Norwich City boss Paul Lambert a leading light for top honour
I love the story about the old boy who was stopped one night on his bike by a policeman who pointed out that he didn’t have a back light.
“Well, I want to see where I’m going, not where I’ve been,” was the cyclist’s witty reply.
What has this go to do with football – and what relevance has it got to my argument that Paul Lambert has to be named the manager of the year for this season?
Well even just considering the 2011/12 campaign, I am convinced that PL should get the award.
And when you add to it where we have been (and so the link with the Canary bicycle’s rear light), he’s got to be nailed on.
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It will soon be 1,000 days since Lambert took over at Carrow Road with the club at one of the lowest low points in its proud history.
There must be the makings of a movie to coincide with the achievement of taking a football club from the depths of League One – having lost 7-1 on the opening day of the season – to mid-table safety in arguably the best domestic league in the world.
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I know the manager’s award will be given for this year’s achievements but there simply has to be context of the back-to-back promotions in the two previous years.
I would say PL’s two main rivals for the award are Brendan Rodgers and Alan Pardew.
Most City fans have probably got a little bored with the massive praise heaped on “Swans-alona” this season. They do play some lovely football and they fully deserve a second season in the top flight.
But they have fewer points than City – and we have beaten them soundly twice. And Rodgers’ starting point there was so much different to Lambert’s.
Newcastle have also had a terrific season and to be in the mix for a Champions League place is a huge achievement.
Pardew has brought in some fantastic players and it is good for football that they have rattled the cage of the Big Five.
But if you look at the resources at Pardew’s finger tips and the size of the club and how much he has been able to spend, it puts it in some context.
Having invested �21.8m and got 59 league points, that is about �360,000 per point for Newcastle.
Lambert has spent about half what Pardew has and I calculate his ratio is �280,000 per point,
So get your DJ out PL and get that acceptance speech ready.
And as we pedal on happily as City fans, we can look forward with great optimism – as well as looking back with pride and amazement.
• I’M NO JEFF BANKS, BUT THE KIT LOOKS GOOD
Well, the new kit launched on Wednesday, looks fine but not massively different to the current one.
A bit of a collar added, a minor change to the tone of the yellow and slightly different arms and while I’m no Jeff Banks, I can’t see a lot else which has altered.
I don’t tend to go for buying the new strip and I will proudly stick to wearing the “Clarkie 40” home shirt I was bought by some good friends when I had a landmark birthday a couple of years ago.
I know lots of people will shell out the �45 for a replica shirt and good luck to them. Changing the kit is nothing new and everyone does it and the argument for fans getting ripped off and kids nagging their parents to get one has been going on for years.
What is important is that Aviva has continued to provide sponsorship and we all have to celebrate that support and stability.
I’m not at all surprised that the Norwich-based insurance giant has made the decision and the bosses must see the rosy future ahead.
And to be fair they deserve to be linked to the success of the Canaries now having stuck with us during the lean years including the season in League One.
Every new kit launch has to be accompanied by a video and the Pass It On film produced by the club is entertaining and worth a watch.
I have to confess I prefer the last one which was shot at Colney – and an even better piece of film work was the video the Evening News and EDP sport teams filmed last summer!
And if an award is ever made for the worst football video ever produced, the ITFC creation will walk off with the gong unchallenged.
• Hero of the week: I love football chants and there was some great banter aimed at the Man City players and fans on Saturday. My heroes are those fans who kept coming up with new witty songs such as “sub cos you’re English” and “He wants to go home, he wants to go home, Carlos Tevez he wants to go home.” And there were some others I can’t really repeat in a family paper (but were very clever . . . )
• Villain of the week: Yes, he scored an excellent hat-trick and yes he was too hot to handle at times on Saturday. But Carlos Tevez is a clear winner of my boo boy gong. I found his golf club swing celebration insulting to those fans he had let down so badly for so many months and his post-match interview was even worse. He is everything which is wrong about overpaid, prima donna top players.
• Highlight of the week: I know it is just over a week since the win at Spurs, but Elliott Bennett’s strike was just so superb that he can get away with it getting the gong. I can’t see it being beaten as the City goal of the season and to have done it in front of the massed ranks of Canaries fans at White Hart Lane and to have won the match was very, very special.
• Funniest moment of the week: City striker Simeon Jackson appears to have been the victim of a practical joke by his team-mates which wins this week’s comedy award. While the vast majority of the Canaries squad were enjoying the horse racing action at Yarmouth, Jacko was also at the races – but unfortunately for him at Newmarket! It caused lots of mickey taking on Twitter (and Mr Ruddy seems to have played a central part in it) and I’m sure SJ won’t be able to forget it in a hurry.
• Prediction of the week: I quite like Steve Kean. He has come in for an unfair amount of flak from the Ewood Park fans this season and has maintained a real dignity. But I predict we could bang a real nail in his coffin on Saturday. The City players will be eager to get the last 20 minutes from Saturday out of their systems and I can see a 3-1 away win.