Behind Enemy Lines – Norwich City Supporter’s Site Interview & Viewpoint of Paul Lambert

Bent’s brace saw Villa win 3-2 last time at Villa Park.

 Norwich City Supporter Site Interview

Gordon @ Carrow Road Net  gives a rational view of both Villa and Norwich City’s new management regime and some insight into what to expect from Paul Lambert. Thanks to Gordon(who was present at Wembley for the Villa vs Norwich League Cup final in 1975) for doing the interview at short-notice.



1. What’s your take on Norwich’s start to the season and current league position?

Knew it was going to be tough, with the much talked about Second Season syndrome, plus having to change manage and coaches. I must admit to not being that impressed but time has to be given to give the new regime a chance, last weeks win was a little bit of a surprise  but totally deserved a couple of the earlier games we deserved to win; but couldn’t put the ball in the net.  But the big defeats were just terrible to have to endure. I am still of the mind I think it will get better.  I don’t care where we finish as it is a few more points than three clubs, survival is the name of the game.

2. I’ve noticed some backlash already from fans to Chris Hughton as Norwich boss. What’s the situation there?

I honestly think too many fans were comparing Hughton to Lambert, forgetting that Lambert built the squad, Hughton has to get to know the squad and those he has added, I think he is getting near to that now.  I was concerned that the bad start would turn into a bad mid-season, also was concerned he was going to more defensive minded, but that isn’t the case.  He will in time win some of those doubters round, there will always be some nobody can please.  I will say he wasn’t my first choice, I would have liked Holloway, his style would have been closer to what we just had.

Carrow Road – May’12. Lambert’s last game for Norwich and McLeish’s last for Villa. Norwich won 2-0.

3. Do you think your change of manager has had much of an impact – Norwich would have had the so-called ‘difficult second season’ to deal with anyway? 

To be honest, I don’t think it was about impact more a case of slowly one step at a time, I don’t see how we can ask anymore of Hughton.  Lambert is an impact manager, he has never stayed anywhere long enough to see what else he has.  I know he was here 3 seasons, but there was no consolidation in any of the leagues we went through, and when the time came to test his managerial credentials in consolidating a place in the premier league off he went.  Many City fans believe he could see a big, big battle ahead and decided to jump ship.  I don’t agree totally with that, although it must have been on his mind, things go on behind closed doors we will never get to hear, so I try and leave it there.  But as you say the Second Season would  have to be faced with whoever is holding the reins.

4.. On the evidence so far, what’s different about the Norwich team to the one we know from last season? Have the summer’s new signings added to the team?

I think we have lost some of the gung ho play, it was like if we concede we just go and score more, Hughton has tried to make us more solid although some results it failed totally.  I thought for the first few games our players looked like strangers and that reflected in the play and results.  The signings we have seen so far have been very good additions, the majority are defensive as that was one area Lambert wasn’t so concerned about, there are still a couple who haven’t graced the first team yet.  First thoughts at the time of signing them, I was very under-whelmed, but again time is needed.

5. Are there any players not pulling their weight? Any areas of weakness you’d like to see addressed?

I can’t say I have seen any not pulling their weight, mind you one or two spring to mind who don’t look to be trying overly hard, but it could be their particular way of playing. We have not seen anything like we witnessed under Glenn Roeder, too many loan players who didn’t give a toss.  I think there are a couple in the squad who could be moved on and a striker brought in and perhaps a full back as cover mostly.

6. What’s the bottom line for this season to be regarded as successful?

It has got to be survival, pile as many points as possible and see where we finish, as I said earlier as long as we have a point or two more than 3 other teams, it will be successful

7. What do you reckon of Aston Villa’s start to the season? PL hasn’t exactly had a honeymoon period…

A little surprised to be honest, he more or less hit the ground running when he came to Norwich, but I reckon there was much more wrong behind the scenes than I know of, it is going to be a tough season for you, he will need the time the same as Hughton, but will he get it ? The expectation is greater at Villa than City; where survival is seen as success for us, a higher league finish is more important.  But the sights may just have to be lowered a little. 

8. Do you think Lambert will turn it around at Villa?

Again that depends on time, but if I am honest he will give it a good go, but I am not sure if he has the experience and wisdom just yet. He will drive himself to achieve but the job of that size is too early in his career, another 3-5 years learning.  He has a different type of player to deal with at Villa than what he has had before all our players where premiership virgins, not multi-million pound signing and perhaps ego’s to match. 


Villa pip Norwich to the 1975 League Cup at Wembley


9. Before we became known as the Lambert, how did you regard Villa? Anything that comes to mind that sums it up?

To be perfectly honest,  I thought Villa were going to head along the same lines as Blackburn, Bolton, clubs that hadn’t really grown again had stayed the same and even tried to cut corners in investment in the playing side. I certainly don’t believe selling the family silverware was the greatest idea, you now have to reap what was sown.  I can remember the great days watching players like Gordon Cowans, and one of my heroes Dion Dublin.  I followed quite closely one of our old managers who got us promotion for the first time and then had success with you Ron Saunders, I also remember standing at Wembley feeling gutted as Ray Graydon scored the only goal to win the league Cup.   If I was to say Villa are a giant in a coma at the moment and in need of really waking up and gaining strength, I hope I haven’t offended.

10. Prediction for  match?

It goes without saying who I want to win this, but given the form of both sides I am going to go for a score draw  1-1.


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