Paul Lambert. Wolves Head Coach. Not a sentence we would have all envisioned at the start of 2016.
However the Scotsman has the task of stabilising a side which has promise, but it’s foundations are rocking. A club which has tried to reboot its tiring franchise but it’s changes have been too drastic and needs to return to their roots (Got a TV/film example? I would appreciate your comparison).
Lambert probably wasn’t the name most expected to land the role when Zenga was sacked a couple of weeks ago, but the former Blackburn manager was the best of an available bunch.
Recently on the podcast I mentioned how this would be the first big decision for Fosun.
Although we may initially be underwhelmed by the choice, because Fosun and co went for a set criteria for their next choice (British, Championship experience at the top end of the table), the available candidates as such were sparse.
The option could have been there to go out and entice a manager from elsewhere, but a settled manager would have been hard to convince to join, even with an open chequebook.
Ironcially Fosun and co set a criteria for their next head coach which wouldn’t have been out of place in Moxey’s era.
Jeff Shi was quite vocal for his desire for Jez Moxey to stay at Wolves on Fosun’s takeover press conference. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but perhaps there was more to Jeff’s wish for Jez to stay than we think.
On paper Paul Lambert is a good choice. He took Norwich from League One to the Premier League in consecutive seasons and perhaps left the foundations in place for the Norwich we see now.
He tried to push forward an Aston Villa team where the role was starting to become a poison chalice and kept a Blackburn side in the Championship under similar circumstances.
Wolves will look to the success he brought at Norwich and hope he can replicate something similar.
Lambert had consistency on his side at Carrow Road in their double promotion, something similar for which Kenny Jackett nearly achieved nearly two seasons ago.
That’s why Lambert will need time and patience. Not just from the club, but from all of us.
Rome wasn’t built in the day and if that same success at Norwich can be achieved then we all must expect and embrace more rough patches with the good.
Wolves need stability again and Lambert will hopefully be the man to bring this. He will already have three big tasks on his hands. Stability, Selection & Scoring.
Lambert will need to stabilise the side’s decline. This might mean for the time being grinding out results and playing unattractive football for the greater good.
He will need to find and pick a consistent starting eleven, especially in defence. Tactics will change a side every few games but Wolves need a consistent starting eleven to help produce consistent performances and results.
Finally the most important factor in football – goals. Wolves have the link up play but lack that killer touch. With Dicko still getting used to first team action and Bodvarsson drying up, he needs to get his strikers and most of the side firing on all cylinders again.
From then on, expect things to go back to the way they were. Signings will be more accustomed to a Championships side. Wolves will keep their relationship with Mendes but perhaps more distanced than before. At the end of the day, you still want to utilise the client list of the most powerful agent in football.
It isn’t unreasonable to say that Wolves could still mount a surge for the play offs but the goal for now is to steadily rise up the league.
Just like any manager or head coach who takes on the reigns at Molineux, I want them to succeed and I hope the same for Lambert.
Paul Lambert is about to enter then wolf’s den. Let’s hope he can get the howling again.