Keep Calm, in McNally We Trust
I haven`t written anything on the site since the Villa game and like everyone else have been watching the events of the last turbulent couple of weeks very closely.
I`ve seen a lot of opinions aired and just thought I`d chip in with my two pence worth.
My first thought is that like everyone else I am desperately disappointed by the departure of Paul Lambert to Aston Villa. Disappointed but not totally surprised. There can be no doubt that we owe a massive "Thank you" to Paul and his coaching staff.
When he took over, we were in 66th place in the football league and just three years later we have finished 12th. This is a quite incredible turn around in on field fortunes. Off the field, we had a big debt problem that the Premier League cash has gone a long way towards solving.
Paul Lambert has known what to do and when to do it. He has signed players that have fitted in perfectly and his ability to change his team to deal with various types of opposition won him admirers further afield than Carrow Road.
It was almost inevitable that we would not be able to hang onto such a manager. I`ve read a few bits and pieces that have rubbished Lambert and cited his lack of loyalty.
The first thing we need to get straight is that there is not a lot of loyalty in football these days. There aren`t too many like Adam Drury around and we need to accept that players and managers are not fans of the clubs they work for.
They are not loyal fans like you and me. For them, football is a career and a job. Because it is such an emotional game for us fans we tend to lose sight of these facts. Paul Lambert is looking to establish a career as a manager and he wants success, that`s what I think motivates him.
I doubt he needs the money after a very good playing career and he doesn`t strike me as such a man in any case, although no doubt his wages will increase sharply.
Being a realist, I have to ask "did he think he had taken us as far as he could?" Let`s be honest - City are never going to win the Premier League. We`re not going to challenge for Champions League football either. It`s a dream but it`s not going to happen.
The best we can hope for is to be a solid mid table team that might win a cup or two over the years.
ulham or Stoke City are good examples of what we should aspire to. They`ve been in the league and improved year on year to be able to attract decent players and both have tasted European football recently. I don`t want to sound to defeatist, I prefer to describe it as realism.
If Lambert had not achieved a similar result next year and perhaps we struggled around the bottom half but still stayed in the league, would he have been offered a job like Villa? A lot of people have described this as a sideways or even backwards step.
There is no doubt in my mind that Villa is a big job. They have a huge following and a billionaire owner. It wasn`t too long ago that they were a top six side under O`Neill and that is what Lambert will fancy replicating.
He will also see the challenge involved and what it may lead to. If he can turn Villa around and make them into a top six or so side then bigger jobs will beckon.
Of course he is taking a risk but he wants that challenge and he wants a bigger job than Villa. Alex Ferguson will not go on forever, another two or three years maybe? If Lambert succeeds at Villa then I honestly think he could be in the frame.
Of course he will need backing in the transfer market. Lerner is a billionaire and surely will have offered Lambert the money he will need to rebuild. Otherwise it will be even harder, only time will tell on that one. Norwich can`t hope to match the sort of investment that a billionaire can put in or borrow with probable A+ credit rating.
But I am very philosophical about it and bear him no malice at all. He has been just the tonic we needed when the club was on its knees and I`ll always thank him for that. Of course I`d rather he stayed but as I said earlier it was inevitable he would go at some point.
Lambert didn`t ever move his family to Norfolk either and his wife and kids still live in Scotland.
e would often drive back to Scotland after away games, particularly northern games and Norfolk isn`t the easiest place to get in or out of on the road system - the midlands are much better served in this respect.
Paul Lambert - thank you for everything you have done for my football club and I wish you success wherever you go.
The other shocking piece of news was Grant Holt`s transfer request - talk about coming from left field!
I love Grant Holt as a player - he has been the talisman that has dragged our club by the scruff of the neck up and into the Premier League. I can even understand this latest issue - it`s obviously about money (it always is) and Grant has spent most of his career in the lower leagues and he probably hasn`t earned a lot.
Don`t get me wrong he earns fantastic money compared to me and you but his career will be over by the time he`s 35 and he`s 31 now.
e wants a last pay day and I get that. His agent, Lee Payne, has now said that David McNally has told Grant that he is too old to warrant a third year on his contract - he might be right.
Arsene Wenger has a policy at Arsenal of no long deals for the over 30`s in his team (although thinking about it he probably hasn`t got any).
Holt`s style is 100% effort all the time. It`s why we love him like we do. But can you keep that level of performance up?
It`s a tough question to answer. So far so good but no one knows the answer. I`ve heard that Holty may earn in the region of £17.5k a week, although this is just speculation. If another club came in for him he`d probably get his wages doubled, which is attractive for anyone.
If another employer approached you, same job and they`ll double your package, I bet you`d be interested even if it meant moving house. Be honest, I know I`d be interested.
So here we again come down to loyalty of players and managers. In ten years time, when Holt and Lambert are long gone, you and I will still be supporting the club and it will still be there (hopefully comfortable in the Premier League with a 35000 seat stadium).
I guess this is my point - the club is bigger and more important than any player or manager. They are employees, nothing more. The fact we got so involved is the emotional element only a fan can have.
There are already a whole host of names in the hat for the new manager`s job, the club claim to have been inundated with CVs, and I can see why they would be - it`s one of the top 20 jobs to have in the country.
But for all the loss of Lambert and possible loss of Holt, there is one employee who we should definitely place our trust in - David McNally.
McNally runs our club and has proved a very shrewd operator. Remember how he ruthlessly ripped Lambert away from Colchester? I was sceptical at the time but it shows what I know.
o doubt he already knows the man he wants to replace him and don`t expect the grass to grow under his feet either.
Thinking positively, this has happened at the end of May and the new man will have a full pre-season and transfer window to get up to speed.
Who do I think will get the job? Obviously I have no real idea, but I think you can discount Ian Culverhouse immediately. He and Gary Karsa are Lambert`s right hand men and will go with him to Villa. I`d like to see an approach for Chris Hughton although I wouldn`t be disappointed with Malky either.
The one thing I do know is that McNally will do the right thing.
Keep calm, in McNally we trust.