Paul Lambert's credentials make him a great choice for Stoke City

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 16 January 2018, 10:14

PAUL LAMBERT’S most recent job ended abruptly after a ‘football review’ at Wolves.

So with him back in work as the immediately unpopular new manager at failing Stoke City, let’s do just that and review his football - and the credentials which make him a great choice for a club in need of a steady hand.

Lambert suffers from ‘Big Sam’ disease. It’s an affliction which guarantees a chorus of groans from the fans whenever you rock up at their club.

Sam Allardyce and Lambert share a reputation for taking a sledgehammer to entertainment values in an age when everyone wants their team to be Manchester City on ice and their manager to sparkle like Bruno Tonioli.

West Ham supporters have just learned a valuable lesson on this subject.

Within hours of David Moyes’ appointment they had constructed a song about the new manager taking them down, down, down.

Instead it’s been upwards and onwards to the fringes of the top half of the Premier League and four goals away from home last Saturday.

We’d all love Lambert to ring a little bell or tell a side-splitting gag at the start of every press conference but now is not the time for that at Stoke City who sit 18th in the table and staring at relegation.

It was similar scenario when Lambert arrived at Norwich from Colchester in 2009 with the club 23rd out of the 24 teams in League One. Southampton were only bottom because of a points deduction. Goofing around just wouldn’t have looked right would it?

Ten months later Norwich were promoted. A year later Lambert did it again - on a relatively low budget. He signed Grant Holt who scored 30 goals the first year, 28 the second and at one point was on the fringes of an England call up.

In the Championship the motto was ‘you score two and we’ll score three’.

Norwich fans still remember the moment Holt performed a Cruyff turn at Everton and scored. There’s a rumour Norwich made a DVD of it. He plundered 17 goals that season.

Lambert is considered by the Norwich fans as the best manager in the club’s history and he produced good football.

In 2012 at one point they were 12th in the Premier League - 55 places better off than when Lambert took over with the club on its knees.

At Aston Villa, Lambert’s brief was to keep the club in the top flight with a message from then owner Randy Lerner that ‘this will be the most difficult job of your career’.

He signed Christian Benteke and got the best out of Fabian Delph. He was sacked in February 2015 with Villa 18th - the first time he had ever been in the bottom three of the Premier League.

Blackburn was in a mess when Lambert walked in. A one-time midfielder and European Cup winner with Bayern Munich so he should know his stuff.

And he was wise enough to insert a clause in his contract allowing him to leave if the club did not come good on the early promises of money to turn things around. He did just that when all the fans wanted him to stay. Blackburn went from bad to worse after he left.

At Wolves he inherited a team 19th in the Championship. His high point was taking the team to Anfield and winning in the FA Cup - outsmarting Jurgen Klopp.

Wolves were four places higher in the division when Lambert left following the fatal ‘football review’. But before he left he signed John Ruddy and Ryan Bennett - two players doing great things. Ruddy has just kept his 15th clean sheet.

There’s been drama, thrilling football, organised teams and now a proven track record of getting teams out of trouble.

Maybe those hard-to-please Stoke fans were holding out for Pep Guardiola or they have just swallowed all the old baloney that follows Lambert, Allardyce and Moyes around.


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