Love can be painful, but unrequited love is even worse, and the reaction to it can take many forms as we found last Thursday as we woke to the news that Paul Lambert had attempted to resign.

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On Wednesday evening the Norwich City faithful were convinced that Lambert could walk on water, but by the next day some of them would have been happy to drop him in the Wensum wearing a concrete overcoat.

There is no doubt that Lambert’s defection to Villa just a couple of days after a Sky Sports interview in which he had talked about the great relationship he had with the club’s fans and how much he loved being here left a nasty taste in the mouth. While it was probably a necessary piece of misdirection to buy a bit more time for his plans to come together it was inevitable that it would be seen retrospectively as a cynical and dishonest performance by many fans.

Nevertheless, despite the inevitable wave of criticism and anger it’s important to appreciate that Paul Lambert has done wonders for this club and has left it in a strong position. That said, it should also be remembered that Norwich City has been good for Paul Lambert, with his standing and reputation greatly enhanced after three great years. It really has been a classic piece of synergy, for which both parties should be grateful.

I’ve always felt that Lambert’s charisma and the success on the pitch has tended to mask just how much important work has gone on behind the scenes at Carrow Road. However, his resignation illustrated just how much has changed as the admirable David McNally spearheaded an incredibly efficient recruitment drive to deliver Chris Hughton to the club in less than a week, making the fumblings of WBA, Liverpool and Villa look positively amateur in contrast. What’s more he could say that we had appointed our number one target with total honesty, unlike his opposite number at Villa after their very public courtship of, and rejection by, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

To get the man that the board wanted within such a short space of time sends out a very clear message that not only is Norwich City an incredibly well run club these days, but also that it is a desirable destination for managers (and by extension players) of real pedigree. I’ve seen many managers come and go but I honestly don’t remember having such an unequivocally positive feeling about anyone else. Hughton appears to fit Norwich City like a glove in terms of playing style (attacking but pragmatic), personality (assured but relaxed) and ability to work within tight budgets. What’s more, you only have to talk to Birmingham and Newcastle fans to find out just how universally respected and well liked the man is.

Of course, he will have a difficult issue to deal with immediately in the form of Grant Holt’s transfer request, but whether or not he succeeds in changing the striker’s mind, it is important that everyone accepts that this is a problem that he has inherited, not one of his own making.

What is, however, vitally important is that the squad that we go into next season with is fully motivated and committed to Hughton’s ideals. Whether Holt can conform to that is not a question that anyone outside the club can answer, despite the inevitable speculation on Twitter, but no doubt we will find out soon enough.

Hughton has already noted the reputation of City’s fans and I’m sure that he’ll get a fantastic response from the Yellow Army, and August can’t come soon enough now. I think I may be falling in love all over again...


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