We are Premier League
PUBLISHED: 14:44 04 May 2012
Norwich City are now mathematically safe. These magic words became a reality after we saw QPR defeated on Sunday. So where do we go from here?
The club has had a really difficult run-in. To have to end our first season back in the Premier League with five out of the last seven games against experienced teams that are safely in the top half of the table has been tough.
My only regret is the below-par defeat at Blackburn, but set that against the draw with in-form Everton and the win at Spurs. We have done OK.
That Paul Lambert will be our manager next season I have no doubt. How he and the team perform is up for debate. He has said this week that he can’t comment on “second season syndrome” because he’s never been there before, and he has also said the squad needs strengthening. Undeniable! He is brilliant at stating the obvious to the press, but these two statements hold the key to next season survival.
The manager and his staff plus the players have been on the biggest learning curve possible this season. We have seen some brilliant games and good results, but also some naive errors from players and some wayward team selection. That phrase “lessons have been learned” always sounds condemnatory of past performance but in Norwich City’s case the lessons of 2011/12 are that we are good enough for the Premier League, and we will do better.
The learning process has been entertaining, exciting and occasionally painful but has been a positive experience because, contrary to expectation outside our fan base at the start of the season, we are still here!
The club and its fans have made a lot of friends this season. Suspicious sports journalists and pundits have learned most of our players’ names and we have even got off bottom spot on Match of the Day a few times. The team with its mix of Premier league rejects and Championship/League One talent has won respect .
Paul Lambert brought in eight players during this season and has said he needs as many more. There are a few obvious areas that need strengthening and there will be a bit of cash to spend - but certainly not to splash. I am confident that the money will be spent wisely and that we will be helped by the reputation that the club has been building this season which will attract more of those hungry young players who serve us so well.