Why would you let a former manager distract you from enjoying the moments City give? - Chris Lakey
The man who delivered the best advice as to how Norwich City fans should react to Paul Lambert tomorrow is... Paul Lambert.
The Scot has returned in charge of Aston Villa and Wolves since his controversial departure in 2012 after a highly successful three years in charge at Carrow Road.
Those visits brought, what, mixed receptions? Generally accepting perhaps that life goes on?
This one won’t. Even though he didn’t take the direct route down the A140 to Ipswich Town, he is their manager. And anything to do with Ipswich is, to many, unacceptable this weekend. In fact, any weekend to many. I know people who changed their fuel supplier because of Ipswich’s sponsors, who refused to drink the products of certain brewers because of their links with Ipswich Town.
If anyone thinks those people are going to welcome Lambert with open arms, then think again. It is the nature of the footballing beast, although frankly I do think they’d be better off expending energy on something more positive. However, it is their choice.
Lambert will take it on the chin: he’s been around long enough and in higher circles to know what to expect: it will be water off a duck’s back.
The gist of his press conference comments regarding his return were:
It’s my job now
It’s about Ipswich
I left Norwich a long time ago
What is more important is the effect the City reaction will have on his team. Lambert will, I’d be sure, be instilling a backs-against-the-wall mentality. No one likes us, prove that you don’t care. He will be more than happy to soak up the abuse if it deflects from his team and allows them to concentrate on their job.
Watching his press conference was interesting, if only because there were so many familiar lines. There is a method that Lambert follows and he stuck to the tried and tested. There was the odd jokey line – Matty Gill invented Spygate, John Wark would be worth £400m today – although saying he worked hard and was tired after three years at Norwich and needed a break was odd, given that he jumped ship to Aston Villa. Break, what break? And there was the biting, unnecessary comment: in response to a question from Paddy Davitt he said he’d “known you for short time, three seconds - and that was two seconds too long”. That sort of comment alone makes me want his team to get well beaten.
Anyhow, the crux is: Lambert could and should actually end up with a simple cameo role rather than being the villain of the piece for some.
I think Norwich fans know a good thing when they see it. And this team is a good thing. The performance at Leeds a week ago was exceptional, but not unique. They have been so good so many times now, why would you let a former manager distract you from enjoying the moments City give?
Why boo Lambert when you can cheer your own team? Play like they did at Leeds and you won’t find time in your match watching schedule to boo him - you will be too busy cheering your team.
And that will play OUT of his hands. It would take the wind out of his sails because it may be the sole tactic he has up his sleeve to motivate a side that is struggling so much.
The object of fans’ attentions should be Farke. For very obvious reasons.
Remember this? “My heart is yellow already and I don’t have the feeling that I am just here a few months and then going back to Germany. I feel at home.”
Norwich City have a new managerial hero.
You horrible lot
I’ve seen some strange things at football matches.
I dropped my pasty in the hood of a bloke in front of me once as I celebrated an early goal and I’ve been hit in the face, guts and the you-know-wheres by stray footballs when I was not concentrating on the game.
I’ve laughed, cried, cheered and moaned. You name it...
But never have I seen such ridiculous scenes as I did at King’s Lynn Town a week ago, when the match against Alvechurch was postponed at 2pm. Firstly, Lynn got it wrong by not calling in a local referee to determine whether or not the partly-frozen pitch was playable. Owner Stephen Cleeve popped his head into Ian Culverhouse’s office as I was about to interview the manager and apologised. He admitted he got it wrong. It won’t be the first time a club has made the wrong call, nor the last.
That bit of the chaos of the afternoon is clear. The behaviour of the visitors, aggrieved as they justifiably were, took it too far. It was evident the game was in danger, but Alvechurch came out to limber up, while their manager grabbed a fork and proceeded to jump up and down on it like a pogo stick, trying to dig into the frozen surface in front of the main stand.
When the ref took all of two minutes to make his decision, the manager sent his players out to train on the far side of the pitch.
It’s a pitch that has had its problems, but groundsman Steve Curtis has worked wonders and should be applauded for getting it into shape, the ice notwithstanding, following the midweek game four days earlier when it had rained, snowed and everything else. What it didn’t need was a squad of players training on it.
From what I witnessed, Steve, director of football Robbie Back and then Culverhouse, all went out and asked the manager to call a halt. They refused. There was pushing and shoving, raised voices, stewards intervening – and in between swearing, the manager kept telling his players to continue running.
The attitude was bang average. And I hope when they do get the game played, Alvechurch are thoroughly thrashed. Horrible lot.