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Paul Lambert revels in Norwich 'miracle'

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Paul Fletcher | 07:00 UK time, Tuesday, 3 May 2011

At Fratton Park

As Norwich manager Paul Lambert tried to get to grips with his team's promotion to the Premier League at Portsmouth on a windswept Bank Holiday Monday, he repeated one word over and over again.

"It is a miracle," said the 41-year-old after his team's 1-0 victory secured second place in the Championship. "An absolute miracle."

I have rarely seen Lambert look overawed but he did seem a little stunned, perhaps even a touch perplexed, as he tried to absorb what had happened since the start of the 2009-10 season.

Little wonder, when you consider that 632 days previously he had been in charge of a Colchester team that inflicted a 7-1 thrashing on Norwich at Carrow Road on the opening day of the 2009-10 campaign.

Ten days after that defeat manager Bryan Gunn had left and Norwich had persuaded Lambert to quit Colchester for Carrow Road, starting a sequence of events that would conclude with Norwich becoming the first team since Manchester City 11 years ago to complete back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.

Lambert inherited a team second from bottom in the table, and one that he thought was short of fitness and lacking steel. It did not take the former Livingston and Wycombe boss long to remedy the problem and Norwich finished last season as League One champions, nine points clear of Leeds.

He strengthened his squad extensively in the summer, bringing in the likes of goalkeeper John Ruddy, defender Elliott Ward, midfield duo Andrew Surman and David Fox and striker Simeon Jackson. However, very few envisaged at the start of the season that another promotion was attainable.

Russell Martin (left) and manager Paul Lambert.

Russell Martin (left) has been impressed by the job done by manager, Paul Lambert. Photo: Getty images

"We all had a belief that we could cope in this division," defender Russell Martin told me as he walked off the pitch at Fratton Park on Monday. "But I do not think that any of us envisaged what has happened."

Even after his team's good start, Lambert took every opportunity to dampen expectations and, as late as mid-December, with Norwich lodged firmly in the play-off places, he was telling anyone who would listen to him that survival remained his over-riding target for the season.

But while other sides such as Burnley and Leeds have faded, and Cardiff have fallen short yet again after Monday's crushing 3-0 home defeat against Middlesbrough, the Canaries have shown incredible staying power.

They have not lost back-to-back games under Lambert and have tasted defeat in just one of their last 15 matches.

Incredibly, Norwich have scored 13 league goals after the 89th minute of a match.

"The number of late goals is down to fitness and belief, it is as simple as that," added Martin, who joined Norwich last season and has played every minute of the current campaign. "Our manager is a winner who never gives up and he has instilled that into us."

Lambert himself is keen to deflect all the plaudits on to his players, insisting: "It is incredible what they have done. They are the ones who have gone out and won games."

But Lambert must take huge credit for Norwich's rise, particularly this season. He has moulded a squad with relatively little Championship experience but with the hunger to prove they are good enough to succeed in the second tier of English football.

Grant Holt, signed by Gunn from Shrewsbury in July 2009, had been a disappointment at previous club Nottingham Forest, but has flourished under Lambert with 20 goals this season.

Fox and Marc Tierney arrived from Colchester, Martin from Peterborough, Andrew Crofts from Brighton and Simeon Jackson from Gillingham - all were brought in by Lambert and have performed with a zeal that is a reflection of their manager's own mentality.

Canadian striker Jackson endured a 20-game period without a goal but scored the winner at Pompey, his ninth goal in his last seven games, playing a key role in his team's promotion.

"There is no big secret, it is about having good players," added Lambert. "They would not have been able to win promotion if they were not good, they can handle the ball and that is the main thing."

But Martin told me that Lambert has worked extremely hard on the training pitch to help his squad realise their potential.

"He has really stamped his authority on the squad and the lads know exactly what he wants," said Martin, who has played under Lambert at Wycombe and Norwich. "He has not changed his methods from when I was at Wycombe and his preparation remains excellent.

"Everyone has improved, even the lads who do not play very often, and the standard at training has gone through the roof. His players would do anything for him."

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As a player, Lambert won the Champions League with Borussia Dortmund, marking Zinedine Zidane out of the final in 1997, claimed four league titles at Celtic, and was captain of the Bhoys side that reached the 2003 Uefa Cup final, as well as winning 40 caps for Scotland.

He believes there is little comparison between what he achieved as a player and now as a manager.

"The magnitude of this promotion is up there with anything in my career but in a totally different way from being a player because now I have got to get a group of lads to go to the well every week," added Lambert.

Regarded as a gifted and stylish midfielder, Lambert has his Norwich side unsurprisingly play with a blend of effort and skill. The full-backs are not afraid to press forward, while Wes Hoolahan often plays at the tip of a diamond behind a front two of Holt and Jackson. Fox, who sits in a deeper midfield role, is excellent at crosses and set-pieces, as he showed with the teasing ball into the box at Pompey that led to Jackson's goal.

Lambert, who was linked with Celtic last summer and Burnley in January, is not a man who suffers fools. A stupid or unwanted question is met with an icy stare. Upon his return to Colchester last season, I saw Lambert face down several U's supporters dishing out some heavy-duty abuse towards their former manager as he conducted interviews on the pitch after the game.

His answers are intelligent but economical, as though he has better things to do with his time, but there is a dry humour to them as well. I imagine he would make very good company, provided you stayed on the right side of him.

"He has got both authority and respect," said Martin, who was stripped of his kit by a pitch invasion after Monday's final whistle and spent several minutes celebrating in nothing but a modest pair of black briefs.

"But he also knows when to have a laugh and a joke and there is a very human side to him. You can approach him about anything but at the same time we all know where the line is."

Barring managerial changes elsewhere, Lambert will become the seventh Glaswegian manager in the Premier League next season and I think it will be more interesting for his team's involvement.

The yellow and green Canaries will certainly add a splash of colour to the top flight as they return to it after a six-year absence. QPR ended a 15-year exile when they won promotion last Saturday, and with Cardiff, Swansea, Reading and Nottingham Forest likely to contest the play-offs, there will be no familiar faces going up this season.

"It is the best league in Europe," said Lambert. "It will be great and I am going to enjoy it.

"If we play Manchester United one weekend and Arsenal the following Tuesday I might just give you a different answer, but it definitely sounds good."

I doubt whether any Norwich fans would disagree with him.

You can follow me throughout the season at twitter.com/Paul__Fletcher

 

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    E-I-E-I-E-I-O, Up the Football League we go,
    When we win promotion this is what we'll sing,
    We are Norwich, Super Norwich
    LAMBERT IS OUR KING!!

    Unbelievable what that man has done for our football club in the past 20 months or so, simply staggering. Whatever next, Champions League qualification next season?

    With Mr.Lambert's midas touch I wouldn't bet against it!!

  • Comment number 2.

    thanks for the great blog paul.

    i'm still a little too emotional after last night to make much sense but i simply have to say that lambert has worked miracles for my club. lets not forget, norwich were heading to league two when he took over 20 months ago. a club on its knees but a club with big potential. he saw that potential and wanted to be the man to transform us, and transform us he has - big time!!

    but without doubt, the best thing about this norwich team - and the emphasis must be placed on team - is that every single one of those players has restored my faith in footballers once again. every single one fights for the badge, for the manager, for the fans, every single week without fail. that is a rare thing these days and having witnessed years and years of norwich players on big wages who couldn't be bothered half the time, to find a whole team of individuals who ALL want to do that and genuinely seem to love playing for my club and our fans is a wonderful thing to witness and has made this all the more special.

    i thank every single one of our players for making me a proud canary, not just this morning, but for every morning since lambert took over. they are a credit to the club, their manager, and to themselves and i only wish we could show them enough just how grateful we are for what they have achieved. back-to-back promotions is a monumental effort.

    thank you, thank you, thank you

  • Comment number 3.

    Congrats Norwich,


    Russell Martin!!!!!!!!


    Wycombe Legend Wycombe Legend!

  • Comment number 4.

    An incredible season for us. As our last minute goals testify, we simply have not known - or been allowed by the manager - to give up. And therein lies a major reason for our reward. It may well be the same attributes that we should now pin our Premiership survival hopes upon.

  • Comment number 5.

    Well Done Norwich! .. Hope Paul Lambert does not become a victim of his own success like Billy Davies a couple of years back ..
    Norwich need to give him time n support no matter what happens next year in the EPL ..

    As for Cardiff .. They have BLOWN it cuase they had the best squad in that league with Premier League quality players like Ramsey .. Bellamy and Bothroyd ..


    I'm tipping Forest to join QPR and Norwich

  • Comment number 6.

    I bet Norwich fans are glad that Colchester didn't stop at three or four in that opening-day fixture now...

    What an astonishing rise. And to think that none of the three clubs with parachute payments from last season are even in the playoffs. Talk about a contrast with the inequality of the Premier League.

    I'd be very happy to see Norwich as a top-flight fixture again - given their fanbase (their League One crowds were bigger than some Premier League clubs could attract into similar-sized stadia!) there's no doubt in my mind that they are one of the twenty biggest clubs in the country.

  • Comment number 7.

    Norwich need to give him time n support no matter what happens next year in the EPL

    ------

    if ever a manager is untouchable, lambert at norwich is that man! i think we could lose every game next season and we'd still worship him. i simply cannot state enough how far he has taken us in such a short space of time. when we were in league one last season our board put in place a 7-year plan for the premiership... we have achieved it in two years!

    astonishing

  • Comment number 8.

    I too am still a little fragile after the last few weeks, reading the comments above is making me well up a little!! :-S

    I was in Norwich on that day at the start of the 09/10 season and remember very clearly a guy walking in the pub shouting, "well that's 4 already, we're doomed!" This was a horrible day.

    To be able to watch our club come back from that has been inspirational. We have the best personel at every level who are passionate about the club and know what they are doing. I cannot wait for next season and am thoroughly looking forward to the Coventry game to join the carnival atmosphere!!

  • Comment number 9.

    The most 'amazing' feeling to witness what happened at Fratton Park last night for all Norwich fans. Paul Lambert has taken over a team that was as low as they have been for years and transformed not only the team but the overall mentality of the club into a positive one and for that he is not far off working miracles!

    Living in Norfolk over the last two seasons has been fantastic and the togetherness of all the people here is unbelievable. Norwich have a huge fan base and I fell are better set up for the premier league this time than last.

    Finally; Delia Smith, Michael Wynne Jones and David McNally you have all done a brilliant job and three of the best supporters in the world!!

    Paul Lambert for Prime Minister.

  • Comment number 10.

    From a Leeds fan who is used to that sinking feeling, I am delighted that it is Norwich going up. Excellent work all, and let's hope you do the lower leagues proud in the PL.

  • Comment number 11.

    Well done Canaries.

    I've lived in Norwich for 20 years now, and although my heart belongs to Everton, I've been to Carrow Rd a fair bit over the years. (I used to live 5 mins walk from the ground.)

    Looking froward to seeing some more top flight matches in the Barclay next season, but I'll be cheering EFC with the away fans in the Jarrold Stand for that match!

  • Comment number 12.

    "but without doubt, the best thing about this norwich team - and the emphasis must be placed on team - is that every single one of those players has restored my faith in footballers once again. every single one fights for the badge, for the manager, for the fans, every single week without fail. that is a rare thing these days and having witnessed years and years of norwich players on big wages who couldn't be bothered half the time, to find a whole team of individuals who ALL want to do that and genuinely seem to love playing for my club and our fans is a wonderful thing to witness and has made this all the more special."

    Amen to that.

    What an amazing achievement, it shows how far you can get with team spirit and hard work. Individually we are no where near some of the other teams at the top, collectively we are going up.

    And thanks to fans of other championship teams who have been very gracious. Its safe to say that we wont enjoy the same fan camaraderie in the premiership.

  • Comment number 13.

    Phenomenal achievement.. What is it with Scottish managers, they just seem to be the best in the world.
    YNWA

  • Comment number 14.

    As an Ipswich fan, seeing Norwich promoted (probably as champions) is hard to take. But fair play to them and their manager, it proves it can be done on a modest budget and that we were flogging a dead horse with Keane.

  • Comment number 15.

    I am sure I am not the only NCFC fan who will now be willing Celtic to win the SPL. Last thing we need now is Lennon getting the sack and his job becoming available. Not that I would hold any grudge against Paul should he ever leave for such a club.

    I happy to admit that my prediction of where City would finish in the league was way, way off. I thought the first game of the season against Watford would sum up our season to come, capable of scoring plenty but also let a few in too. I suppose it did pan out like that but we ended up second not mid-table as I expected.

    I think what is most pleasing during the whole season was that Paul sent out his team to win every game. There was no "a draw will do" attitude and that is very refreshing in the modern game.

    And so to last night, and what a night. I would rank that performance amongst the best I have seen from any City side in my 31 years. It was there to be won or loast but there was no rush of blood from the players and no letting the importance of the game get to them. They were measured, controlled and it was one of our best defensive showings of the season. Everything Cardiff didn't do we did.

    Rewind back two years and we were relegated with a rag-tag group of players with too many loans, no team spirit and more importantly no players who meant anything to us fans. How great it is to have players of whom we can once again be proud. Holt's 20+ goals have been crucial but equally so was a towering defensive header in our penalty area late on last night. He sums up for me everything fans love to see in players, commitment, hard work and ability. It's not just Holt though, we have a squad full of players like that and that is in stark contrast to two years ago when we had none. To think that Lee Croft was player of the season then shows how far we have come, he wouldn't even get in our matchday squad now.

    Big credit (some won't like this) has to go to Delia for clearing out the dead weight and getting in new blood. We have a new directors, who appointed a manager they trust and that has been the basis of success.

    Finally a big well done to Paul Lambert, a man who deserves but will not accept the plaudits that will come his way.

  • Comment number 16.

    It seems a long time since I went to acup game at Carrow Road inJanuary which turned out to be the last game of Glenn Roeder, they were so bad , even kids who had only oaid a £ 1 were demanding there money back. I went out and put £25 on Norwich to get relegated. I won my bet.
    The first season Paul Lambert took over was good , but there was a marked improvement this year, as he made the squad full of his players. How many other teams have seen such a remarkable turnaround and with sellout gates assured next season who knows how high the Canaries can fly.

  • Comment number 17.

    Forgot to say, Champions League here we come!! Lol

  • Comment number 18.

    Well done Norwich - whatever happened to the fan who shredded his season ticket in disgust at the 7-1 hammering by Colchester? He obviously didn't heed Delia's pleas to keep the faith.

  • Comment number 19.

    Well done Paul Lambert

    Magnficent playing career. Picked up at Motherwell after a tie against Dortmund and via a Euro winners medal to Celtic.

    Always a modest, unassuming player he fought back after being sacked by Livinston to ply in trade in England.

    Triumph of honesty, hard work and ability. Deserves all the praise he should get.

  • Comment number 20.

    Congrats to Norwich from a Leeds fan. Totally deserved promotion.

  • Comment number 21.

    Amidst all the euphoria - fully understandable though it is, I'd like to say a massive thank you to Delia Smith and her husband Michael, who have invested colossal amounts of money into the club and stuck with us through the extremely lean years.
    Many times in the last few years it must have been tempting to sell up and move on, but no, they stuck with us, brought in our current chief executive David McNally, who recruited Paul Lambert.....and the rest is plain for all to see.
    I'm absolutely delighted that the manager, players and fans have repaid the faith you've shown, Delia. You deserve this more than anyone.

  • Comment number 22.

    I would also like to say that even though I am a City fan, I honestly hope that we do not get handed to the title by virtue of a QPR points deduction. I don't want anything to take away from what is an incredible achievement.

  • Comment number 23.

    Congratulations Norwich; probably the second best team i've seen play us [Reading] this season. Super achievement for a tidy little group of players. I honestly don't think there's anything to fear in the Premiership as it's a poor league outside of the top five or six teams. Enjoy it.

  • Comment number 24.

    You'll be able to go get your scarves back off United now.

    Well done Canaries, I'll look forward to welcoming you to The Bridge next season!

  • Comment number 25.

    I was at Carrow Road for that game against Colchester and I felt totally embarrassed to be a Norwich fan on that day - we were humiliated. But as it turns out, it was the best possible thing that could have happened - that and being relegated from the Championship.

    It gave everyone at the club a kick up the backside and poaching Paul Lambert was probably the best decision the Norwich board have made for years - probably since splashing out on Darren Huckerby to get us promotion last time!

    It is without a doubt the most unexpected achievement and I am so happy! I know every fan feels they deserve to be in the Premier League and that their club is one of the biggest in the country, but without a doubt Norwich is a sleeping giant - the fanbase is huge and we never fail to fill out Carrow Road (even in League 1 we got many more fans that some premier league clubs). Shame we can't afford to expand the stadium (or more accurately move to a new stadium) as we could easily fill it week in wekk out and that might just give us the financial push to secure regular premiership football.

    What ever happens next year, we will love it. Watch out Premier League - Norwich are coming!!

  • Comment number 26.

    A pat on the back for me as well.
    I said Paul Lambert is going to be a top manager and I wanted him for Leicester before we got Nigel Pearson. Well, we missed out!
    Congratulations Chirpies!

  • Comment number 27.

    What Lambert has done is not far from a miracle! I do believe he can keep City up. I've always seen him as the next Martin O Neill but I am terrified he could be the next Owen Coyle. Lambert will be hot property next season if he can guide Norwich to safety, I just really hope he doesn't get snapped up by another Premiership club and Norwich falter just like Burnley did.

    Either way, just like in 2006 the City will be enjoying every second of their Premiership status!

  • Comment number 28.

    I still can't believe how far we've come. When I told my mate (Forest fan) that it bottom half of the table wasn't good enough for us, we needed top half for a good season and play-offs for a great season he thought I was crazy. Although tbh even I never thought I'd see us getting promoted in the automatic slots.

    Being a Canary is actually exciting again!

  • Comment number 29.

    Robbie Savage summed it up on Twitter- "Well done Norwich, putting big spenders to shame in our league".

    The performances on Norwich, Leeds and Millwall this season surely offers great hope to the likes of Southampton and Brighton coming up into the Championship. With a great team spirit and togetherness than anything is possible.

    Thank you to Paul Lambert and David McNally for all they have done for Norwich since August 2009. Bring on August!!

  • Comment number 30.

    Fair play to the Canaries, a fantastic achievement and well deserved, they were certainly one of the best sides we've had at the Keepmoat this season. Wishing them all the best in the top flight but think it'll take another big effort to keep them there! :)

  • Comment number 31.

    Mixed emotions for me. As a follower of Celtic i am delighted to see Lambert doing well as a manager. One of the best players i've seen in my time at Celtic Park, and it's probably only this year we've replaced him with Kayal coming into the team.

    Unfortunately I also follow Cardiff, and the less said about our defence against Boro last night the better. Here's hoping QPR get a big points deduction. I don't think i could handle the play offs again!

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 33.

    If Lambert is lured by a 'big' Premier League club (or, god forbid, Celtic), how will Norwich fare without him? Is he to Norwich what Owen Coyle was to Burnley? In short, is Norwich a one-man club? Honest, open question, that. What do Norwich fans think?

  • Comment number 34.

    Norwich probably wont get any points next season and going to the Premier League is very much a sink or swim affair. If you go up and are relegated the next season, it could see you back in league one again in back-to-back relegation. In fact it could be worse than that, you could do a 'Bradford'. Lingering mid-table in League 2.

    QPR have a decent chance but with the departure of Wigan, West Ham and Blackpool, there wont be any whipping boys to get 3 points from aside from the newly promoted sides with you.

  • Comment number 35.

    On the basis that players come together to perform as a great team under a manager who knows what he is doing, I think losing Lambert would be seriously bad news. He has brought players in from clubs he has managed before and gets everything out of the 11 on the pitch.

    We should have a statue outside the ground of him riding a suffolk punch! ;-)

  • Comment number 36.

    Hi all,

    Thanks for your thoughts so far. What comes across more than anything is the sense of incredulity. I think, as Robbie Savage pointed out (thanks diddyt01, post 29 for the steer) that is shows you don't have to be the biggest spender to achieve something amazing.

    Gives us all hope.

    As for Paul Lambert - when he arrived at the media room last night for his post-match press conference, Steve Cotterill was already inside and he had to wait by the door for several minutes while numerous Pompey fans filed past on their way home.

    I was also locked out and observed how many opposition supporters came up to wish him luck in the Premier League and thank him for showing what can be done with hard work and determination. Lambert, a fairly steely character, happily signed autographs but he looked pretty embarrassed by it all, almost shy.

  • Comment number 37.

    Lambert, a fairly steely character, happily signed autographs but he looked pretty embarrassed by it all, almost shy.

    ------

    just about sums lambert up! he never takes any of the credit - he always emblazons praise on each and every one of his players or the fans, even after a poor performance (there haven't been many!) or a defeat. in one interview he even said something along the lines of 'its a pleasure working for these players'. not working with, working FOR! he is going to go a long way in the game - i just hope he stays with us long enough to take us a bit further in our journey and maybe, maybe, even win something or at least stay securely in the top flight.

    as for links to celtic, he has already stated he would never manage them - the state of the league was one factor, the other being that he doesn't like the atmosphere between the old firm. after recent events, you can see what he means! he won't go there, but if a big premier league club like spurs came calling i think we'd all say 'fair enough', or even maybe dortmund!

    but i don't think we should be discussing that at the moment - its a time to savour what we have achieved these past two years.

  • Comment number 38.

    I still dont think its sunk in yet!!!!

  • Comment number 39.

    34. At 11:44am 3rd May 2011, andy1005 wrote:
    Norwich probably wont get any points next season and going to the Premier League is very much a sink or swim affair. If you go up and are relegated the next season, it could see you back in league one again in back-to-back relegation. In fact it could be worse than that, you could do a 'Bradford'. Lingering mid-table in League 2.

    QPR have a decent chance but with the departure of Wigan, West Ham and Blackpool, there wont be any whipping boys to get 3 points from aside from the newly promoted sides with you.

    ------------

    i think the above post may be the most bitter i've ever seen aimed at my club. i have no idea who you support andy but your post is a joke!

    how close has the bottom of the premier league been this year? anyone from around 8th place downwards has been in trouble - i'd say if anything, its easier to stay up now than it was two or three years ago as all the teams are fairly similar in ability.

  • Comment number 40.

    Congratulations to the Canaries from a Posh fan - also delighted for Russell Martin who was an excellent full back & captain for us in our last promotion campaign.

    Good luck amongst the big boys next season.

  • Comment number 41.

    Another top night as a City fan!!!!

    People, stop worrying about Lambert moving on, he is not going to go anywhere soon as he knows he is building something special here!!

    andy1005, post 34, what planet are you on? You are comedy gold!!

  • Comment number 42.

    @ 5: There is no way we will lose patience with Lambert if we have a poor run next season. He is, for me, easily the best young manager in the country.

    @ 33: I'd like to think not. If lambert weer to be poacked by a 'bigger' club, I have total faith in our chief executive David McNally to pull another rabbit out of the hat. But saying that, Lambert is definitely more important to us that an player we have.

    And regarding McNally, he deserves every bit as much credit as Lambert. Maybe we are so full of praise for McNally because we are comparing to the clown we had before him (who is now running the SPL, which is match made in footballing hell) but the role he has played in our promotions, and turning the club around, is incredible.

    If Lambert and McNally can stick around, anything is possible...

  • Comment number 43.

    Many congratulations to Norwich from this Leyton Orient fan. Always had a soft spot for the Canaries as a mate of mine is a fan, and he's had to endure two defeats by the O's in the past year! Your 4-0 win against us kicked off your march to the League One title, our 2-1 win over you late last season was the catalyst for us staying up, and our 1-0 win in the FA Cup at Carrow Road this season was part of our incredible Cup run.

    Good luck in the Premier League!

  • Comment number 44.

    Just echoing my fellow Canaries right now, still can't quite believe it. How the hell we've managed it really is a miracle. I admit, I like everyone else started dreaming big a few weeks ago when we started pulling out wins to keep our noses in front of Cardiff. The Championship has been great this year, but it feels like we've barely stopped by for a swift pint. Who knows what we could achieve next season? Maybe absolutely nothing, but what it is to be part of this club at the moment, on the up and imbued with a sense of positivity and belief. We could get hit for 6 week in, week out, but as long as everyone keeps pulling in the same direction and giving their all as they have for the last two years, I don't think anyone would mind. We're far ahead of where we thought we'd be, and we're just loving it.

    Everyone before me has been mentioning it, but you can't emphasise enough the transition we've undergone since relegation in 2009, and then the early weeks of the 2009/10 season. We were on the most incredible downward spiral - who knows where we might have ended up - but some big decisions were made after and within weeks, we started turning it around. There's so many people who warrant thanks; Delia et al for their unwavering support of the club, for bringing in David McNally who in turns needs to be thanked no end for his bringing Lambert to Carrow Road; all the players who've given every ounce of their being to get us back to the Championship, and now to the Premiership. As Chris Kamara would say,

    'Unbelievable Jeff!'

    (My biggest concern now is who the hell do to vote for player of the season!?)

  • Comment number 45.

    What is it with Glaswegian Managers? Well done Norwich, fully deserved promotion imo!

  • Comment number 46.

    Well Done Norwich! Looking forward to next year!

  • Comment number 47.

    Good on the Canaries! Always nice to have a team in yellow as high up the zuggurat as possible.

    However, this does only serve to highlight the unsurpassed (as yet) achievement of the greatest EVER team in yellow...will any team ever win the championships of Div 3 and Div 2 in consecutive seasons again..? Brighton are the next team in with a shot at it, but my feeling is we'll never see the likes of Oxford United, 1983-5 again!

  • Comment number 48.

    Well done Norwich but any talk of ' if Celtic come calling ' is a bit daft.. we have Neil Lennon who has done a superb job and will be manager of Celtic next season no matter if he wins the league or not..

  • Comment number 49.

    Well done Norwich. I don't think there's ever been a season when two such average sides have got automatically promoted (providing QPR don't lose points) but you can only beat what is put in front of you and that about sums up the quality of the Championship, where in a different season things could have been very different. Shame that we (Watford) will miss out on a nice away trip to a great ground and good home support next season but do wish Norwich all the very best in the Prem. As someone else as said, on a given day there is not much difference between the bottom 10-12 in the Prem so if they can be consistent, see no reason why they cannot easily stay up and indeed do well.

  • Comment number 50.

    34. At 11:44am 3rd May 2011, andy1005 wrote:
    Norwich probably wont get any points next season and going to the Premier League is very much a sink or swim affair. If you go up and are relegated the next season, it could see you back in league one again in back-to-back relegation. In fact it could be worse than that, you could do a 'Bradford'. Lingering mid-table in League 2.

    QPR have a decent chance but with the departure of Wigan, West Ham and Blackpool, there wont be any whipping boys to get 3 points from aside from the newly promoted sides with you.

    -----------------

    FYI andy, our CEO stated a few months back that our long term plan allows for us to get relegated straight away and in 6 or 7 years be a permanent PL team. This plan didnt account for us going up this season either. Our club knows what it's doing.

  • Comment number 51.

    I am so happy for Norwich who have a fantastic manager in Paul Lambert to win back to back promotions, and to return to the premier league. The club and their supporters deserve it , as they and QPR where the strongest two teams in the championship. As a liverpool supporter i will be looking forward to seeing Norwich battling liverpool at Anfield next season.

  • Comment number 52.

    It never ceases to amaze me the number of people in the English media, who come out with this 'best league in the world' nonsense and it's sad to see managers and players starting to believe this and coming out quoting this rubbish themselves.

  • Comment number 53.

    Amazing. As a lifelong fan and onetime Barclay Boy I'm over the moon. I live in Alabama and as you can imagine the last few days have been especially hard. The tornados certainly hit everyone here. But the Canaries march to the Premier League is certainly softening the blow. Can't wait to watch them on Sat. and Sun mornings here in the Deep South.

  • Comment number 54.

    Great Article, Paul. I keep watching the video on the BBC website and filling up. How pathetic am I?

  • Comment number 55.

    May I congratulate Norwich and their fans. I look forward to seeing them back in the Premiership next season. I've watched them on TV a few times this year and have been really impressed with their ability to keep the ball and harry players when they lose it. An exciting team, who last night never looked like they weren't going to win. Well done to all involved, but especially the supporters who have endured a rough few years.

  • Comment number 56.

    Congratulations to a very deserrving Norwich. Can any of the league 1 teams from this year do it again? Well possibly. Brighton have a great League 1 team but perhaps not for the Championship, while the Huddersfield have a very strong top 15 but below that a not particularly strong squad. Southampton, however, have a strong squad of about 25 players that were suitable this season, and about 20 who will be good in the next league up. Who do you think are the big buys for Saints with the Chamberlain money and indeed for Norwich in preparation for next season?

  • Comment number 57.

    Congrats Norwich and excellent article Paul Fletcher.

    One comment - loads of Glaswegians managing in the
    Premiership now - with Paul Lambert it'll be seven; but if Forest
    go up make that eight!

  • Comment number 58.

    As a Leeds fan I'm mildly disappointed its not us but tip my hat to Paul Lambert's achievements at Norwich. I did see the 2-2 draw at Elland Road and wondered then how many players would make the grade week in week out - especially post Christmas - but remain convinced that in Lambert they have a star manager who knows what he's doing more so than most (especially me) so I'll certainly not bet on them going straight back down.

    Some comments that stand out above are "Our club knows what its doing" and "There is no way we will lose patience with Lambert". Bless promotion for one eyed optimism....

  • Comment number 59.

    Well done PL and the boys, as a Boro fan living in EA, I've had the opportunity to visit Carra Rud a few times this season, and I have been consistantly impressed by everyones work ethic and commitment, Grant Holt getting back to defend for example!

    I was pleased my little team played it's part yesterday and look forward to us winning promotion next season, come on Mogga!

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    congratulations to norwich, very richly deserved.
    got to say aswell congratulations to QPR,DESPITE the current trial and tribulations,QPR have been the best team by far.
    And Lastly, to cardiff..........bottlers...plain and simple,how many more excuses can they and D.Jones have????none by my count,they blew it as they always do,they are going to have major finance problems if they fail to go up,YET AGAIN .want the swans to go up through the playoffs.

  • Comment number 62.

    Well done to everyone at Noriwch, but I can't let poster #47 "AberdeenYellow" get away with this without commenting:

    "However, this does only serve to highlight the unsurpassed (as yet) achievement of the greatest EVER team in yellow...will any team ever win the championships of Div 3 and Div 2 in consecutive seasons again? Brighton are the next team in with a shot at it, but my feeling is we'll never see the likes of Oxford United, 1983-5 again!"

    Considering where the money came from to buy the players that made up that team [i.e. out of your gran's pension], here's hoping we DO never see their likes again!

  • Comment number 63.

    I am a fan from Hong Kong who spent three years in Norwich to complete my university degree...From 1 - 7 defeat to Colchester in League One to 1 - 0 victory over Portsmouth to seal the promotion to Premier League...All I can say is a chinese idiom -- When misfortune reaches the limit, good fortune is at hand.

  • Comment number 64.

    51. At 14:18pm 3rd May 2011, jacob wrote: "As a Liverpool supporter I will be looking forward to seeing Norwich battling Liverpool at Anfield next season."

    Typo there, surely: for "battling" read "beating".

  • Comment number 65.

    Paul Lambert has done an excellent job at Norwich so hats off to him.

    I just hope he gets a decent size club give him the oppurtunity now to show his skill in the Premier League. Norwich will be relegated as soon as he leaves because the Premier League is just too strong for little family clubs now.

  • Comment number 66.

    Much as it pains me, as a blue blooded Tractor Boy to say this....
    Congratulations!
    Hopefully see you up there in a couple of seasons when Mr. Jewell has done his magic at Portman Road.

  • Comment number 67.

    As A Colchester United Fan, yes it was a taboo subject, but i think that norwich supporters and the club deserve this they can afford it and have a suitable sized stadium, If lambert had stayed he didnt have the same money as norwich do available to them, we would of got into the play offs and lost. Well done norwich, and any col u supporters moaning, your putting your club to shame

  • Comment number 68.

    @65. I just hope he gets a decent size club give him the oppurtunity now to show his skill in the Premier League. Norwich will be relegated as soon as he leaves because the Premier League is just too strong for little family clubs now.

    -----------------------------------------------------------------------

    What is this obsession with size? A decent sized club and little family clubs in the same comment suggests that Jay thinks size does matter.

    What Lambert, Culverhouse, Karsa, McNally and all other associated with NCFC have shown is that there is still room for teams that are built around spirit and desire that want to play for each other. Lambert is surely destined for greater things in the long term but I haven't had the pleasure of seeing a Norwich side play for each other since the Brown, Stringer and Walker days (apart from the team Worthy put together all too briefly) and hope that Paul is around for a few more seasons.

    He is one of a number of great managers in the Football League managing some fantastic 'family clubs'. What most of these clubs have in common is their ability to take players from lower down the league structure and mould them into a team.

    The Watford fan was right that there was no stand out teams in the Championship this season but I would prefer to think that there are a lot of (very) good teams all using the limited resources available to build a team rather than blowing shed loads of cash to live the dream.

    This time next year we could be sailing in the opposite direction and this blog will be about Grayson, McDermott, Mackay, Rogers, Davies, Adkins, Poyet, Jewell, Jackett etc, but at least I hope NCFC will have the foundations for future success.

    Thanks to the Football League for some fantastic memories (we'll meet again don't know where don't know when)!

  • Comment number 69.

    I dont like to put a damper on the blog,but,
    Ten days after that defeat manager Bryan Gunn had left and Norwich had persuaded Lambert to quit Colchester for Carrow Road, starting a sequence of events that would conclude with Norwich becoming the first team since Manchester City 11 years ago to complete back-to-back promotions to the Premier League.

    Football didnt just begin with the premier league,it started in 1888.
    Now if you want a proper statistic, only ONE team has ever won promotion from
    the English 3rd tier to the 1st tier in consecutive seasons as CHAMPIONS,
    OXFORD UNITED 1983/84 1984/85

  • Comment number 70.

    Again echoing what every other City fan has said, fantastic couple of years for our club, everyone has played their part.
    One moment exemplifies our never say die attitude; our 2-1 win over Reading in February.
    Let's set the scene:
    Norwich are sitting amidst the playoff places with two points separating 2nd and 6th. It's 1-1 in a feisty encounter with Reading down to 10 men but defending stoicly. We can't find a way through.
    Deep into stoppage time the ball is hoofed into the directors box. Lord McNally quick as a whippet retrieves the ball and lobs it to our 'special one', Sir Paul Lambert O.E.A.E ( Order of the East Anglian Empire). Lambert swiftly dishes it out to our nearest player (can't remember who, sorry, let's call him Tim). Tim gets the ball into Crofts, who inturn crosses for a Grant Holt 94th minute injury time special.

    The crowd goes wild, chants of "timmy, timmy, timmy, oi oi oi" can be heard as far as Swaffham. The Virgin Delia lays an exquisite canary egg on the centre spot and the day is proclaimed a Regional Bank Holiday.

    You beauties, honest, gritty determination from the top down. With no small amount of skill. On the ball city, can't wait till next year.



    Let us all raise a glass to Dame Delia

  • Comment number 71.

    fantastic achievement yes and great news for us southampton fans as well because it also disproves the myth that the Championship is 'so difficult to get out of'.

    Norwich haven't even spent much money and with quality football and clearly eexcellent management, have, in one season, breezed past the usual group of 2nd tier toilers like cardiff et al.

    Thanks to Norwich, we Saints can be confident of a great and maybe even solitary season in the Championship. An excellent squad, hungry manager, 30k plus home gates, oh and the fact that we are by far the richest club in the division, should see us back where we belong by 2012.........

    i hope

  • Comment number 72.

    I don't think grant Holt was a disappointment at Forest. I think - wrongly as it has proved - the management didn't think he was good enough to be a striker in the Championship. So we bought a whole string of strikers, none of whom have come near to matching his 20 goal season. It'll be intresting to see how he copes in the Premier League. Good luck to him! he always gave 100%.

  • Comment number 73.

    As a Man City fan who has watched us through thin & thinner (until the last 2 years!) I can only say CONGRATULATIONS!! Joe Royle achieved the same feat for us and, as much as it was amazing at the time, the reality was that it was unexpected & the team wasn't ready for top-flight football. Hopefully, that is not the case with Norwich, as a fair number of the players have been together for 2 years. The football played at Carrow Road has been good to watch and the fact that they play until the final whistle will be a big plus point for them. Fitness will have a bigger part to play next season, as Norwich will not expect to enjoy the lion's share of possession in a large number of games, which is more energy-sapping. All-in-all, I think that they will do okay, because they are a very fit side who try to play decent football. Enjoy next season!!

  • Comment number 74.

    As an Ipswich fan the result on Monday pained me to the very core of my heart and soul. After a decade being the undisputed "Best team in East Anglia", Norwich's success coupled with our own struggle of the past couple of seasons has been tough to take.
    But...
    As a football fan I have to say congrats to Lambert and his achievements. They stayed the course with a great team rather than great players. Reminds me or Burley's Ipswich team of the early millennium. Like that Ipswich team I'm sure everyone will write off Norwich to drop back down next year scoring next to no points. But as every Town fan knows we only missed the Champions League by a whisker the year after being promoted.
    Best of luck next year, you will definitely need it! With a bit of luck the East Anglian derby will only be on hiatus for a year after which it will be an EPL fixture like it should be!!

  • Comment number 75.

    My brain is still struggling to believe the result from Portman Road, how long will it take for this to sink in? :-)

    Agree with pretty much everything written so far - given where the club was two years ago it is a miracle. Looking at it objectively though, it's not that big a shock. After losing at home to Pompey in the middle of December we won 14, drew 8 and lost only 2 games; and in the last few weeks when the pressure has been on every other team in the play-off picture bottled it (except Forest maybe).

    'Norwich will be relegated as soon as he leaves because the Premier League is just too strong for little family clubs now.'

    Eh? Have you looked at a Premier League table at all this season? Up until a couple of weeks ago the top six were chasing four Champions League places and everyone else was, to a greater or lesser extent, fighting to avoid relegation. Hardly the definition of a strong league, IMHO. Of course we could argue over the definition of a 'little family club'; but Fulham, Bolton, Stoke & WBA haven't exactly embarrassed themselves this year have they? I think that the lesser Prem clubs have learnt from the likes of Portsmouth, West Ham and 'Boro that you can't just throw money at a squad and hope to survive so that levels the playing field a lot. Going by what's been served up on MoTD this season other than the obvious teams I really don't see a lot to be afraid of in the Prem next year...

    OTBC!!

  • Comment number 76.

    Congratulations to Paul Lambert and Norwich. It's great to see Paul achieve so much so quickly and I am looking forward to seeing how he adapts to the Premier League. Though Paul has never had a problem with a step up in quality, from the skinny 17 year old who played in our Scottish Cup winning team to the classy midfielder who won the Champions League. All of that and a really nice guy as well. Well done Paul.....still a St Mirren Legend!

  • Comment number 77.

    WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE! WE ARE PREMIER LEAGUE!

    It feels so good to be saying those words again... however, and as much as I'm in awe of what the manger, the players, and the whole club in general have achieved this season, I do feel there is one prevalent myth running through the comments on this board that needs tempering.

    And that is the notion that we are a poverty stricken team who have done the business without spending any money. Well, let me tell you, this is not the whole truth. Have a read of the below:

    http://swissramble.blogspot.com/2011/04/norwich-citys-remarkable-transformation.html?

    This demonstrates adequately that over the last two seasons, Norwich have been a ''buying club'' for the first time since their last Premiership foray, and the only side who actually have had a bigger net spend on transfer/loan fees this season is, you guessed it, QPR.

    No surprises there then, as to who finished in the top two (pending any possible points deductions). Though of course I don't tell the whole story - what I think is the really genius thing about the strategy under Lambert is that we have consistently bought young and/or lower league players, players whose wage demands would not break the bank. This has allowed us to assemble a highly motivated, talented squad on a relatively small wage budget (the 16th largest in the division), even if transfer fee expenditure has been quite high.

    Of course, what this really highlights is just how fantastically well everyone in the Norwich boardroom has done in the last couple of years. Delia appointed McNally who has been a godsend - and perhaps the smartest thing he and the other boardmembers have done is that, not only did they get in the right man for the job in Lambert, they've backed him to the hilt with transfer fees, which is the only way you can get the best out of any manager.

    Well done to all involved at the club, and can I just say that even if this post seems a bit po-faced, I am genuinely over the moon about seeing my team back in the big time (if I can get a ticket that is! With over 21,000 season ticket holders and away sides less likely to send back the block H tickets - as most Championship sides have done this season - I'm wondering just how often I will actually be able to go!).

    OTBC

  • Comment number 78.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 79.

    Congrats to Norwich - reckon they will last 3 seasons in the Premiership, Autumn, Winter & Spring!

  • Comment number 80.

    As an Ipswich fan this is going to hurt, but, you deserved it this season. You didn't have the best players by far, but you had the best team by miles. I hope our board have had a good look and can see what can be achieved by good management. And one other thing, enjoy your short time as the No1 team in Anglia it won't last long...........

  • Comment number 81.

    'But you miss the point, a decent sized club would be say... Crewe, and a little family club is Norwich.'

    LOL - when a Premier League manager leaves his club to manage a mid-table fourth division team I shall bike to Crewe on a unicycle whilst juggling penguins. Until that day get back under your bridge and wait for the Billy Goats Gruff. :-)

  • Comment number 82.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 83.

    Many congratulations to Norwich on winning promotion to the Premier League. The best match this season at Elland Road was when Norwich were the visitors. All three sides who won promotion from League One last season; Norwich, Leeds, Millwall, have managed to finish in the top ten in their first season in the Championship. Paul Lambert deserves massive praise and hopefully will win the Championship manager of the season award.

  • Comment number 84.

    There was an article written a few years ago about leadership titled "The triumph of humility and fierce resolve.... over arrogance". It was written about business but parallels with Paul Lambert's approach and leadership style. Brilliant result. All the best NCFC for 2011/12

  • Comment number 85.

    #74 hitmanray

    Thanks for those comments, I appreciate its probably painful but kind words. Just one thing though, you haven't been undisputed #1 team in East Anglia for last 10 years.... what about our title winning campaign in 2003/4 and Premiership season the subsequent year?!

  • Comment number 86.

    Congratulations to Norwich on your promotion and very best of luck in the Premiership. Paul Lambert was a great player for Celtic, an integral part of the team that stopped Rangers winning 10 in a row, and all Hoops supporters are delighted at his success. As far as our managership is concerned, we're 100% behind Neil Lennon, regardless of whether we win anything this season or not. Enjoy the Premiership

  • Comment number 87.

    @ #62, None of the Above...arf arf, and touche!

    But given a) the princely sum of 85000 pounds for a whole-lotta Scouse moustache was about the most expensive player in that squad of world-beating elite athletes, which wouldn't be enough to persuade Wayne Rooney to scratch his head, and b) both our grandmothers, as you well know, would only have spent the money on tea cosies and Werthers anyway, so I think we can probably let the Maxwell issue slide for now. However I do also acknowledge that his multiple millions inspired Derby to great heights after United...(!)

    However as you indicate, I do hope we never see the likes of them again. Cos that would mean that we remain the best! QED

    Good luck from Down Under

  • Comment number 88.

    Having a team that tries its heart out week in week out, for their club, where every player is passionate and proud to represent them - that in itself is enough to make every true fan happy. Well done to Paul Lambert for building that spirit.

    Automatic promotion? Amazing, but well deserved. I hope it's an example to all the prima donna "stars" out there who care more about their bank account and image than their club.

    Well done Canaries and good luck!

  • Comment number 89.

    For me, the main credit has to go to David McNally.

    He came in (after the relegation season ended), then over the summer he saw an inept manager (Bryan Gunn) who'd recently been made permanent and sacked him after 2 games (7-1 loss and 4-0 league cup win). He put huge pressure on himself by taking this decision, sacking a fans favourite with his reasons being unprofessional match preparation (presumably he made this judgement in pre-season friendlies! who sacks managers based on this?!?).

    really brave, but he brought in a manager of HIS choice, backed him and now look where we are. If he says we're staying up then i'm inclined to agree with him!

  • Comment number 90.

    "with Norwich becoming the first team since Manchester City 11 years ago to complete back-to-back promotions to the Premier League"

    Did Watford not do this after Man City or was it at the same time?

  • Comment number 91.

    Well in Australia I woke up at 2:45 to watch the match and then went on to work a 12 hour shift. I did the biggest silent celebration ever when we scored so I didn't wake up the person sleeping in the next donger or half the camp! The joy of promotion kept me awake all the time didn't feel tired once all day!

    This is brilliant I can't get over how good it is for Norwich to get back to back promotions. Well done lambert well done team!

  • Comment number 92.

    I am so proud of the whole city team and Paul Lambert!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Comment number 93.

    Well I didn't see that coming and I suspect neither did Cardiff.. I thought Norwich would fade but it just shows how important the manager Lambert is..

    This season we didn't lose to either QPR or Norwich but won't be in the play-off mix..

    A great achievement!

  • Comment number 94.

    i think
    manchester united 3-1 nowrich
    chelsea 2-1 nowrich
    birmingham 2-0 nowrich
    nowrich 0-2 man u
    nowrich 2-2 chelsea
    nowrich 1-3 birmingham

 

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