From the archives: Lambert led his Canaries to ‘extraordinary’ derby day joys against Ipswich
PUBLISHED: 12:00 06 February 2019 | UPDATED: 15:15 06 February 2019
Archant © 2009
Ahead of East Anglian battle resuming, David Freezer takes a look back at Ipswich manager Paul Lambert’s interviews during 2010-11, when he led Norwich to the bragging rights with an emphatic derby double.
Paul Lambert knows exactly what is required to secure victory in an East Anglian derby.
The Scot led Norwich to a remarkable league double during City’s glorious promotion campaign of 2010-11, racking up a huge 9-2 aggregate score.
Yet almost eight years later the former Scotland midfielder finds himself the other side of the border and battling relegation, after seeing his managerial career take a nosedive.
Lambert dragged the Canaries from League One to mid-table in the Premier League after back-to-back promotions, with his derby day successes making his achievements unforgettable in Norfolk.
That was capped by a famous 5-1 triumph at Portman Road, capped by a late goal from Liverpool loanee Dani Pacheco, leaving the then Norwich boss to rave about his promotion chasers.
“I thought my team right from the off were extraordinary in the football they played,” Lambert said after that success in April 2011, which put his City team back up to second in the table.
“It was incredible, but right from the off. We were up against a team that was on fire lately and a crowd that is as vibrant as anywhere we have been.
“To come here and do what we have done I think was a big, big test of character and I thought the performance was excellent.”
He concluded: “To go to your old rivals and do it in their back yard and win the way we did and play the way we did...”
It was almost too good to be true for supporters, players and coaches but Lambert kept his cool amid the local excitement around derby day.
After a decorated playing career which included a host of honours at Celtic and a Champions League triumph with Borussia Dortmund, the former Wycombe and Colchester boss always kept his distance from the hype.
“I’ve seen most things in football but the Norwich-Ipswich game is every bit as important as Rangers-Celtic or Dortmund-Schalke because I know how important it is to the fans,” he said ahead of the first game that season.
“It should never be under-estimated. It doesn’t matter what derby you play in. I was fortunate enough to play in the Glasgow one, and then the German one which is the same. It’s vital to the people in Germany, vital to the people in Glasgow and vital to the people here.
“The main focal point is the fans and the players. Derby games, no matter how you want to look at them, are vital to the city and it is vital for us as a club to try to win it. It doesn’t matter what form people go into derby games with. It’s a cracking game for us to play.”
However, Lambert was only actually on the touchline for one of the derby battles that campaign, as he was banned from the dug-out when Town came to Carrow Road in November 2010.
The man who had led Norwich to the League One title admitted a charge of improper conduct after being sent to the stands during a feisty 3-3 draw at Reading, in which Grant Holt was sent off – which was later rescinded.
He left his technical area to check on Korey Smith after a poor challenge had gone unpunished and was then sent to the stands by referee Michael Oliver amid angry exchanges, leading to a two-game suspension.
That meant Lambert had to watch his first derby from the directors’ box, leaving assistant Ian Culverhouse in charge.
”I think I might go into that Barclay End just to see what it’s like!” joked Lambert at the time.
“I will probably be in the directors’ box. You probably need to keep your emotions intact compared to what I normally do. I need to just curtail it a wee bit.
“But Ian will know exactly what we think and there won’t be a problem. Ian is vital to me and he knows exactly what we think and knows exactly what to do so we don’t have a problem.
“Ideally I would like to be in the technical area, so I have to take it. But the game will take care of itself. The magnitude will take care of itself. The players won’t need me to stand there to know how important it is.”
He was right. City romped to a 4-1 win which contributed to the end of Roy Keane’s time in charge at Town, with skipper Grant Holt helping himself to a hat-trick in front of a watching audience of millions, with the game screened live on BBC One.
Whether he is booed or ignored at Carrow Road this Sunday lunchtime, he will always be remembered for his fantastic spell as City’s manager.
Unfortunately, the one quote you won’t be hearing from him before this match is an admission that his decision to leave for Aston Villa in 2012 was a mistake – as so many Canaries fans warned him it was at the time.