Lambert managing Aston Villa in 2013
|Full name||Paul Lambert|
|Date of birth||7 August 1969|
|Place of birth||Glasgow, Scotland|
|Height||5 ft 11 in (1.81 m)|
|Linwood Rangers Boys' Club|
|1990||Scottish League XI||1||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Lambert, who played as a midfielder, won numerous honours as a player. He won the Scottish Cup in 1987 with St Mirren as a 17-year-old, the UEFA Champions League with Borussia Dortmund and all the Scottish domestic honours with Celtic. In his international career, Lambert earned 40 caps for Scotland and played in the 1998 FIFA World Cup finals.
Lambert achieved success managing in England's lower divisions and guided Norwich City into English football's Premier League with successive promotions in 2009–10 and 2010–11. After keeping Norwich in the Premier League in 2011–12, he managed Aston Villa for three seasons. Lambert was appointed Blackburn Rovers manager in November 2015, before leaving the club in May 2016. Lambert became head coach of Wolverhampton Wanderers in November 2016 but was dismissed at the end of the season. Lambert was appointed manager of Stoke City in January 2018, but he was unable to prevent relegation and left the club soon afterwards.
Lambert was born in Glasgow, but moved to Linwood, Renfrewshire, when he was a child. He played for Linwood Rangers Boys' Club before entering the professional game with St Mirren in 1985. With St Mirren, the 17-year old Lambert won his first senior winner's medal courtesy of the 1987 Scottish Cup Final; Saints beat favourites and that season's UEFA Cup Finalists, Jim McLean's Dundee United, in what turned out to be the last time the Scottish Cup was won by a team composed entirely of Scottish players. Due to his age, manager Alex Smith had to send the youngster home early from the alcohol-fuelled celebrations. Lambert played with St Mirren for eight years, experiencing relegation from the top tier in 1992.
In September 1993, Lambert was signed by Tommy McLean for Motherwell for a fee of £250,000 in a transfer move that saw Jimmy Gardner move to St Mirren. The club finished third placed at the end of the 1993–94 season in the Scottish Premier League.
With Alex McLeish replacing McLean for the 1994–95 season, Lambert and Motherwell went one place better finishing league runners-up, the club's highest finish since 1933–34. The club also had qualified for a place in the 1994–95 UEFA Cup. After eliminating Faroese opponents, HB Tórshavn, Motherwell were drawn against German Bundesliga side Borussia Dortmund, managed by Ottmar Hitzfeld. Drawn away in the first leg, Motherwell lost to a solitary goal by Andreas Möller in the 58th minute. In the second leg, Motherwell were still in the contest, until Karl-Heinz Riedle scored twice in ten minutes during the second half.
In 1996, Lambert was signed by a manager and club he had played against for Motherwell in the UEFA Cup, Ottmar Hitzfeld and Borussia Dortmund. Hitzfeld immediately changed Lambert's role to deploy him as defensive midfielder.
In the 1997 UEFA Champions League Final against Juventus, he played in midfield to quell the influence of Juve's French playmaker Zinedine Zidane. and his cross also set up Karl-Heinz Riedle's opening goal. Dortmund won 3–1. Lambert's contribution has since been suggested as a man of the match performance. He became the first British person to win the European Cup with a non-UK team, and the first British person to win the tournament since its reformation as the Champions League in 1992. Lambert had scored in the lead up to the final with a group stage goal, the first in a 2–2 draw at Widzew Łódź. Lambert's performance in the semi-final elimination of Manchester United was praised in the autobiography of Roy Keane. Lambert scored one league goal for Dortmund, against Bayer Leverkusen.
It was announced the Champions League group stage game on 5 November 1997 against Parma would be Lambert's last before he returned to Scotland. He was given a rousing send off by the Dortmund fans, and reciprocated with a banner he had prepared thanking the Dortmund fans.
In November 1997, after just over a year playing in the Bundesliga he was signed by Wim Jansen for Celtic for a fee in the region of £2 million. Lambert made his debut on 8 November 1997 when he came on as a substitute in a league match at Ibrox against Rangers. Three weeks later on 30 November 1997, Lambert picked up his first winner's medal as a Celtic player when he came on as a late substitute in Celtic's 3–0 win over Dundee United in the Scottish League Cup Final. Thereafter, Lambert became a regular in the starting line-up and scored from 25 yards in a 2–0 win over Rangers at Parkhead in the New Year game. Lambert went on to help the Scottish giants win the championship that season, their first in ten years, halting Rangers' run of nine consecutive titles which had previously equalled the total achieved by Celtic in the Jock Stein era.
During his seven seasons with Celtic, he won four Scottish Premier League titles, two Scottish Cups, two Scottish League Cups and was Scottish Football Writer's Player of the Year in 2002. Lambert captained the side that reached the 2003 UEFA Cup Final in Seville; his team were drawing 2–2 after 90 minutes but after having a man sent off in extra time, conceded a third and decisive goal to José Mourinho's Porto.
Lambert represented Scotland at every age group level. Perhaps the best known of the contests was against the country who played a significant part in his career, Germany. The young Scots drew 1–1 in Bochum in 1992 UEFA European Under-21 Football Championship quarter-finals. In the return leg at Pittodrie, Germany were two up after 40 minutes before Duncan Ferguson set up Ray McKinnon to pull one back before half time. Germany scored a third on the hour mark to seemingly put the tie out of reach. However, in 68 minutes, Gerry Creaney headed past Stefan Klos before Lambert himself equalised ten minutes later. Alex Rae scored two minutes from time to clinch the game 4–3.
As a full Scotland international, Lambert won 40 caps, scoring one goal. In the latter part of his international career, he captained the side 15 times. His international debut was when at Motherwell and awarded by Craig Brown in the 1995 Kirin Cup against host country, Japan. Lambert played in a second game there three days later, against Ecuador.
It was when at Dortmund and in the 1998 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign when Lambert started to appear as a regular. After missing the open game of the campaign away against Austria, Lambert appeared as a 46th-minute substitute in the 2–0 win in Latvia in October 1996. He was again a 46th-minute substitute in the next qualifier, a 1–0 home win against Sweden. For his next cap, he was promoted to the starting lineup for a 2–0 home victory in the qualifier against Austria. Lambert's only defeat of the campaign was the 2–1 reversal in Gothenburg against Sweden before two wins against Belarus and a second 2–0 win against Latvia clinched qualification.
Lambert was part of the Scotland side to win a challenge game away against Germany in April 1999 with the goal scored by Don Hutchison. Lambert and Scotland qualified for a play-off place in the 2000 UEFA European Football Championship qualifying campaign, but missed the playoffs against England due to suffering an injury in the Old Firm game played the weekend before. Craig Brown cited Lambert's absence as crucial to England's progression at Scotland's expense, since he intended to deploy Lambert directly against Paul Scholes, scorer of both England goals.
He scored his only goal for Scotland on 7 September 2002, in a Euro 2004 qualifier against the Faroe Islands, which ended in a 2–2 draw. Lambert was awarded man of the match in a 1–1 draw with Germany in June 2003. His final cap came in a 2–1 defeat against Germany in September 2003. The match was played in Dortmund, where he had achieved great success during his club career.
After studying for football coaching qualifications in 2005, Lambert landed his first managerial job with Livingston on 1 June 2005, assisted by Norrie McWhirter. Although he had not intended to play for his new club, Lambert registered as a player in late August 2005 to cover for any injury shortages. His tenure ended in February 2006 when he resigned after only winning two league games since starting the job.
Lambert was appointed manager of English team Wycombe Wanderers on 30 June 2006. He led Wycombe to the League Cup semi-finals after defeating Premier League sides Fulham and Charlton Athletic. The semi-final tie, against Premier League champions Chelsea, saw Wycombe hold Chelsea to a 1–1 draw at Adams Park before losing the away leg. This was the first time in over 30 years a fourth tier team had reached that stage of the League Cup. Lambert resigned as Wycombe manager on 20 May 2008 following the club's elimination from the League Two play-offs by Stockport County.
On 9 October 2008, he was appointed as manager of League One team Colchester United to succeed Geraint Williams, before winning his first game 2–1 at Stockport County. Despite occasionally threatening to flirt with the League One play-offs, the U's eventually finished mid-table in Lambert's first season.
On 8 August 2009, he began the 2009–10 season with an opening day 7–1 win over Norwich City before leaving the Essex club for Norwich less than a year after taking over.
Lambert became the new Norwich City manager, replacing Bryan Gunn, who was dismissed by the club shortly after the 7–1 defeat to Colchester. He led Norwich to the League 1 title and promotion to the Championship in April 2010.
On 1 June 2010, he signed an improved contract with Norwich after it was confirmed Colchester United were entitled to £425,000 in compensation, in addition to Norwich City being fined £75,000, with a further £125,000 suspended for two years.
Norwich's form from their 2009–10 promotion campaign continued into the 2010–11 season, which saw them gain a second successive promotion – becoming the first team to achieve a second successive promotion at this level since Manchester City 11 years earlier. During Lambert's first two seasons in charge, Norwich did not suffer two successive defeats in the league in the same season.
In January 2011, Norwich refused to allow Burnley permission to try to secure Lambert as their new manager, following the dismissal of Brian Laws. The Norwich statement read, in part, "The club will fight tooth and nail to retain the services of Paul Lambert and his team during this critical period of the season and whilst they remain employed under a long-term contract". On 2 May 2011, Lambert and Norwich secured promotion to the Premier League after a win over Portsmouth, taking the second automatic spot with one game to spare. Lambert signed a new contract keeping him at the club during the summer. He was inducted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame in March 2012.
On 2 June 2012, Lambert was confirmed as the new manager of Aston Villa replacing Alex McLeish, who was dismissed two weeks earlier. Lambert's first competitive match as Aston Villa manager came on the opening day of the Premier League season on 18 August 2012, a 1–0 defeat to newly promoted West Ham United at Upton Park. His first Premier League win came on 15 September 2012, a 2–0 victory against Swansea City at Villa Park. He was handed a one-match touchline ban on 21 November 2012 for comments relating to a penalty decision in Villa's defeat to Manchester City. On his first return to Carrow Road, Lambert received a mixed reception from the Norwich fans on 11 December 2012, in a League Cup quarter-final which his Villa team won 4–1.
On 23 December 2012, Villa were defeated 8–0 against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, the club's heaviest ever defeat in top-flight football. This was followed by consecutive home defeats, with Villa losing 4–0 to Tottenham Hotspur and 3–0 to Wigan Athletic, leading to increased pressure on Lambert's position. On 22 January 2013, Villa played Bradford City in the second leg of the League Cup semi-final at Villa Park, having lost the first round tie 3–1 at Valley Parade. The final score on the night was a 2–1 win for Villa, leaving an aggregate score of 4–3 to Bradford.
Lambert kept his job despite the poor run as the team flirted with the relegation places continuously over the next few months. Lambert did however manage to get Villa to record back-to-back wins for the first time since May 2011, as they defeated fellow relegation rivals Reading and Queens Park Rangers. He then oversaw the club's biggest victory since 2008, as Villa thrashed Sunderland 6–1. Villa finished 15th with the youngest starting eleven in the Premier League, leading to praise from pundit Alan Hansen, who said that Lambert was "a contender for manager of the season." Highlights of the season included Lambert's summer acquisition of star striker Christian Benteke, the introduction of Villa's Player of the Season, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, reaching the semi-finals of the League Cup and securing Villa's place in the Premier League for the 2013–14 season.
Lambert's Aston Villa side began the season brightly, with a 3–1 win over Arsenal at Emirates Stadium on 17 August. This was followed by a string of promising performances which filled the fans with optimism for the upcoming season, after already being lifted by Lambert's ability to keep star striker Christian Benteke at the club despite rumoured heavy interest from top European sides such as Chelsea.
Towards the end of 2013, the performances worsened greatly, especially home form, and Lambert was criticised by many fans and pundits for putting out a counterattacking side with no plan B. Possession stats were biased towards the opposition in many games, including at home to Swansea; Villa had less than 30 percent of total possession in a game which ended 1–1. In January 2014, Lambert made headlines by claiming that "many Premier League clubs could do without the distraction of the FA Cup if they were being honest." Aston Villa subsequently lost 2–1 at home to Sheffield United, a team two divisions below them, marking the fourth consecutive year that Lambert has been eliminated from the FA Cup by lower league opposition. Lambert subsequently defended his comments, claiming they were "taken out of context."
Lambert's third season in charge saw a different approach in the transfer market, with him opting to buy players with experience as opposed to the previous seasons, where the club would sign young prospects. Aston Villa started off well, with a 1–0 victory over Stoke City. This was then followed by a 0–0 draw against Newcastle United, a 2–1 win over Hull City and a 1–0 victory over Liverpool. During this time, the new back four of Alan Hutton, Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos and Aly Cissokho was praised by Lambert after gaining three clean sheets out of a possible four, whilst gaining ten points out of an available 12.
After Villa's good start to the season, however, they then went on to have a five-game long goal drought, losing to Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester City, Everton and QPR before scoring in a 2–1 loss at Villa Park to Tottenham. Villa then went on to gain some valuable points, drawing 0–0 with West Ham and 1–1 against Southampton. They then won 1–0 against Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park, courtesy of a Christian Benteke goal, followed with a 2–1 victory over Leicester City at Villa Park.
On 11 February 2015, Villa announced they had parted company with Lambert after a 2–0 loss at Hull, leaving the club 18th in the Premier League table. His departure also meant that the top flight had no Scottish manager, for the first time in 30 years. On 14 February, Tim Sherwood was announced as his successor.
Lambert was appointed manager of Championship club Blackburn Rovers on 15 November 2015 on a two-and-a-half year deal, with the club in 16th place following the dismissal of Gary Bowyer. Lambert secured Championship safety for Blackburn with a 2–2 draw against Bristol City on 23 April 2016. Blackburn ended the season with two consecutive wins, finishing in 15th place.
The club confirmed that Lambert had activated a release clause in his contract, and would step down as manager after their last match of the 2015–16 season on 7 May 2016.
On 5 November 2016, Lambert was appointed head coach of Championship club Wolverhampton Wanderers, taking over with the team in 19th place. The team achieved an upset victory in the fourth round of the 2016–17 FA Cup, winning 2–1 against Liverpool at Anfield. The team finished the 2016–17 EFL Championship in 15th place.
On 30 May 2017 the club announced that they and Lambert had "agreed to part company following a football review".
On 15 January 2018, Lambert was appointed manager of Premier League club Stoke City, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Potters, and officially took up post the following day. He joined Stoke with the club in the relegation zone, having dismissed previous manager Mark Hughes due to a poor run of form. Lambert was unable to prevent Stoke's continued decline and relegation from the Premier League, and he left the club by mutual agreement in May 2018.
|St Mirren||1985–86||Scottish Premier Division||1||0||—||—||—||1||0|
|1986–87||Scottish Premier Division||36||2||1||0||—||—||37||2|
|1987–88||Scottish Premier Division||36||2||—||—||4||0||40||2|
|1988–89||Scottish Premier Division||16||2||—||—||—||16||2|
|1989–90||Scottish Premier Division||25||3||—||—||—||25||3|
|1990–91||Scottish Premier Division||31||2||—||—||—||31||2|
|1991–92||Scottish Premier Division||40||2||—||—||—||40||2|
|1992–93||Scottish First Division||39||1||—||—||—||39||1|
|1993–94||Scottish First Division||3||0||—||—||—||3||0|
|Motherwell||1993–94||Scottish Premier Division||32||3||—||—||—||32||3|
|1994–95||Scottish Premier Division||36||1||—||—||3||0||39||1|
|1995–96||Scottish Premier Division||35||2||—||—||2||0||37||2|
|Celtic||1997–98||Scottish Premier Division||26||2||4||0||1||0||—||31||2|
|1998–99||Scottish Premier League||33||1||5||0||1||0||8||0||47||1|
|1999–2000||Scottish Premier League||25||1||—||—||5||0||30||1|
|2000–01||Scottish Premier League||27||1||6||0||2||0||5||0||40||1|
|2001–02||Scottish Premier League||34||5||4||0||1||0||10||0||49||5|
|2002–03||Scottish Premier League||31||3||1||0||3||1||13||2||48||6|
|2003–04||Scottish Premier League||13||1||1||1||2||0||6||0||22||2|
|2004–05||Scottish Premier League||4||0||2||0||1||1||—||7||1|
|Livingston||2005–06||Scottish Premier League||7||0||2||0||1||0||—||10||0|
- Score and result list Scotland's goal tally first.
|1.||7 September 2002||Svangaskarð, Toftir||Faroe Islands||1–2||2–2||Euro 2004 qualifier|||
- As of match played 13 May 2018
|Livingston||1 June 2005||11 February 2006||32||5||7||20||15.6|||
|Wycombe Wanderers||30 June 2006||20 May 2008||108||44||29||35||40.7|||
|Colchester United||9 October 2008||18 August 2009||43||19||7||17||44.2|||
|Norwich City||18 August 2009||2 June 2012||142||70||35||37||49.3|||
|Aston Villa||2 June 2012||11 February 2015||115||34||26||55||29.6|||
|Blackburn Rovers||15 November 2015||7 May 2016||33||12||8||13||36.4|||
|Wolverhampton Wanderers||5 November 2016||30 May 2017||33||14||5||14||42.4|||
|Stoke City||16 January 2018||18 May 2018||15||2||7||6||13.3|||
- Scottish league: 1997–98, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Scottish Cup: 2000–01, 2003–04
- Scottish League Cup: 1997–98, 2000–01
- UEFA Cup runner-up: 2002–03
- SFWA Footballer of the Year: 2002
- Scottish Football Hall of Fame: Inducted 2009
- Football League One: 2009–10
- Football League Championship runner-up: 2010–11
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