Hugh Know it Makes Sense
The last two weeks haven`t been easy for many of us to digest. I`ll spare you the repeated history lesson about the last three years of the Lambert era, but given all that has happened since that time, the good mood was understandably subdued somewhat upon learning about PL`s departure. The Holt transfer request, and his recent reiteration of said request, hasn`t exactly helped matters.
After three glorious years, you`d be forgiven for thinking that the football gods were done giving us too much of a good time.
Enter Chris Hughton. New face, new era, renewed optimism.
Forgive me for stating the obvious, but this is an excellent appointment by Norwich City.
Not only has Chris Hughton the manager been praised for his recent efforts at Newcastle and Birmingham, but Chris Hughton the person has been showered with praise, well wishes and kind testaments. Without blowing their trumpets too much, his personality and Norwich City`s perception as a well respected and highly thought of club go hand in hand.
Other names had been rumoured for the post. Malky Mackay was widely tipped mainly for his Canary connections, but also for his similarities to Lambert in being a young, hungry manager who shows real promise. Lee Clark was a name that had cropped up in recent days, another man with Canary connections and another fitting the "young and ambitious" criteria. Neil Lennon also made headlines. Steve Bruce too (until Hull City came to the rescue).
But let`s be brutally honest with ourselves, if any of the above names had actually landed the job, they wouldn`t have received anywhere near the same response. I`ve actually heard more reasons from fans on why NOT to appoint said candidates than reasons to get them signed up. Lack of top flight experience, underperforming, too much of a handful, I`ve read it all.
In contrast, Hughton has received seemingly universal praise from personnel across the game. Those who have previously worked with him in different capacities across various clubs, from Lord Sugar to Paul McVeigh, as well as the vast majority of the national press, are applauding the appointment.
And quite rightly, the board themselves are being praised just as much as their newest acquisition for their lighting-esque quickness in getting their man so soon after Aston Villa came calling.
While the likes of Villa and Liverpool have been making their recruitment process needlessly chaotic and scattered, falling over themselves and looking like a laughing stock at times, Delia, McNally and co knew for some time what, or rather whom, their Plan B would be. After the initial permission was granted on Monday, the contractual discussions had all been wrapped up by this afternoon.
They simply couldn`t have timed it better. It was absolutely vital they didn`t let the process drag on and keep the fans in limbo, and they`ve given us the perfect tonic for our recent, ahem, blues.
Praise, and even apologies, must go to everyone connected with Birmingham City. Praise must go to Peter Pannu and the Brum board for acting in an incredibly professional way and allowing Chris to talk to us, not standing in the way of someone who deserves to manage at Premiership level.
Commiserations go to a surely gutted fanbase in the West Midlands, who will understandably not be too chuffed about seeing their gaffer move on after just one year. They`ll be feeling exactly how we felt just days ago.
Various questions still remain unanswered. Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, two of Lambert`s kliq through his managerial career, are still under Canary employment. We know Colin Calderwood and Paul Trollope are also coming in, but it remains to be seen if they will all work together, or wether Cully and Karsa will join Lambert in the West Midlands.
Speaking of joining PL, Hughton will no doubt be conscious of the fact that he could face a fight to hold on to some of his predecessors' former troops. He`s already stated that he wants to keep Holt, but will the arrival of Calderwood only serve to further fuel Holt`s desire to leave Norfolk?
But those questions can wait. For now we ought to revel in the good news this appointment has brought, and here`s to wishing Chris a happy, healthy stay with us. His talk of helping the club progress was extremely encouraging, as were his replies to questions about Grant Holt and his potential budget for the coming season.
Chris Hughton, welcome aboard. Here`s to you and the mustard army you`ve just inherited.