Getting to know Hugh
For the last three seasons Norwich City fans have been blessed with a settled manager. Now it's all change as Chris Hughton looks to establish the Canaries – and himself – in the Premier League.
August 11th, 2012
Norwich City fans could be forgiven for failing to raise a smile in the weeks following the end of their first season back in the top flight. Paul Lambert, the man who had taken them from the bottom of League One to 12th in the Premier League in less than three years had joined Aston Villa and Grant Holt, the team’s captain, top goalscorer and record three-times winner of the Player of the Season, had put in a transfer request after talks over a contract extension broke down.
But the Carrow Road board acted quickly, deciding that Birmingham City’s Chris Hughton was their man. The former Spurs player and assistant manager had enjoyed an impressive 2011/12 season at St Andrew’s despite limited resources along with success in his previous tenure at Newcastle United where he is still held in high regard by the Toon Army.
Following Hughton’s appointment there was further good news with Grant Holt getting that third year he so desperately wanted in order to see out his career in East Anglia. That contract extension would have been regarded as the signing of the summer had City not brought in Leeds United midfielder Robert Snodgrass. The Scottish international had been tracked by the Canaries for some time and decided to join another former Leeds United captain, Jonny Howson, at Norwich City.
Hughton has further bolstered the midfield with England Under-21 international Jacob Butterfield from Barnsley which has left that area of the pitch somewhat overcrowded so it came as no surprise to see Andrew Crofts leave Carrow Road last week to return to Brighton.
At the back, Steven Whittaker has left Rangers and the prospect of Scottish Third Division football for the bright lights of the Premier League. The Scottish international will replicate the battle for his country’s right-back berth at club level with the dependable Russell Martin. Hughton’s fourth summer signing, Michael Turner from Sunderland, adds some experience at centre-back whilst Daniel Ayala makes way with a season-long loan at Forest. The Spanish defender, signed from Liverpool last season, has plenty of potential but a season in the Championship will be beneficial for both club and player.
Whilst pre-season friendlies have seen Norwich City tighten up at the back with four clean sheets, there has also been a lack of goals at the other end. Not that such a stat should worry any Norwich City fan as Holt and Morison scored 27 goals between them last season. Not that a great deal should be read into friendly results – Bryan Gunn’s Norwich City side remained undefeated in the summer before that 7-1 defeat in the 2009/10 League One curtain raiser.
For the last three seasons Norwich City fans have been blessed with a settled manager. Now it’s all change as Chris Hughton looks to establish the Canaries – and himself – in the Premier League.
Written by Will Hudson.