After successfully retaining Norwich's Premier League status, Paul Lambert is on Aston Villa's radar should they part with Alex McLeish. But Paul, don't go to Villa, wait for Liverpool to come calling.
Paul Lambert has Aston Villa making eyes at him, and unlike another claret and blue outfit, Burnley (who showed a little thigh to the Norwich gaffer last season), Lambert may actually be blushing. Surprising? Not really. Actually it’s pretty predictable.
No ‘top 5’ is going to risk Lambert just yet, and the only clubs ‘bigger’ than Norwich, in terms of attendances (and possibly funds) that would interest the Scot in terms of heritage – a misleading yet alluring quality – would be Villa, Everton (no dice at mo), Sunderland (likewise), Newcastle (again, no dice) and another we will get to shortly.
Now, Lambert is no fool. He’s played the Premier League his way, and a constantly-changing team has eeked three points in the odd away game, that maybe a more ‘park the bus’ approach would have failed to do. His side have no big QPR wages and egos, and every seat is filled every game, going back to League One. Norwich score a lot, yet are prepared to go defensive and rather ugly too. Their style may not be as free-flowing as Swansea, but possibly the Welsh side will also need a plan B next season as teams have started to work them out. Norwich’s recent dip in form is maybe more a consequence of sitting pretty (and playing relegation-threatened sides) than an actual, genuine fall. The fact is: Norwich are staying up.
His side have no big QPR wages and egos, and every seat is filled every game, going back to League One
Lambert’s achievements since taking over at Carrow Rd in League One, have been nothing short of astonishing, and there’s a little of the Martin O’Neil obsessive determination that will eventually seem him leave Norfolk. I think we know this, even if we dare not imagine it. Unless Norwich can get a massive Malaysian cash injection, the club’s progress may prove to be too slow and potentially risky for thoughts of anything other top-flight security and maybe a cup run. We the fans would be happy with that, but would Lambert?
But should Lambert leave for Villa? Villa Park with up to ten thousand empty seats at some games, does appear – at least from TV and radio coverage – to be a bit of a miserable place at the moment. The squad – when fully fit – is good, but the club is straggling. Many believe that a yo-yo – as seen with Newcastle – could even sort Villa’s head out. Momentum is an extremely powerful thing, and when you’ve got it, even average players, start to excel, and Villa just seems to have been sucked into a vortex of negativity. Could Lambert sort them out?
Of course Lambert could turn them around and after McLeish – a slightly more favourable appointment than say Jasper Carrot or indeed Satan – anything is going to be an improvement. Potentially Villa is a much bigger stage if he can get the fans onboard. Villa will be a tough gig and they will maybe not have the patience of Norwich and the relatively lower expectation, but anyone who follows the Canaries will tell you (maybe in hushed tones at the moment) that Paul Lambert has the mentality to achieve at the highest level. Villa would be a better club with him onboard.
So, Villa? As a Norwich fan I hope not. I think Villa are no more forward thinking than Norwich and with barely five thousand more on the gate, only a promise of serious funds should entice Lambert. Villa could be a downward elevator in a managerial career that has sailed up thus far. Villa? Possibly, however I think a bigger gig could be just round the corner.
Villa could be a downward elevator in a managerial career that has sailed up thus far.
I personally believe that Anfield could be on the horizon. Taking off my Norwich bobble hat for a moment, maybe the timing is right for him (certainly not for us) and Them…
Liverpool are in no danger of getting relegated any time soon, and Anfield is still packed. There are stars there (and a lot of dross), but if there’s one man who could maybe get the most of a rather tepid and hideously over-priced midfield (Gerrard aside), it could be Lambo. Liverpool have made some disastrous moves in the transfer market and they need a new start. Two cup finals, yes, but anyone travelling to Anfield at the moment, will fancy their chances. Liverpool are a bigger club than Villa, and with a little tinkering and some hope, they could be challenging for Europe, where Lambert as a player won at the highest level. I have no doubt that he will want to win at that level as a manger too.
Tomorrow night, sees Liverpool travel to Norwich and City fans won’t be surprised if we get something out of the game – how times have changed. But could a victory for City be phyrric? Could a bloodied nose to the Reds, end up in an act of even sweeter revenge come the close season? I sincerely hope not, but then we all know how these things play out. Just ask Colchester.
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