Blog: Omens look good for Lambert if history repeats
7th Jun 2012
Never mind the fact that the 42-year-old Scot had guided Norwich City from League One to the top-flight in consecutive seasons, or that he has just masterminded a mid-table Barclays Premier League finish on a modest budget.
The only credential Paul Lambert really required in the eyes of supporters in the know was the mere fact that he was the Canaries boss.
Apart from becoming Villa's 24th manager, he is also the third to have been in full-time charge at both Carrow Road and Villa - and the other two, Ron Saunders and Martin O'Neill, rank among the most successful in the club's history.
Indeed, Saunders is arguably THE most successful - and he didn't fare too badly in the two seasons prior to his appointment to the Villa Park hot-seat, either.
In 1973, he guided Norwich to the League Cup final, in which they were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham Hotspur; in 1974 he was back at Wembley with Manchester City, once more tasting defeat as the Maine Road men went down 2-1 to Wolves.
Twelve months later, amazingly, he headed down Wembley Way yet again, this time as Villa boss and this time as a winner as the club's centenary season was marked by a 1-0 victory over - ironically - Norwich City.
That was only for starters for Saunders, of course.
Two years later there was another League Cup triumph, Everton finally being overcome 3-2 in extra-time at Old Trafford after stalemates at Wembley at Hillsborough in the first two instalments of the final.
And by the time he departed in February 1982, Villa were league champions and on the cusp of European Cup glory.
Much as we might like to dream, it would be totally unrealistic to expect our new boss to scale such dizzy heights during his time here.
But if following Saunders is effectively Mission Impossible, it's a fair bet the new boss will be aiming to emulate O'Neill.
The Irishman's initial task, much as Lambert's is now, was to steady the ship.
Villa had finished 16th the previous season (sound familiar?) but an impressive start and an equally solid run-in took them to a respectable 11th in 2006-07.
Top six places were achieved in each of O'Neill's subsequent three campaigns at the helm, accompanied in 2010 by trips to Wembley for the Carling Cup final and FA Cup semi-final.
Most Villa supporters would happily settle for something along those lines during the new manager's tenure but let's not think about running before we walk.
Right now, mid-table respectability next season, hopefully allied to attractive football, seems mighty appealing.
Anything beyond that should be regarded as a bonus.
rob bishop, blogs,
More from this bloggerAll blogs
Most popular blogs