Posted on Jun 02
Former Norwich coach Paul Lambert was on Saturday unveiled as the new manager of Aston Villa, the Premier League club announced.
A brief statement on Villa's website read: "The board of Aston Villa are delighted to confirm that Paul Lambert has been appointed Villa manager."
Lambert joined Villa 48 hours after resigning from Norwich, amid reports the Birmingham club had paid their top flight rivals £1 million in compensation for the manager.
The Scot succeeded compatriot Alex McLeish, sacked at the end of last season, after Villa -- champions of Europe in 1982 -- finished just two points above the relegation zone.
By contrast, newly promoted Norwich closed in a respectable 12th place under Lambert's guidance.
The 42-year-old, who won the Champions League as a player with German club Borussia Dortmund in 1997, is Villa's fourth manager in less than two years.
Villa have struggled since Martin O'Neill, under whom they enjoyed three successive top six finishes, resigned seemingly in protest at US-based owner Randy Lerner's reluctance to release more funds for new signings.
France's Gerard Houllier, best known in England for his time in charge of Liverpool, replaced O'Neill but had to quit before the start of the season just gone on health grounds, while former Birmingham boss McLeish was never accepted by Villa's fans, having previously been in charge of their cross-town rivals.
As a manager, Lambert worked his way up through the lower leagues with Wycombe and Colchester before joining Norwich in 2009 and leading the Canaries to back-to-back promotions from the third tier of English football.
One of the rising stars among British managers, along with former Swansea boss Brendan Rodgers, put in charge of Liverpool on Friday, Lambert is seen by many as an 'ideal fit' for Villa.
That was the view of Villa midfielder Barry Bannan, who said before Lambert's appointment: "He has done very well with Norwich and the clubs he was at before then.
"He has a good record up until now so hopefully if it is Lambert he can be as successful with us as he has with his previous teams.
"Obviously last season wasn't the best for a team as big as us. We should have been way higher up the league and I think (the board) see Lambert as an up-and-coming manager that is doing really well, so it is going to be a massive lift for everyone, the fans and the players as well."
Lerner also held talks with former Manchester United star Ole Gunnar Solskjaer but he opted to stay at Molde in Norway for family reasons, although he was not formally offered the Villa post.
Villa Park officials are also understood to have spoken to the advisors of Wigan manager Roberto Martinez, who also held talks with Liverpool.
It is believed Lambert will be given transfer funds and use the money he generates from the sale of current Villa players after McLeish spent last season reducing what he called an "astronomical" wage bill.
Norwich, despite initially rejecting Lambert's resignation, had already started their search for a new manager with chief executive David McNally saying Friday: "We are looking for a new manager, that is likely what we concentrate on in the next few weeks."
He added: "Paul Lambert has been fantastic for this football club for three years and he will quite rightly take his place in Norwich City history and we will always be very grateful to Paul for his achievements here."