Brown expects Norwich City to keep up promotion charge
Paddy DavittNorwich's former title-winning boss Ken Brown admitted yesterday the omens look good as Paul Lambert's men bid to emulate his own team's record-breaking achievements.Paddy Davitt
Norwich's former title-winning boss Ken Brown admitted yesterday the omens look good as Paul Lambert's men bid to emulate his own team's record-breaking achievements.
Victory over Brentford in Saturday's League One clash at Carrow Road would equal a club record 10 consecutive home wins set in Brown's reign during City's 1985/86 Division Two championship winning campaign.
Brown's side managed to wrap up the league with four matches left on the back of a powerful surge around the turn of the year to bounce back following relegation from the top flight the previous season.
Now the 75-year-old Canaries' stalwart has urged Lambert's current crop to scale even greater heights as they bid to plot an instant Championship return.
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"I just hope Paul's team can emulate it and carry it on to get them out of that league," said Brown. "When you are winning so many games like that in a row it becomes contagious, but in a nice sense.
"You just grow in confidence and then as a manager it's really about keeping a level head on them because no matter what game or who you are playing it's not going to be easy. If you approach it in the right manner - well, then that's what can make the games seem easy.
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"If I'm honest I wasn't aware there was a record we had set. Football at the time for me was, and always will be, just a case of one game to the next. Wins are fine and runs are fine but at the time it's not something that really registers with you - but to win 10 games on the bounce like we did is quite an achievement."
Brown insists the one constant between both eras is Norwich's loyal support base.
"They love their football in this part of the world and love their team and they deserve better," he said. "In fairness that is still the same between now and perhaps our day, because having that support does boost a team and a manager.
"I knew I was sending them out in front of what you knew was a loyal crowd that would be behind you every home game. You wanted to do well for them and the rest just took its course.
"As long as you were successful, that was all that mattered. You would walk down the street and people would say 'good morning' to you, which you just don't get in the big provincial cities and the big clubs. This is the biggest village of them all when you think the next club is 40 odd miles away."
Brown believes City's current manager-of-the-month deserves all the plaudits.
"You have to have a leader," he said. "But you need good staff around you and the right players of course. To be fair, Bryan Gunn brought in a good few of those so that speaks volumes for him, but also for Paul, because he has whipped them into shape lovely.
"You have to have the product to start with in terms of good players. If you do that's half the battle, but he has moulded them, got them in the right frame of mind and all is going very well. What happens then is you get a great feeling within the group and the club as a whole where everybody is smiling. Paul is relatively new to management and he has come up the hard way at the lower levels so he knows what it's all about. He was a good player as well and he won't let any complacency creep in."
Brown insists Norwich's record-breaking exploits will count for little if Lambert's squad miss out on the biggest prize of all this season.
"Nothing is secure yet but they are well and truly on the right road," he said. "You couldn't have scripted what happened at Colchester after the result they inflicted at Carrow Road.
"I was there that day and I couldn't quite believe what I was seeing. It was just one of those games. If they'd played each other the following week it wouldn't have been the same result. That's football, it's so unpredictable.
"I was a bit concerned when they went down and then down again but someone put me straight and said, 'I go to watch Norwich play well and win games. I don't care who they are playing.' When I thought about it they were right.
"I'm sure the majority of people are enjoying watching this side but if you can get a winning team then anything can happen. So far, so good. They've done the hard part, but finishing off the job is not easy."
Brown faces his own personal dilemma this weekend.
"I've seen them quite regularly at home and it's good to go as the people look after me ever so well," he said. "I'm a little bit torn this weekend, though, as my son is assistant manager at Grays and he has asked me along because they've got Oxford.
"It's a big game with Oxford doing very well and Grays struggling a little bit towards the bottom so it's the devil and the deep blue sea for me. Hopefully it'll be two wins."