Norwich unveil Chris Hughton as new manager

 

Norwich have confirmed the appointment of Chris Hughton as their new manager.

The 53-year-old replaces Paul Lambert at Carrow Road, following the Scot's decision to leave for Barclays Premier League rivals Aston Villa.

Hughton was in charge at Birmingham but had been granted permission by the Championship side to speak to the Canaries.

Hughton has penned a three-year deal at Carrow Road and takes three members of his Blues backroom staff - assistant manager Colin Calderwood, first-team coach Paul Trollope and chief scout Ewan Chester.

The former Newcastle boss admits the offer of a return to Barclays Premier League football with the Canaries was too good to turn down.

"As soon as the call came, due to the standing Norwich have, and their Premier League status, it was something that excited me," Hughton said.

"I'm very excited about the challenge ahead.

"It has all be done so suddenly and I am delighted to be here."

Hughton took Birmingham to fourth in the npower Championship but his team were knocked out in the play-off semi-finals by Blackpool.

"It was difficult to leave Birmingham," he added.

"I had a very good year there and the supporters have been excellent with me.

"It's a wonderful club and I had a good relationship with the staff and the players so I'm grateful to them for allowing me to have this opportunity."

Lambert's stock rose rapidly in English football after he achieved successive promotions with Norwich and then took the club to 12th position in the Barclays Premier League last term.

For that reason, Hughton admits he has big shoes to fill.

"The job Paul has done here in the last three years is a wonderful achievement," Hughton said.

"To rise from the first division to the Premier League for someone in management is a tough task and everyone appreciates the job he did.

"It will be a hard act to follow but it's about making progress, making sure we have stability in this division now."

Cardiff boss Malky Mackay was the early favourite to succeed Lambert and Celtic manager Neil Lennon was also linked with the position, but Norwich chief executive David McNally claims Hughton was always the club's number one choice.

"We looked at the UK and international market, and had a detailed look at who was available and who wasn't and we wanted to try to find the person who could take us forward.

"This is one of the best times in the club's history financially so we think the job is attractive to managers around the world.

"We thought it was key to have top-league experience, preferably in the Premier League and at the end of it all we looked at the names and Chris stood out as number one candidate. We recognised that unanimously."

Hughton has that Premier League experience having taken Newcastle to 11th position before being harshly sacked in 2010.

One of the immediate concerns for the new Canaries boss is the future of wantaway captain Grant Holt.

The 31-year-old, who scored 17 times for Norwich last season, had a transfer request turned down last month after negotiations over a contract extension turned sour.

Hughton today spelled out his determination to keep the striker, saying: "He is a quality player, no doubt about that. And with his record - to score the goals he did last season - there wouldn't be any manager coming in who wouldn't want to keep a player of that quality.

"I've only just come through the door a few minutes ago so I have not had the opportunity to speak with him but that will be one of the priorities.

"He is contracted to this club. He won player of the season for the last three seasons so I absolutely would like him here."

McNally echoed the new manager's words, adding: "We want him to stay. He is our captain and has been our top scorer for the last three years.

"He is not for sale and we would not encourage anyone to bid for him."

PA

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