Fans’ reaction: Paul Lambert is not bigger than Norwich City
The day that Norwich City fans have been dreading finally arrived yesterday, as news emerged from Carrow Road that manager Paul Lambert wanted to leave the club.
It was not a huge shock, as Canaries fans knew that the Scot was an ambitious young manager who had his eyes set on football's top table.
But after three wonderful seasons of success, the blow of that expectation becoming a reality still hit hard on the streets of Norwich.
Tony Osborne, 52, of Tony's Food Bar on Norwich Market, said: 'I'm disappointed, but I knew it was coming. It's a shame because he is an integral part of our team. He pulled those players together like no other manager could have done.
'He was in charge and we would not be where we are without him.'
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Matthew Kemp, 54, of the Urban Munch food store in Red Lion Street, was taking the news in his stride, saying: 'We all knew he was going to move on eventually. I don't think he could take Norwich much higher than he has already.
'He might have been able to get us into the top half of the Premier League but, hand on heart, we are always going to struggle at this level because we are a very good Championship club really.
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'I just hope we bring someone in who is experienced now.'
Graham Patching, 50, landlord of The Castlegates pub, in Timberhill, was remaining philosophical about the situation, saying: 'Football is cyclical, it goes back and forth and new eras start all the time. Everyone is replaceable, well that's what my wife tells me anyway!
'That's one good thing about running a sports bar. I watch a lot of football and there is always another game coming up. It is about Norwich City as a club, not the manager.
'So I'm not surprised to see him leave, but I am surprised to see him leaving for a club that is living on its reputation from the past.
'But I suppose if he can get Villa further up the league then it is going to look very good on his CV and he will have one of the best strikers in the country coming back to health in Darren Bent at the start of next season.'
It had been an agonising wait for City fans yesterday, after news began to leak out that Lambert had asked to leave late on Wednesday night.
But shortly after 3pm the official word came from Norwich City that Lambert's resignation had been turned down and that negotiations with another club, thought to be Aston Villa, were ongoing.
Andy Barton, 56, from Bowthorpe, was disappointed that it was Villa, who had finished four places below City in the Premier League table, that Lambert looked set to leave Norfolk for.
Mr Barton said: 'I'm surprised that he's going to Aston Villa, I thought he could do better.
'Now I'd like to see us appoint someone good, not cheap like we have done sometimes in the past, someone who has got to prove themselves.'
Ray Swinger, 52, of Ray's Bag Stalls on Norwich Market, is also unconvinced that the Birmingham club is the right option for Lambert, saying: 'I thought he would go, but not as soon, not this season. Villa seem to get through their managers: there doesn't seem to be much job security there.
'I am disappointed, whenever we have a good manager they seem to be off pretty soon. I wish him well, it's just a shame that he's going.' But Simon Walker, 42, from Sprowston, was less shocked and was confident that City will bounce back from losing Lambert. He said: 'I think we all knew that we were a bit of a stepping stone for him.
'The club has been in this position before, it's not the first time a manager has left and it won't be the last. The club is bigger than the manager.'
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