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Norwich City managers have often enjoyed debut wins – but can Alex Neil sustain his early success?

Bruce Rioch is welcomed onto the pitch at Carrow Road ahead of his first macth in charge of Norwich City against Crewe.

Bruce Rioch is welcomed onto the pitch at Carrow Road ahead of his first macth in charge of Norwich City against Crewe.

COPYRIGHT ECN 1998

After Alex Neil made a winning start to his Norwich reign, David Freezer looks back on previous City managerial debuts.

Bryan Hamilton at the East Anglian Derby at Portman Road. Picture: Keiron Tovell.Bryan Hamilton at the East Anglian Derby at Portman Road. Picture: Keiron Tovell.

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.

Nigel Worthington during his first game in charge of Norwich City against Gillingham at Carrow Road in December 2000. Picture: Liz ReynoldsNigel Worthington during his first game in charge of Norwich City against Gillingham at Carrow Road in December 2000. Picture: Liz Reynolds

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

Peter Grant savours winning his first Norwich City match in charge, at Birmingham in October 2006. Photo: Chris RatcliffePeter Grant savours winning his first Norwich City match in charge, at Birmingham in October 2006. Photo: Chris Ratcliffe

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.

Glenn Roeder celebrates the second Norwich goal in his first match in charge, a 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town. 

Photo: Nick ButcherGlenn Roeder celebrates the second Norwich goal in his first match in charge, a 2-2 draw with Ipswich Town. Photo: Nick Butcher

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.

Paul Lambert ahead of his first match in charge of Norwich City, against Wycombe. 



Picture: James BassPaul Lambert ahead of his first match in charge of Norwich City, against Wycombe. Picture: James Bass

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

Norwich 0

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.

6 comments

  • walcor: I have always believed much of our problem was attitude. While I believe the squad is not as good as had been hyped pre-season it is still capable of beating most teams in this division. The key word is "capable". The reality this season is that many of the squad appeared to believe the hype and that they were too good for this league and only had to turn up to win. I am sure that Alex has already made his mark psychologically and that the under-performers now have nowhere to hide. He has yet to make his presence felt regarding playing style and set-up, team selection etc. But that will be seen soon enough now he has truly taken over. I also suspect he already knows where to strengthen the squad and to some extent who he fancies to fill these roles. To that end I would not be surprised to see one of two players from Accies or other Scottish clubs down here. Longer term we must broaden our scouting system and brief and look further afield for good young talent from across the water.

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    malaga flier

    Thursday, January 15, 2015

  • Bit of a paper filler this as Alex did not train nor select the team last Saturday. The better point to make was that he could not contain his enthusiasm and had to get down to the dug out to get involved. If as many believe, the current squad has the ability but a poor attitude (except BJ), Alex has the right personality to get things moving. IANWT

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    waclor

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • Yeah, I was going purely on terms of goal difference. But the Premier League opening day will always be the great Managers Debut result. I remember tuning in at half time and prematurely readjusting my expectations for that season.

    Report this comment

    ClarenceW

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • Clarence - the best result was the one not mentioned here - the four 2 win at Arsenal under Mike Walker.

    Report this comment

    Steely Dan

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • That's got to be a good pub quiz question: Q) In the last 25 years, which Norwich manager had the best result from their first match in charge (in terms of goal difference) A) Bryan Gunn

    Report this comment

    ClarenceW

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

  • If we're led to believe Alex N's philosophy, I fully expect the team to be highly motivated and work 100% for the full game v Cardiff and Brentford and throughout all training sessions. The next 2 weeks will sort the wheat from the chaff, no doubt about that ............ some will fall below AN's standards and will be dealt with I'm sure. In answer to the Q - Yes he can OTBC

    Report this comment

    nevermindthedanger

    Tuesday, January 13, 2015

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

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