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Ex-Norwich City boss Paul Lambert reveals torment over Aston Villa hell

07:15 19 February 2016

Paul Lambert endured a torrid time at Aston Villa. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

Paul Lambert endured a torrid time at Aston Villa. Photo: David Davies/PA Wire.

PA Wire

Former Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has re-discovered his managerial mojo after a hellish spell at Aston Villa.

Lambert is back in the game with Championship strugglers Blackburn and gearing up for an FA Cup fifth round tie this weekend against West Ham, after beating Fulham 3-0 on Tuesday in the league to ease eight points clear of the bottom three.

The 46-year-old cut his ties with Norwich after leading the Canaries to a double promotion success but his time at Villa Park turned sour prior to his dismissal 12 months ago.

Lambert revealed he was prepared to quit during an unhappy spell.

“I offered to resign at the end of my second season at Villa Park,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get money to spend so I thought, ‘ok, let me resign then’. Randy Lerner said, ‘No.’ He wouldn’t accept it. I had had enough because I was taking the hit for everyone and there were only so many hits I was willing to take before I came back fighting. So the easiest thing for me was to say, ‘no problem. I’ll go, no problem.’

“But he (Lerner) said, ‘no, no’ and there were so many things going on. (There was talk of) a takeover, things were going back and forth but I did offer to resign.

“I knew that the club needed big players to come in and we couldn’t go and get them. I remember speaking to (Romelu) Lukaku when I first went there. I spoke to (Wilfried) Bony in one window as well.

“It is a brilliant club but I always think a team that has won the European Cup should not be in the position it is in.”

Lambert has recruited the likes of Norwich old boys Elliott Bennett, Simeon Jackson and Elliott Ward in his bid to bring the good times back to Ewood Park. The Scot is adamant he is now a better operator for his dark days at Villa.

“That craziness and putting myself under major stress, I probably handle it a lot better than before,” he said. “I just don’t get caught up in the whole scenario of what has gone on. I try and keep a level head really. My time is before the game and after it, and the lads are a really good group to work with. That is half the battle.”

34 comments

  • @el dingo; IFLGH. IDNLCC. I bet GH doesn't either. Hughtrollderwood:- The Sum of all Fears. How could our wonderful Board have been so maladroit?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • Paul -It gets worse the more you try to think through your time at Villa. It simply was not meant to be. -Get Culverhouse & Karsa back and move forward and also Norwich is a special place that is secure in your memory for all your footballing career

    Report this comment

    mardler

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • Paul -It gets worse the more you try to think through your time at Villa. It simply was not meant to be. -Get Culverhouse & Karsa back and move forward and also Norwich is a special place that is secure in your memory for all your footballing career

    Report this comment

    mardler

    Monday, February 22, 2016

  • I always knew he would go but to Villa??? It proffers a man nothing that he sells his soul for the whole world but for Villa?! He left a hungry team with realistic possibilities for a dinosaur! They have less money than us, then and now, impatience comes to mind. The irony is that the Spurs job became vacant days later. Ideal for PL. Nevertheless, I will always see that period as the best four seasons on the trot since 1971 - 1975. He was the Martin O'Neill (manager) we never had. However, he is nothing without his Peter Taylor (Culverhouse.)

    Report this comment

    Imperial Echoes

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • I have to say, I always regret NCFC losing good players and good managers. But they have contracts, and who of us have never moved jobs. It's the same for them except the rewards are greater, and there are clauses included like rolling periods of notice which pay more than my life's earnings. However, whereas we expect forty years loyalty, in the real world managers and players have jobs and careers to follow, just like thee and me. How long were you in your last job? Me - 9 years, then 13 in the previous one. It's no different for them.

    Report this comment

    Les Lee

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • You still haven't answered why you lied about the points achieved. About your claim over the number of points achieved before and after Xmas that year either. Again you are selectively picking out numbers of games to try and twist things. Now why not tell us why you lied in the first place ? And that claim about the amount of points needed to avoid relegation this season is only guesswork (which some might say is better than outright lies).

    Report this comment

    Chris McColl

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • We have 12games left this year. In 20112012 we gained 12 points from the last 12 games. That will not be good enough this year.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • I choose Feb 18th as that is this week. If we repeated that form, we would be relegated this year.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • "Our form under him for the last four months was worse than current form. We only stayed up due to points gained before Xmas. " - DaveG Whereas in truth we achieved 25 points in his last 4 months (Jan 13th - May 13th) as opposed to 21 points before Xmas. So our 'staying up' was NOT due to results before Xmas - and I would hardly call finishing in 12th place on 47 points 'staying up' either. Our form in those 4 months was 25 points out of 19 games ie 1.3 points a game. Whereas our current form is 24 points out of 26 games ie 0.9 points a game. Which by anyone's reckoning is far worse now. So once again, why are you misrepresenting (lying about) what happened ?

    Report this comment

    Chris McColl

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • "Norwich did lose 8 games after feb 8th, 7 in the league and a fifth round fa cup game at home to Leicester." but you originally claimed - "From 18th February, we won 3, drew 3 and lost 8. That would probably get us relegated this season." FA Cup games do not count towards relegation - and we achieved MORE points after Xmas and more points in the 2nd half of that season. You deliberately chose a date and factored in a cup game to add to that attempt to besmirch the club As you well know relegation is decided over the whole season, NOT as small selected set of results. What should be of more interest is why you have chosen to spin things this way so as to put the club down. Something, I suggest, probably explains to the rest of us what your motives are.

    Report this comment

    Chris McColl

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Ambition is a fine thing but requires astute foresight. Any sort of move to Aston Villa should include free cranial testing even for the tea ladies. I think that might have been one of Stew's jokes, though sadly one I never quite got to the bottom of

    Report this comment

    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Update on Glen Roeder next , then archie. Now that would get the sparks flying.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. Norwich did lose 8 games after feb 8th, 7 in the league and a fifth round fa cup game at home to Leicester.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • A fair few lies here. After Xmas we actually accrued MORE points (26) than before (21). Again in the second half of the season (19 games) we achieved 25 points as against 22 points in the first 19 games. The nonsense about 8 lost games after 8th Feb is not true either incorrect - and cunningly picks a date that ignores the two winning games before. Sadly this forum is always going to be infected with those who don't like NCFC and so will lie to try and twist things their way.

    Report this comment

    Chris McColl

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • From 18th February, we won 3, drew 3 and lost 8. That would probably get us relegated this season.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • DaveG, you have a short memory.

    Report this comment

    Johny

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Our form under him for the last four months was worse than current form. We only stayed up due to points gained before Xmas. He had been found out and left at the right time.

    Report this comment

    DaveG

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • I also remember the comments from the Colchester United fans on this board when he jumped ship to Villa, they didn't care for the way that we took him and his team away either. The guy is ambitious, that's one of the reasons why he did so well for us, so that can't really be held against him. Randy Lerner has not done Villa any favours and I am surprised that Lambo was taken in by their story. I can understand him bringing Eliott Bennet and Simeon Jackson to Blackburn but there. he seemed to be able to get something out of Jackson that others have not been able to. Elliott Ward I am not so sure about but clearly he has those that he likes to work with.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Let's hope we don't finish below them this season then...

    Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • I often think of Lambert's final season with us versus Aston Villa with all the Villa fans singing his name and it always reminds me of the old adage, "Be careful what you wish for!" I'd say that was fine retribution for the disrespect those fans showed for NCFC!

    Report this comment

    David Bowen

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Fans who speak easily of NCFC going to a foreign buyer,for every Sheikh Mansour there is one Randy Lerner,or the Glazers.The sale and subsequent purchase of Benteke made £24 million for Villa and I doubt PL will need to be selling the Big Issue any time soon.Blackburn will be the team to watch next season.He's still a top manager.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Golfing C spot on with your comments , he did a brilliant job for us and moved on . Lets remember him for the good he did for us

    Report this comment

    iMac

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Pierre I doubt even Holty himself thought he would have got into an England squad under Hodgson. It probably had more to do with the reunion with a certain coach. IFLGH.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Always wise in my view not to lionise or demonise managers in the heat of the moment. The record of their management elsewhere suggests PL was perhaps over-lionised and Hughton over-demonised during their time at Carrow. Good managers both; but PL benefited when a number of planets (not least GH in his pomp) came in line together he was appointed, and CH rather had to come on after the Lord Mayor's show, handling a disillusioned GH who'd been spurned for England duty.

    Report this comment

    Pierre

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • @GolfCan; we're marking the same scorecard there! ;-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • As el dingo says, it was Bowkett who described Lambert as "the most impatient person I've worked with". Reportedly. Hyacinth also said Holty was "too old" for an extra year on his contract. Again, reportedly. I don't know the real background story; I'm not an Insider. At first, I was angry and wanted Lambert removed from the Hall of Fame, prior to ritual disembowelment on Mousehold Heath. Later we had "Wessigate" at Villa Park and the wee wizard's (reported) uncomplimentary comments about NCFC. How should "blame" have been apportioned? Was it all Lambo's fault? I suspect not. He worked miracles for us and kept Villa in the Prem while Chrissie took us down. Maybe he'd run out of patience with our Board and took on a decently paid, albeit poisoned chalice job instead. Good luck to him and his band of Norwich refugees. PS: Holty's signed for his old Club, Rochdale, until the end of the season. IFLGH.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • PL did a fantastic job for NCFC and I can't blame him for leaving. Managers eventually get the sack and PL only had to look at how Worthington went from hero to zero to realise that his good work at Carrow Road would be forgotten half way through his first bad season. No doubt he was offered a pay rise and more money for players at Villa Park - who wouldn't take that? It was all disappointing for fans and a shame that his leaving wasn't amicable, but we shouldn't forget his exceptional time in Norwich.

    Report this comment

    GolfingCanary

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Malaga I believe that comment came from Alan Bowkett. Sanjeev, there were some background issues to PL's departure that meant he was always going to leave when he did. I too have little sympathy for him on a personal level but he was a brilliant manager for us

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • He could have built something very special with the canaries but his extreme short sightedness was his undoing. .. joining a sinking ship like villa over building a dynasty with norwich.... oh I wish we still lived in era when manager's with integrity like clough who would take smallest clubs and make them champions... shame on Lambert.

    Report this comment

    True yellow

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Case of what might have been but as others have said, he wanted bigger things. His gradual improvement of our squad was good but who knows what would have happened had he stayed.

    Report this comment

    DJ_FRAMBOISE

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Can't offer any sympathy, plenty good enough, serve him right. The way he left, was disgraceful, overnight, City weren't big enough for him, he couldn't get away quick enough. Had he afforded another season here, City would've probably benefitted, likewise, Lambert himself.

    Report this comment

    Sanjeev

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • Don't want to hear crocodile tears from a man who was all too eager to jump ship from here. It was his choice to walk away from Carrow Road and his choice to take on the Villa job. He had done a great job here and I am sure I heard someone (was it Mr McNally) saying he was a very impatient man? I wonder if, in hindsight, he feels he'd have been better to stay here longer? He wouldn't have had the cash he wanted but then again do 99 per cent of managers? Ambition often clouds reality when it comes to football.

    Report this comment

    malaga flier

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • I feel so sorry for him...

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Friday, February 19, 2016

  • In a very measured piece at the time of his dismissal, the Birmingham Mail marked him down as the second worst manager in the Club's history!

    Report this comment

    Pierre

    Friday, February 19, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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