Goals / game
Conc / game
Points / game
*Age on opening day of the season
FAC: FA Cup; FL: Football League; D1: Division 1; D2: Division 2; D3: Division 3; PL: Premier League; CH: Championship
7 August 1969
Norwich City, Manager
Poor form, Sacked
Andy Marshall (Caretaker)
2005-18 Gabby Agbonlahor |
2009-15 Fabian Delph |
2012-15 Christian Benteke |
2012-14 Ian Culverhouse |
2013-14 Gordon Cowans |
2014-15 Roy Keane |
Chairman, Randolph Lerner
Chief Executive, Paul Faulkner
Chairman, Randolph Lerner
Chief Executive, Tom Fox
Previous Clubs Managed
2005-06 Livingston, Manager
2006-08 Wycombe Wanderers, Manager
2008-09 Colchester United, Manager
2009-12 Norwich City, Manager
2009-10 League One Champions, Norwich City
Villa Management Career
Points per game
Managed the Villa
Villa Managerial Debut
18 August 2012, Villa 0-1 West Ham, Upton Park
Final Villa Managerial Game
10 February 2015, Villa 0-2 Hull, KC Stadium
2012-13 | 15th Premier League |
2013-14 | 15th Premier League |
2014-15 | 17th Premier League | (Part Season) |
FA Cup finishes
2012-13 | 4th Round |
2013-14 | 3rd Round |
League Cup finishes
2012-13 | Semi Final |
2013-14 | 3rd Round |
2014-15 | 2nd Round |
2015-16 Blackburn Rovers, Manager
2016-17 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manager
2018 Stoke City, Manager
2018-21 Ipswich Town, Manager
Manager #27 for Aston Villa, Paul Lambert. Martin O’Neill had been selfish, Gérard Houllier destructive, and Alex McLeish dignified but dour and so for the first time since 2006, the Villa board listened to the fans and appointed the manager they wanted, Paul Lambert.
The fans were wrong.
The realisation was around 8 games into his first season but by then it was too late, the rot that had set in with the failure to plan for life after O’Neill resulting in the appointment of the worst manager in Villa’s history,
It is important to stress that Lambert is not statistically the worst - that position was still to be cemented - but despite competition from Jimmy McMullan who led Villa to their first relegation, and the utter recklessness of the appointment of the hapless Graham Turner and the woeful Billy McNeill, Lambert stands out as the manager, across 15 decades, who did the most material damage to the club and set it up not only for inevitable relegation but ripped any semblance of competence from the club
That Lambert took the club so low only serves to show the sterling job that his successors, both managerial and executive did to restore Villa to the top flight and financial security,
In truth it cannot be overstated how bad Lambert was, yet he was initially saved from his own failure by the fact that his was a fan led appointment and there was little appetite to admit the gravity of their mistake before it was an unavoidable elephant in the room.
Differing tales of woe have been proferred up as justification for the ‘difficulties’ under Lambert but often don’t bear up well to scrutiny.
Stephen Warnock recalled “The drop-off for Villa came in two stages. The time when I first felt Villa were changing was when we sold James Milner and Martin O’Neill left. He knew the money would not be reinvested and the players soon started to sense that things were going downhill. That was stage one.”
“Stage two was when Lambert came in and had to buy players on the cheap from the lower leagues. That’s not the stature of players Villa had been buying in previous years.”
That perspective whilst factually correct that Villa began shopping in the second and third tiers of English football was not the result of a manger acting under duress. This was an active choice to build a squad in this fashion and indeed Lambert had done exactly this thing in his previous and continued to do so in his subsequent managerial career.
What is also not in question is that Lambert took Gérard Houllier’s ‘bomb squad’ concept and supercharged it, ostracising on a whim first team players who were many leagues ahead of their replacements in talent and experience.
This nonsensical approach to managing Villa - the players, deselected, remained on full pay yet could not provide any contribution to the paper thin squad - was an early sign of the bewildering nature of Lambert. In one unintelligible breath he would claim he was instructed to do so - a well worn excuse he would regularly offer - and in the next would assert his managerial authority and right to act in whatever manner he chose.
Whoever was the instigator, Lambert was the willing implementer of the self harm inflicted on an already materially weakened Villa squad.
Lambert’s regime was truly wretched and but for the inspired signing of Christian Benteke Villa would have been relegated in each of Lambert’s three campaigns in charge. That may sound hyperbole however Villa’s goals for column was almost exclusively owned by Benteke and every one of Lambert’s lower league signings proved total failures. From Bowery to Westwood through Bennett to Lowton, all were unable to perform either consistently or some at all in top flight football and combined with a confused and dour management style, and a yobbish behind the scenes culture, it was a miracle that Villa weren’t relegated three times over under Lambert.
In his first season alone Lambert led Villa to their heaviest ever defeat in the 134 years since their first professional game - an 0-8 reverse to Chelsea - and immediately led Villa fo further 0-4 and and 0-3 defeats - thereby conceding 15 in 3 league games. Lambert’s cup form was no better, “embarrassing” as defender Ron Vlaar said. Lambert’s Villa were beaten over two legs in the League Cup by a club in the bottom division of the Football League.
Although Villa miraculously weren’t relegated what they were was damaged irreparably and with an absent owner Lambert entrenched himself in Villa having been handed a long term contract. It was scarcely believable, after the debacle of his first season in charge, Lambert didn’t lose his job, he stayed on, emboldened, backed, and inevitably took the quality and effectiveness of the squad further downwards. Fewer points than the abject 2012-13, more losses, no cup run and a squad that was unrecognisable from that which had represented Villa at the turn of the decade. Villa lost over half of the games they played (54%), scored just 43 goals (1.05 per game), won consecutive games just once throughout the season and finished on their lowest points total for nearly 30 years.
Already the squad looked like it would take years of investment to rebuild to anything resembling a side that could compete above the relegation places, Villa’s owner was playing with fire, it was just a matter of how big and how damaging the blaze would get.
Yet Lambert would remain in charge for a third campaign, and was even handed a further long term contract.
The insane policy of bringing in lower league, lower quality players to a squad crying out for authority and ability was replaced by an equally crazy policy of signing veterans past their sell by date and assorted other cast-offs.
At least those recruitment mis-steps resulted in action and reaction, albeit delayed. Lambert lasted a scarcely believable 28 games during which time he lost 14 including a run of 6 defeats in a row, scoring once and conceding 15.
Quite what prompted his dismissal is unclear given his pattern of failure had been set in since his first weeks in the job over 2 and a half years previously. Indeed Lambert’s reign had been an unmitigated disaster from day one and albeit not statistically, Lambert must rate as the worst Villa manager of all time.