at the club he led them to the semi-finals of the Carling Cup and to the League Two play-offs. In his second season, when Wycombe were knocked out of the play-offs, he resigned.
In October 2008 he took over at League One Colchester and guided them to a mid-table finish. Less than a year after taking over, after their 7-1 win at Norwich on the opening day of the following season, he left Colchester and headed to Norfolk. The rest, as they say, is history.
When Lambert was given the job near the start of last season, not even the most fanatical Norwich supporter could have dreamt that they would be where they are now. Even Paul Lambert himself, with limited success as a manager, would have laughed at you if you had suggested it to him.
A huge amount of credit has to go to Lambert, the club, the players and the fans of Norwich. Of course, the hard work starts now if Norwich are going to be able to maintain the level the have worked so hard to attain.
If anyone is up to the job of keeping Norwich in the top flight then you have to say that Paul Lambert may well be that man.
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