Huge relief as Lambert rules out Burnley job
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert uttered the words all Norwich City fans wanted to hear yesterday - 16 times.As the bookies continued to make him the red-hot favourite to take over at Burnley, Lambert stressed time and again that he was committed to the Norwich City cause, finding a number of ways to say the same thing: "I'm staying put".
Paul Lambert uttered the words all Norwich City fans wanted to hear yesterday - 16 times.
As the bookies continued to make him the red-hot favourite to take over at Burnley, Lambert stressed time and again that he was committed to the Norwich City cause, finding a number of ways to say the same thing: "I'm staying put".
The announcement of a couple of new signings would suggest it was business as usual.
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"I love it here," said Lambert, as he prepared for this afternoon's home game against Exeter City. "I have got a great rapport with people and as I said at the time, this football club is a special place and the fans and the players have been absolutely terrific, so I am not going anywhere.
"I am not going, I am staying. I hear people saying I have not always stayed at clubs for a long time. I stayed at Wycombe for a couple of years, Colchester I left because I was told I could come and speak to Norwich. It is not to my own detrimental choice that I have left any club, it's just things have happened, but I am certainly not going to leave this club, no."
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Lambert admitted the prospect of managing in the Premier League was an enticing prospect, especially given City's parlous financial state - but once again, was adamant it was not on his current agenda.
"It appeals to everybody, but all you need to know is I am not going anywhere, I'm staying here," he insisted. "We have got a club going the right way, albeit it has got financial things going on at the minute, but we have got a crowd on our side that is as vibrant as any.
"The team are going brilliantly and I just feel it is right for me to stay here. I don't want to go anywhere."
A major draw for Lambert when he controversially left Colchester in August to replace Bryan Gunn was the size of the crowd that was just about set in stone at the 24,000-plus mark for every home game. Lambert is operating against a background of continuing financial losses, but says they do not impinge on his job.
"I don't really worry about it because I can't do anything about it," he said. "What you have got here is adulation from a crowd which is phenomenal and the most pleasing thing is to get a club going when it was ailing, and to do what we've done in a short space of time has been absolutely terrific - and I am not going to walk out on it. I am not going to walk out on this football club, that's for sure.
"We have started something, we will try and take it a long, long way. I know the finances of it. Is it something that makes me frightened, to walk out on it? No. Because the crowd are a major part of this. As I said when we came from Colchester I never really knew much of the finances then, but did it stop me from coming? No, not a jot, because the club is huge and I wanted to give it a go to see if we could get it up and running.
"I'm quite sure if you asked most people in this stadium, yes, they enjoy what they see with the lads and how they are performing.
"The two of them are bouncing off each other, which is great.
"If you turn down a Premiership club to stay in League One it might just give you a wee bit more credit than what a lot of people think.
"So, as is said, I am not going anywhere until maybe Norwich sack me - which could be after Saturday. I am not going anywhere.
"If Manchester United came tomorrow would we get any more people in the stadium than what we will for Exeter? We wouldn't, and that is the biggest marker I think at a football club when you get a fan base as good as what it is and it keeps on coming week in, week out and it is going away from home and it's taking all its allocation. You just like to think you have a special thing going with fans. I am not na�ve, I know that could revolt within two games. At this minute in time it is an absolute privilege to be here."
The main business of the afternoon - this afternoon's game with Exeter - was always in danger of being lost amid the speculative chatter, with Lambert hoping to get an edge on the likes of Charlton and Colchester, whose games have been postponed.
"I hope it goes on, it will just be the surroundings and the safety of people coming to the game, and Exeter as well, their travelling," he said.
"If we do win it would be great and it gives you that little edge, but you don't want a backlog of games. We have already got one with the Walsall game (on Tuesday) and I think that look unlikely to go ahead even at this stage.
"I don't want a backlog of games where we are getting stop-start, stop-start. If we can get the game played tomorrow and hopefully win the game it keeps it going."