Paul Lambert reflects on his ‘extraordinary’ era at Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images
Paul Lambert will put sentiment aside when he looks to keep the pressure on his old club Norwich City on Saturday.
The Wolves' chief admits his latest Carrow Road return is the first time he can actually relish a reunion after the fallout from his switch to Aston Villa in 2012.
Lambert guided the Canaries from the depths of League One to Premier League safety during an unforgettable three-year stint for the City Hall of Famer.
'I am really looking forward to going down. It is the first time in a few years I have been looking forward to going down,' he said. 'What we did there was extraordinary. I am looking forward to seeing some familiar faces who have been really good me. Alan Irvine is there now, who I worked with at Blackburn, and it is probably the first time in a long while I am looking forward to going back down there. Things have changed. The club have moved on.
'We had three incredible years and it is hard for me to explain what it was like. The lads who played under me were the catalyst. They were the ones who did it. The ones still there and the ones who left. Even the lads I have met since who have left still talk about the Norwich days.'
Lambert became a folk hero for Norwich fans before his sour exit.
'To be fair, the crowd were fantastic. They drove the club and the players on,' he told the BBC on Friday morning. 'They all come to watch and when I went in they were second bottom of League One. Colchester had won 7-1. I remember the fan base that day, though, it was full. It was a mass of yellow and the atmosphere was nice. It was surreal what was going on at that time but after that, whenever I went there a few weeks later, the club was struggling financially.
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'I never knew how dangerous the position was but we worked our way through it and got a few results that maybe kept the banks away. We got promoted, that bought us some time and it was brilliant to do it the following year again and then in the Premier League we finish joint 10th or something.
'Those three years probably gave the club what it is today. That is testament to the players and the crowd.'
Alex Neil's squad is eight points adrift of the play-off places, but Lambert is in no doubt they should be competing for automatic promotion.
'They are under severe pressure at the moment because I think for me Norwich should at least be in the top three, with the resources and the players they have got but it seems things are not so happy there,' he said. 'I will take my team down there and we know it will be hard but we go with so much confidence.'