Lambert – For The Outsiders Looking In…
RUMOURS are circling Carrow Road like seagulls over a couple holding a bundle of chips down the coast. The media and Aston Villa fans appear to be swirling themselves into a fit excitement, though even if Lambert does make the move to Villa Park, that alone will not guarantee success. It’s easy to look upon a good manager as the messiah, the one who makes things tick. But looking back over time, Brian Clough made the bizarre move to Leeds United at one stage. Prior to the move, his relationship with his trusty right-hand man Peter Taylor broke down. Taylor refused to move from Brighton and subsequently became manager, while Clough endured a quite torrid time at Leeds. Of course, by no means are Paul Lambert and Brian Clough similar characters. Nor is Aston Villa a club that have had a manager in charge for a lengthy time, bringing great success and forging fantastic relationships with players. But nevertheless Lambert does have a trust right-hand man in Ian Culverhouse. Lambert linked up with Culverhouse for the first time at Wycombe Wanderers, where the Scot led the League 2 side to the latter stages of the Carling Cup whilst missing out on promotion narrowly in the play-offs. Culverhouse followed him to Colchester, where one season in charge saw a win ratio of 44%, before eventually Norwich came calling and they went there.
When you hear the former Celtic midfielder in interviews, he’s always quick to praise Culverhouse and Gary Karsa – two key factors of his backroom staff. Neither Karsa or Lambert have history at Norwich, aside from the last 3 years. However, Culverhouse clearly does – making 297 appearances for the club in years gone by. He’s been a major part of recent success and if Lambert did go, I’m not sure Culverhouse would be entirely all too happy to join him this time. In fact I could potentially see Cully having a shot at the job at Carrow Road. Now before questioning, of course Norwich have had bad experiences with that approach of late. Bryan Gunn didn’t have the best of times, nor did Peter Grant but Culverhouse appears to have more about him. A good manager has to have good people around him, an individual means nothing. Take one of your big teams, league champions Manchester City as an example. Do you get Aguero and Silva to flourish without the hard working Barry and De Jong around them? They do the hard work, they make them look good. Of course they have the natural talent to flourish, but without all of them together – it does not work as well. As is often coined, ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’, Lambert is very good but he’s an influence in Norwich City doing so well. He isn’t a sole cause, he’s done a fantastic job but without David McNally he wouldn’t be at the club, without Bryan Gunn signing Grant Holt, he wouldn’t have him, without Delia, he wouldn’t have the funds, without the fans there wouldn’t be so much backing and support, you could go on. If, buts, maybes but all influences in success – not Lambert alone.
This brings me to my conclusion, Culverhouse has a history at Norwich, a great affiliation and in truth there’s not every chance he’d be entirely content at following Lambert away. They have a close working relationship, they’ve achieved great things but there’s just something about it that I can’t see Culverhouse being happy about it. There’s no inside knowledge, no ‘sources’ as some of the jokers on the internet rattle on about! I could just see the relationship breaking down, of course I may end up with egg on my face and looking like a right plonker. But overall, Lambert alone won’t be as successful as Lambert with Culverhouse at his side.
We now wait, watch and see.
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