Paul Lambert as a player spent most of his career playing in Scotland with St Mirren, Motherwell, Celtic and Livingston and winning 40 caps for Scotland. However, it was perhaps the year he spent in Germany that told us most about the character of the man. That season with Borussia Dortmund finished with Lambert being part of the team that won the Champions League and it is that winning mentality that he still holds true today as a manager.
Lambert’s first managerial gig was at Livingston – but he had little success and won very few games and eventually resigned. Lambert’s next managerial role came with Wycombe – where he showed more evidence of his potential as a manager. During his time with Wycombe he took his side to the League Cup semi-finals in which they lost to Chelsea. Lambert resigned as manager of Wycombe in 2008 after the club were eliminated from the play-offs by Stockport County. During his time at Wycombe he won 40% of his matches.
Lambert was not out of work for long and landed his next role in October, 2008 with League One Colchester. He did a solid job for the club and took them to a safe position in mid-table that season and the following season started with a sensational 7-1 win against Norwich City. However, things changed dramatically on the back of that result as Paul Lambert was to resign as Colchester manager and take over the job at Norwich – following the sacking of Bryan Gunn.
At the time of the appointment Norwich City fans weren’t quite sure what to make of it and if it was the right move for the club – but few fans would have doubted that Bryan Gunn needed to be replaced. However, Lambert has done things at Norwich no fan could have predicted. Coming in that first season and transforming the team and moving up the table to not only the top six – but to actually win the league outright.
Promotion to the Championship though was expected and the real test for Lambert would come the following season. Most fans would have accepted a safe mid table position and even the most optimistic fans would have not dared to dream further than the play-offs. But it’s clear that Paul Lambert is no ordinary manager and he has achieved the unthinkable; back to back automatic promotion and only two years after Norwich was relegated to League One, Norwich City is back in the Premier League.
But after so much success in such a short space of time, people are started to dream further and wondering what Paul Lambert can achieve. There is no doubt that next season Norwich will be happy just to survive in the Premier League – but I suspect Paul Lambert may be dreaming further and will want to make a real impact. Jose Mourinho may consider himself to be the “special one” but there is a special British manager and he will be showcasing his skills in best league in the world next season.
It’s often said that football teams take attributes from their manager. Norwich City has shown a desire, determination and belief to win and not being afraid to showcase attacking football. The fact they have scored so many late, late goals shows that strength. I strongly believe that Norwich will continue to showcase these attributes next season in the Premier League and won’t be afraid of anyone.
Lambert has the man management skills to match the best but at the same time keeps his feet and the players’ feet firmly grounded. After Swansea beat Norwich 3-0 they were celebrating like they won the league but Lambert and Norwich were cool and calm. The night before Cardiff had a big game against Middlesbrough players went out partying and surprising they lost their game 3-0 – while Norwich stayed composed and professional to beat Portsmouth 1-0 and secure automatic promotion. Just two examples of how Lambert has outwitted his rivals.
Next season you can be sure the same attributes will be at play, if Norwich beat Manchester United at Old Trafford no one will be getting carried away and Lambert will be sure that he will have a squad with the tightest spirit and bond and players that are young, hungry and eager to play for Norwich City. There is no room for big ego’s or players to come to Norwich to pick up their money, if you want to be part of Paul Lambert’s revolution you will have to prove, you will work hard and put everything on the line for Norwich City.
There is simply no doubt we are looking at a genius of management in Paul Lambert and you should all remember the name, because make no mistake this manager will win Premier League titles and Champions League titles. Norwich City will have to be realistic enough to know this manager will move on to a massive club sooner or later – but at very least they can say they witnessed the beginning of one the world’s greatest managers. In years to come Paul Lambert’s name will rightly go alongside that of Jose Mourinho and Sir Alex Ferguson.
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