As expected, Norwich City have confirmed today that Chris Hughton has been appointed as their new manager.
The great Chris Hughton – already wearing the right tie – he’s not daft
The 53-year-old replaces Paul Lambert at Carrow Road, after Paul took up the job at Aston Villa earlier in the week.
It seems that Chris has signed a three-year deal and as we reported earlier today, he is taking his backroom of assistant manager Colin Calderwood, first-team coach Paul Trollope and chief scout Ewan Chester with him to Norwich.
The former Newcastle United manager, who tasted real success at Newcastle, in his short 18 months in charge, had this to say today:
“As soon as the call came, due to the standing Norwich have, and their Premier League status, it was something that excited me,” “I’m very excited about the challenge ahead.” “It has all be done so suddenly and I am delighted to be here.” “It was difficult to leave Birmingham,”
“I had a very good year there and the supporters have been excellent with me.” “It’s a wonderful club and I had a good relationship with the staff and the players so I’m grateful to them for allowing me to have this opportunity.”
Paul Lambert looks like a star manager in the making, and in a short three seasons he took Norwich from near the bottom of League One to successive promotions, and a good season of consolidation in the Premier League, where the Canaries finished in 12th position on 47 points.
That’s the position Newcastle finished in a year ago, but with one point less on 46 points.
Chris has admitted it will be difficult taking over from Paul:
“The job Paul has done here in the last three years is a wonderful achievement.” “To rise from the first division to the Premier League for someone in management is a tough task and everyone appreciates the job he did.”
“It will be a hard act to follow but it’s about making progress, making sure we have stability in this division now.”
Norwich CEO David McNally has said Hughton was always the East Anglia club’s number one choice:
“We looked at the UK and international market, and had a detailed look at who was available and who wasn’t and we wanted to try to find the person who could take us forward.”
“This is one of the best times in the club’s history financially so we think the job is attractive to managers around the world.”
“We thought it was key to have top-league experience, preferably in the Premier League and at the end of it all we looked at the names and Chris stood out as number one candidate. We recognised that unanimously.”
As we said earlier today, Hughton’s first job is to persuade 31 year-old striker Grant Holt, who hit 15 Premier League goals last season, to stay on at Carrow Road, after he has already asked for a transfer, which was turned down.
Chris talked about the top striker:
“He is a quality player, no doubt about that. And with his record – to score the goals he did last season – there wouldn’t be any manager coming in who wouldn’t want to keep a player of that quality.”
“I’ve only just come through the door a few minutes ago so I have not had the opportunity to speak with him but that will be one of the priorities.” “He is contracted to this club. He won player of the season for the last three seasons so I absolutely would like him here.”
But Norwich fans will find out that Chris will not want to keep anybody at the club who doesn’t want to stay there, and he will get the lads together, and there will a great team spirit continuing at Carrow Road.
McNally agreed with what Chris had to say about Holt (that’s a surprise):
“We want him to stay. He is our captain and has been our top scorer for the last three years.” “He is not for sale and we would not encourage anyone to bid for him.”
This seems a win-win situation for both parties, with Chris getting a great club to manage, and Norwich City getting one of the real gentleman of football, who did wonders for Newcastle United.
We’ll never forget what he did for the Tyneside club, in its great time of need.
And Chris will get a fantastic welcome from the Geordie fans, when Norwich City visit St. James’ Park next season, that’s for sure, and it’s a game to look forward to.