Norwich City managers have often enjoyed debut wins – but can Alex Neil sustain his early success?
COPYRIGHT ECN 1998
After Alex Neil made a winning start to his Norwich reign, David Freezer looks back on previous City managerial debuts.
When football clubs decide to change their manager, it is often with the hope that a new boss will inspire an immediate upturn in fortunes.
This ‘honeymoon period’ often materialises for new managers, it is retaining that success consistently that is the tougher task.
This has been demonstrated at Norwich City over the years – where seven of the club’s last 10 managers have been able to savour victory following their first match in charge.
Of the remaining three, Glenn Roeder managed a draw in an East Anglian Derby debut and both Chris Hughton and Neil Adams suffered defeats, both at Fulham and both in the Premier League.
New Canaries boss Alex Neil emerged from the directors’ box to help motivate and organise 10-man City to an impressive 2-1 win at league leaders Bournemouth.
With three home games in his next four matches, the 33-year-old would appear to have a good chance of extending his honeymoon period – but can he steady the Carrow Road ship in the long term?
Mike WALKER – WIN
Date: Saturday, August 17, 1996
Result: Norwich 2 Swindon 0
Details: Walker’s second spell as City boss got off to a solid start, with goals from Andy Johnson and Robert Fleck ensuring victory. After only losing once in their first 13 games, the Canaries eventually finished 13th in Division One.
Bruce RIOCH – WIN
Date: Saturday, August 8, 1998
Result: Norwich 2 Crewe 1
Details: Goals from Craig Bellamy and Darren Kenton were enough to ensure Mark Rivers’ goal for the visitors did not deny former Arsenal manager Rioch a winning start. City would go on to finish ninth but 14 points adrift of the Division One play-off places.
Bryan HAMILTON – WIN
Date: Sunday, March 19, 2000
Result: Ipswich 0 Norwich 2
Details: Iwan Roberts scored twice in the first half at Portman Road to ensure a dream start for Hamilton against the club he played for. The former Leicester boss only managed two wins in the final nine games of the season though as City finished 12th in Division One.
Nigel WORTHINGTON – WIN
Date: Saturday, December 9, 2000
Result: Norwich 1 Gillingham 0
Details: Chris Llewellyn headed home a Darren Kenton cross in the 76th minute to ensure a winning start to Worthington’s caretaker spell in charge, after stepping up from working as Hamilton’s assistant, following five successive defeats.
Peter GRANT – WIN
Date: Tuesday, October 17, 2006
Result: Birmingham 0 Norwich 1
Details: An away victory made for a perfect start to Grant’s time in charge at Carrow Road, with a 66th-minute goal from Jason Shackell putting City in front. Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher also pulled off some excellent saves to help ensure City held out for the win at St Andrews.
Glenn ROEDER – DRAW
Date: Sunday, November 4, 2007
Result: Norwich 2 Ipswich 2
Details: Roeder inspired a second-half fightback in the East Anglian Derby. City were 2-0 down at half-time but a deflected Martin Taylor header and a Jamie Cureton chip salvaged a point.
Bryan GUNN – WIN
Date: Saturday, January 17, 2009
Result: Norwich 4 Barnsley 0
Details: Relief at Roeder’s exit made for an excited Carrow Road for Gunn’s first game in caretaker charge, which would later be made permanent. The former City keeper could not prevent relegation though.
Paul LAMBERT – WIN
Date: Saturday, August 22, 2009
Result: Norwich 5 Wycombe 2
Details: After watching a midweek 2-1 loss at Brentford from the stands, Lambert’s reign – which would bring the League One title and then automatic promotion to the Premier League the following season – saw a Grant Holt brace lead the way.
Chris HUGHTON – LOSS
Date: Saturday, August 18, 2012
Result: Fulham 5 Norwich 0
Details: Hughton’s reign got off to a disastrous start at City’s unhappiest of hunting grounds, Craven Cottage, where the Canaries have not won since 1986. A calamitous debut from centre-back Michael Turner didn’t help, as the hosts won easily.
Neil ADAMS – LOSS
Date: Sat, April 21, 2014
Result: Fulham 1
Details: Adams was put in charge of City’s final five matches of their Premier League season but also had to start away at Craven Cottage. A 40th-minute goal from Hugo Rodallega gave the Cottagers the win and Adams could not prevent relegation.