Iwan Roberts: Managerial exits ... from a player's perspective

New Norwich City head coach, Dean Smith, at Carrow Road, with Stuart Webber,

New Norwich City head coach Dean Smith - a good choice for the job, says Iwan Roberts - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY

With Dean Smith's appointment as the new head coach of Norwich City it's a fresh start for everyone - all the players have a clean slate and every one of them should be raring to go. 

Some players will have been majorly disappointed with Daniel Farke leaving the club, but there will be one or two who will be happy to see the back of him for one reason or another - that's the nature of football. 

There were some managers I was gutted to see leave my club - Graham Taylor when he left Watford to join Aston Villa, Eoin Hand when he was sacked at Huddersfield Town. He’d shown so much faith in me, paying a club record fee for me at the time when I’d played only a handful of first team games. 

When Brian Little walked away from Leicester to join Aston Villa I was devastated as he was right up there with the best managers I’d ever played under. 

Mike Walker

Mike Walker lost his job at Norwich City at the end of Iwan Roberts' first season at Carrow Road - Credit: Archant

I think the one that hurt me the most was when Mike Walker was relieved of this duties after my first season at the football club. I took that one very personally as I’d not performed anywhere near what I was capable of and nowhere near the outlay the club had paid for me. Simply, I’d let Mike down badly and he was the one who paid the price - and boy it made me feel guilty. 

But as players you can't mope about the place, you can't walk about with your chin on the floor - you have to get over the disappointment sharpish and get on with your job. That's what I had to do after MIke left and Bruce Rioch took over. That season under Bruce was my best at Norwich, scoring 24 goals, so as you can see it didn’t take me long, but I couldn’t help feeling that had I performed like that the previous season, Mike would still have been our manager. 

I like Dean Smith and Ii hope he does well at Norwich. By the looks of things it was between Dean and Frank Lampard and I think the club made the right choice - and I'll give you my reasons. 

I’ve nothing against Frank at all; I just don’t think he was the right man for the job. Yes, he took Derby to a sixth-placed finish and the play-off final in his only season there and was praised to the hilt for it. The season before Frank took over, Gary Rowett was Derby’s manager and his team also finished sixth, but Gary’s team won one more point, scored one more goal and had a much better defensive record - and he was sacked for it. 

Most Read

His Chelsea team that finished fourth had the worst defensive record in the top half of the Premier League. Crystal Palace and Brighton, who finished 14th and 15th respectively, conceded fewer goals than Chelsea. 

I think Dean can come in and make his mark defensively on this team, and let's be honest, it needs sorting.

After guiding Villa to promotion in 2018-19 via the play-offs he became an instant hero with the Villa fans. Mind you, I guess it did help that he was a massive Villa fan himself. His first season in the Premier League was a bit of a struggle, with Villa finishing 17th, but it could have been much worse had VAR been working at Villa Park in their first game after the re-start when Sheffield United had a clear goal not given when the ball was adjudged not to have crossed the line when it clearly did. Villa stayed up by a single point above Bournemouth, who had a better goal difference. 

Last season, Villa were a different team and it was based on a solid defence. They had the sixth best defensive record in the league - only Manchester City's Ederson and Edouard Mendy, of Chelsea, kept more clean sheets than Emi Martinez. 

Smith lost his job at Villa after a run of five defeats, but three of those came against teams that were bang in-form - Wolves, Arsenal and West Ham - so losing his job was a bit harsh if you ask me. 

He’s got 27 games to keep Norwich in the Premier League and I wish him all the very best in achieving this. Football can be a funny old game at times - his last game in charge for Villa was a 1-0 loss away to Southampton and his first game in charge of Norwich is a home game against the Saints - what a chance for revenge.