Following on from the ‘news’ that Anthony McNamee would be allowed to leave Norwich on a free transfer this summer, a number of fans suggested that the player was the ‘first bad signing’ by manager Paul Lambert since taking charge in August 2009.
This really could not be further from the truth, and the very fact that people are claiming it to be so is an indicator of the progress made by Norwich City in the past two seasons.
It may only be my opinion, but Anthony McNamee was never a ‘bad signing’ in a million years. Conversely, he was actually a very good signing indeed. It is fairly undeniable that he was never a consistent 90-minute player for us, but his impact from the bench especially was often unquestionable. I would have even been tempted to keep him around this season in all honesty…
He played a part in getting us promoted to the Championship, and then played a part (admittedly, lesser) in getting us promoted to the Premier League. As an example of this, anyone who watches the highlights of the 2010/2011 season will notice that McNamee was more than slightly involved in many goals scored early on in the campaign.
The role he played diminished as the season progressed – as the likes of Henri Lansbury moved ahead of him in the packing order – but McNamee rarely let us down when called upon. More often than not, he was the ideal ‘impact’ substitute that managers crave.
It is therefore perhaps fitting that his last real action in a Norwich shirt came at Vicarage Road, where a frankly mesmerising performance off the bench rescued a point against Watford in April. Had we lost that match (which seemed likely before his introduction, and having previously lost 3-0 to Swansea), then it could have all started to slip away. Suddenly the Forest and Ipswich games would have even more significance, Holt’s injury wouldn’t heal so quickly, and things would – potentially at least – start to go against us. All speculation of course, but not beyond the realms of probability…
Therefore, I see no evidence whatsoever that Anthony McNamee was a ‘bad signing’. He was undoubtedly a good signing, as were the likes of Oli Johnson – whose cameo against Southend was equally vital to getting us to this stage of you look at the bigger picture. Essentially, there is no guarantee we would be preparing for the Premier League without the input of these players who we have simply outgrown, and they deserve respect if and when they depart.
This presents the interesting debate about whether Paul Lambert has actually made a ‘bad’ signing for Norwich City to date. I genuinely don’t think he has. Every single player who has arrived at the club during his tenure has contributed in some way to the club progressing. Of course, some have made less impact than others, but no single individual has left me bemoaning their presence on the field.
To prove that belief would take a rather long and dull article profiling every one of Lambert’s signings, but I dare anyone to say any of those individuals haven’t offered something to the club. If this is still the case by the time next summer rolls around, then Norwich City will have had yet another successful season, and the Scot will have secured his position as the greatest manager Norfolk has seen.