Norwich City End Of Term Report: Is Miroslav Klose The New Grant Holt?

It hasn't been that long since Norwich City were last in the Premier League, but with Paul Lambert in charge, we're hoping that it will be more than a fleeting visit...
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It hasn't been that long since Norwich City were last in the Premier League, but with Paul Lambert in charge, we're hoping that it will be more than a fleeting visit...

It hasn't been that long since Norwich City were last in the Premier League, but with Paul Lambert in charge, we're hoping that it will be more than a fleeting visit...

The ‘I f*cking love this game’ highlight of the season?

So many of them. Thrashing your local rivals 4-1 on television - with your iconic No.9 scoring a hat-trick - takes some beating. But then going to Ipswich for the return fixture, with the season in its crucial last phases, and beating them 5-1... simply amazing.

The season ticket shredding moment?

Genuinely, there hasn’t been one. There were a few cross words when we lost 3-1 to Doncaster early on, but even the manager admitted he messed up the team selection that day - and we still dominated the second half.

Moment that just about summed it all up?

Norwich have earned the reputation as the Manchester United of the Championship, scoring late goal after late goal. So many draws were turned into victories in the dying seconds, so Simeon Jackson’s 95th minute winner against Derby to retain second place in the league was one of the defining moments of the season. They just never gave up... but just a week later Cardiff did - and Norwich won promotion

Got the right manager?

Have we ever. Two years ago, Norwich were preparing for their first third tier campaign in 50 years. Now we’re in the Premier League, and it’s all down to the manager, Paul Lambert. Not only has he coaxed the best out of unsung players hungry for success, he’s tactically astute, uncannily successful with his substitutions and has built an incredible team ethic. He’ll manage a top four side one day, I have no doubt. At this rate, it’ll be us!

Player of the season?

Again, so many to choose from. Wesley Hoolahan has been unplayable at the tip of the diamond formation and it’s a mystery why he’s been overlooked for Republic Of Ireland. Russell Martin, the right back, epitomises what this team is about: ditched by Peterborough, he’s defensively sound, never gives up, and has been up and down the wing like a Norfolk Cafu. But this team is characterised by its talisman, forward Grant Holt. He’s a proper, old-fashioned number 9 who opposing fans hate (but would secretly love in their side), has scored crucial goals and leads the line magnificently. On the pitch on the last day of the season, his shirt said ‘From The Unibond Prem to the Real Prem. Wow’. His journey proves you should never stop believing in your team or your players.

Muppet of the season?

Genuinely, does not apply. Lambert’s real skill is to get the most out of a squad, so even those who weren’t playing - or perhaps weren’t as technically gifted as some of their team-mates - came in and did everything asked of them when called upon.

What would you change next term if you were the gaffer?

The £90m question. Lambert did something incredibly clever after last year’s promotion from League 1: he basically revamped the squad but in a slow, considered way that felt organic rather than a sweeping change. That was to preserve the hard-earned team spirit, which will be key next season when it possibly won’t be so enjoyable every week. So I would change very little; these players deserve their chance and I expect them to get it.

Holt, goalkeeper John Ruddy and Henri Lansbury were all voracious tweeters at various points of the season before mysteriously going missing. But Liverpool loanee Dani Pacheco’s tweets were the most endearing

Which player would you like to sign

Miroslav Klose is out of contract at the end of this season and Lambert has many German contacts after winning the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund... more sensibly I‘d love us to continue the policy of finding hungry players with a point to prove. So, Danny Graham from Watford would be a good start, followed by someone like Nottingham Forest’s Lewis McGugan if they fail in the playoffs.

Best goal?

Andrew Crofts' swivel and volley against Barnsley. A carbon copy of Justin Fashanu’s famous goal against Liverpool, it was absolutely perfect.

Biggest tosser

If we’d missed out on automatic promotion by two points - which looked more than possible for the last two months of the season - then everyone would have pointed fingers at Ian Harte. Two goals up at Reading and completely cruising, Harte essentially got Grant Holt sent off, and the game ended 3-3. Thank goodness it didn’t come to that.

Player’s tweet of the season?

Holt, goalkeeper John Ruddy and Henri Lansbury were all voracious tweeters at various points of the season before mysteriously going missing. But Liverpool loanee Dani Pacheco’s tweets were the most endearing... and indicative of the team spirit. Within weeks of arriving he was tweeting “Thanks NORWICH CITY for let me come here and enjoy that amazing experience, thank you! What a team, and what a boys! And thanks LIVERPOOL!!!

Most inspired chant?

The whole stadium singing our version of Depeche Mode’s Just Can’t Get Enough is not original this season, but it was rather apt. We couldn’t.

Best laugh you had all season?

Watching Norwich hammer Ipswich twice was incredibly amusing.

How do you plan to get through the summer without football?

By reveling in the ridiculous transfer speculation. Actually, it’s rather nice to have a break and just enjoy the aftermath of one of the best seasons the club has ever had.

Any other news?

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