Lambert offers hope job may be for life

Digesting news this week of spiraling unemployment figures, I scoured the national press, listened to a live radio debate and wore out my search engine.

By Donald Parish

Digesting news this week of spiraling unemployment figures, I scoured the national press, listened to a live radio debate and wore out my search engine. Though I found no mention of the 20,000 plus jobs created at Carrow Road this summer. Yet for the many season ticket holders at NR1, not to mention a legion of exiled Canaries, this year may prove a job alike no other. With the team in yet another (semi-permanent) state of transition, the prospect of many repeats of the Walsall bore draw looms ominously. We have our work cut out this year that is for sure.

Living and working in London means meeting many fantastic new people on a regular basis. A new acquaintance, work colleague, client, the inevitable question arises. "So what football team do you support then?" "Oh. Really?"

Caught off guard, many recover quickly to make some vague acknowledgement, nodding knowingly and inquiring politely about the wellbeing of Jeremy Goss or Delia Smith. Recently however I've noticed some new responses:

Didn't you just sack your manager after one game?

How did you lose 7-1 at home to Colchester?!

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The club may be the lowest ebb for generations, yet for that crazy fortnight in August our media currency has rarely been higher. Five weeks after the sleepy streets of Exeter rang out to the sound of Gunnfire, we have a manager who seems absorbed by the challenge of shaking this great club to it's very foundations. Senior players have been reduced to handing out the bibs, balls and cones at Colney. Babes in arms are holding the baby in central midfield. And we have absolutely no idea what will be coming next. After three successive managers, two of whom talked a good game and one who was just good at talking, the inscrutable Lambert gives little away. Quietly, he is gaining our trust.

The MK Dons defeat in midweek was desperately difficult to take, without the added realisation that this was team that did not even exist 6 years ago. To be on the wrong end of two blatant penalty calls, to suffer three key injuries inside 50 minutes, this was simply not meant to be our night. Yet under Lambert, I feel curiously sure of better nights ahead. We are looking more solid already, with no goals conceded now in open play for four league matches. We look like we may even win the odd away game, although it would help if I stayed away. The last five seasons have seen me visit 35 away grounds and enjoy the sweet flavour of victory just twice.

The visit of Charlton today will not yet define our season, but points are crucial to bridge the gap at the top and continue our upward momentum under Paul Lambert. The ground will be packed and there will be a Championship feel to the proceedings. However Gillingham (a) and Leyton Orient (h) to come will prove the acid taste of our expectations this year. With a young, fledgling side, it may just be that a season of consolidation and steady improvement is the best we can demand. Patience will be the key. That is our job.