Don’t worry about new Norwich City boss Chris Hughton
The phrase ‘It’s a whole new ball game’ takes on a different meaning for Norwich City – and a clutch of other clubs this season.
Forget the new boys who have come up from the Championship – their shiny new Premier League gloss could well wear thin soon enough. It’s the new manager, not new status, that makes this season look a little more intriguing.
City, of course, have Chris Hughton in the hot seat following three action-packed seasons under Paul Lambert.
It will be a little difficult to shake off the after-effects of what Lambert achieved at Carrow Road – few clubs, few sets of supporters, will have experienced such a ride. We should be grateful for it – events like that come around once in a lifetime.
But Hughton isn’t alone in facing a new campaign with a new club – there are half a dozen other managers in the same position. Brendan Rodgers starts life as Liverpool boss, Lambert is at Aston Villa, Michael Laudrup at Swansea, Steve Clarke at West Brom, Andre Villas-Boas at Spurs and Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea – who has a head start, given that he was caretaker at the back end of last season.
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But in truth, seven managers will step out in new roles. Add to that the three who came up, and half of the top flight teams who are not quite 100pc sure what the future holds.
They all have a degree of pedigree, but it’s a big bad world where the failure rate is ridiculously high.
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For some Norwich City fans there seems to be an apprehension about the new season, brought on no doubt by the fact that they didn’t want the previous ride to stop. Now they’ve had to get off while the driver was changed and board again, unsure of whether the journey will be bumpy or smooth.
But that change may not hurt City as badly as some believe: the chances of second season syndrome, if it does exist, may not have been entirely eradicated, but perhaps slightly eroded. Had Lambert stayed, the syndrome would be there to observe, but doesn’t Hughton’s arrival mean a fresh start and, therefore, something more akin to first season syndrome? If it exists.
I’m not at all sure Lambert didn’t go at just the right time for City. If his team was ‘found out’ last season – and it was at times – then the same team would certainly be exposed again this term. But who knows what a Hughton Norwich City team looks like or how they will play? It’s a fresh look, and for that reason, perhaps City will fare better than they might have done had nothing changed.