Paul Lambert ‘never worried’ over Norwich City speculation
Norwich City fans heard news that was music to their ears on Wednesday as Paul Lambert agreed a “new and improved” contract at Carrow Road.
The man who masterminded the Canaries’ historic back-to-back promotions from League One to the Premier League, as well as assistant Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa, have put pen to paper – ending a week of speculation over the trio’s future.
The national press suggested last week negotiations over a new deal for Lambert had stalled, as well as the idea relegated West Ham saw him as their number one target to replace Avram Grant.
Both Norwich City and Lambert were keeping quiet on the length of the City boss’ new deal, which had rumoured to range from four years to an improved version of his 12-month rolling contract.
And Lambert felt people were “adding two plus two and getting 944” over the recent reports, as well as his own future at Norwich.
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“I don’t worry about anything, it was just people who are outside the football club who were getting worried about things,” said Lambert.
“I never really pay much attention to the speculation. As long as I knew myself what’s going on, it was never really a problem.”
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City chairman Alan Bowett described the negotiations as “protracted and professional” and Lambert said: “There was never any animosity or anything about it; I was up in Scotland and wasn’t down here so things were dragging on a bit, but there was never any pressure from anybody (to sign).”
He added: “It’s terrific for myself and Ian and Gary. We came here together and we’ve never indicated we wanted to leave, but I think you tend to find that when something gets reported everybody latches on to it, which is wrong until you hear it from myself.
“It was never a monetary thing or anything. I never wanted to go anywhere. There never was speculation because it wasn’t me generating it.”
Bowkett confirmed his delight at yesterday’s news: “What Paul, his staff and the players have helped the club to achieve since he joined us has been absolutely incredible,” he told City’s official website.
“Therefore after protracted and professional negotiations, we are thrilled to report we have a new deal. Paul has stressed to me he has never wished to leave as he and the fans have unfinished business in the Premier League.
“We have always said our aim was to make Norwich City an established Premier League club and we’ll be doing everything in our power to support Paul as he works with us towards that goal.”
The news of Lambert’s new deal was greeted with understandable glee from City fans, while on Twitter chief executive David McNally called it a “huge day” for the club.
What was clear from Lambert was his desire to get on with the task of moulding his squad into one that can compete in arguably the continent’s strongest league.
“Now we can try and get players in that David knows about and he’ll do his best to try and get them in,” said Lambert.
“It’s not going to be easy that, but we have to try and give the current group a hand and that’s what we’ve got to try and to. We want to try and make this club the best it can possibly be.
“The club have been great since day one. It wasn’t good when we first came in due to the financial problems but they’ve stabilised it a bit and obviously being in the Premier League has boosted it even further, and if we can have a fighting chance to stay in the league, that’s what I’ll want to try and do.
“The club will support us the best way they can but I don’t think it would ever go as close to going out of things as what happened a few years ago.”
The rise since Lambert and his background team arrived in August 2009 has been miraculous – and the thought of Premier League football already has some supporters dreaming of big-name signings.
Yet the Norwich boss was keen to ensure fans remain realistic over the players he is likely to bring in this summer.
“I think everyone knows we’ll try and get players in to help that current group, but regarding the likes of Michael Owen and people like that, there is absolutely no way that can happen at Norwich,” said Lambert.
“That’s just pure fantasy football, people looking at Playstations or whatever they are. It’s just not going to happen and that is me being totally honest.
“I’ll get lads in that might just give us a hand and will actually want to play for the club, rather than just come maybe to make some decent money and not really put their shoulder to the wheel.
“I need lads that are going to be every bit as hungry as the lads that are already here.
“That’s my job, to try and get the lads in I think will help the current group to go and do it and if this time next year we are still in the league, then that will be one hell of an achievement.”