David McNally exclusive: Norwich City spread search for Paul Lambert’s replacement to Europe
Norwich City could create history and appoint their first foreign manager following the departure of Paul Lambert.
Chief executive David McNally has confirmed that the hunt for a new man will not be restricted to Britain and that candidates from the top European leagues would be considered.
City have put no time frame on the appointment process, which will be headed by McNally, but it is clear that Premier League status requires a man with top class credentials.
'The search is certainly a European search,' said McNally, in an exclusive interview yesterday. 'I should stress too that when we appointed Paul we appointed Paul because he had the relevant experience – we were in League One and Paul had been managing in League Two and League One and what we needed at that time was somebody who had lower league experience.
'Clearly what has happened since the last time we were looking for a manager is that the league that we play in has changed fundamentally and so we are looking for somebody who has got top league experience.
'I don't think the candidate necessarily has to have Premier League experience – but they have to have top league experience. By that if, for example, you have managed in Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, they are some of the toughest leagues in the world too. So why on earth if there is a candidate in one of those leagues who was available and we felt was right for us should we say no to them just because they haven't managed in the Premier League?'
That statement would appear to rule out a number of the names already linked with the position, which officially became vacant on Saturday when Aston Villa confirmed Lambert as their new manager, just days after he resigned from his job at City.
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McNally will be the man charged with finding a replacement – with a huge number of prospective candidates already expressing an interest.
'We have names in mind, of course, and we are now thinking deeply, and long into the night, about the characteristics, the specifications, if you like and we are looking at the qualities that the new manager must have – they include hunger, commitment, desire, and then the usual things that we look for when we appointed Paul – knowledge, skill, relevant experience and then the glue which holds it all together, which is attitude. So there is no change there, really.'
McNally appointed Lambert in August, 2009, but says he feels under no added pressure as the fans await the appointment of a successor to someone who brought almost unparalleled success in the last three seasons.
'I am humbled by the support from the Canaries fans,' said McNally. 'They have been extraordinarily supportive and I find that hugely motivational. But that doesn't put me under any new pressure. I am perfectly relaxed with the process. I am experienced in football so none of this is new to me. I just need to help the board with selecting the right man for us right now.
'If ever a manager is going to leave a football club then now is probably the best possible time because you have five or six weeks prior to pre-season so it is up to us now to ensure the focus on the football club is looking for Paul's successor.'