Norwich City will be plying their trade in the Premier League next season, after beating Middlesbrough in the Championship playoff final.
Supporters of the Carrow Road club have endured a rollercoaster ride of no equal in recent years, having slipped into the third tier of English football in 2009. They then clinched successive promotions to return to the Premier League for the first time since 2005, an spent three years amongst the elite until last season when they finished third-bottom and three points off safety.
Neil Adams, who replaced the sacked Chris Hughton in April of last term, resigned in January of this year and was succeeded by Alex Neil. Although relatively unknown the 33-year-old has had a big impact on the Canaries, who were in seventh position and three points off the playoffs when he arrived but finished the campaign in third position and with a chance of promotion.
After defeating rivals Ipswich Town in the semi-finals over two legs Norwich faced Middlesbrough in the Wembley final on Bank Holiday Monday, and secured a 2-0 win courtesy of early goals from Cameron Jerome and Nathan Redmond. Speaking after the match, Neil revealed his belief that he had in his players, who he has credited for finishing a job they started back in August.
“I believed we would do it, but it’s one thing believing it and another thing doing it,” the Scot, whose previous managerial experience came at Hamilton Academical, told Sky Sports. “Big players arrive on the big stage and you saw that in the first 20 minutes – we were unbelievable. We worked so hard to get here. The worst thing you can do is walk off having been scared.”
Can Alex Neil go on to establish himself as one of the best young coaches in England, and what do Norwich City have to do to ensure they avoid relegation next season?