Stoke City: Is Paul Lambert the right man to lead their Championship promotion push next season?
Paul Lambert was the successor to Mark Hughes at Stoke but has been unable to turn them around as they were relegated last weekend.
Not many people would have predicted that Stoke City would have been relegated prior to the season beginning.
Mark Hughes had overseen steady progress from the Tony Pulis reign and Stoke were a solid mid-table side with little worry of relegation.
In fact, Stoke fans could have been forgiven for expecting a European push this season.
Yet here we are now with the Potters relegated after ten reasonably trouble-free Premier League seasons. Now the big question is whether Paul Lambert should be given the chance to lead the charge for promotion next season.
His career so far
Lambert is now onto his management job since taking the job at Livingstone in 2005 and he has had his fair share of ups and downs.
His biggest role came at Norwich City where he oversaw three seasons of phenomenal success, guiding the club from the foot of League One all the way to Premier League safety in just three seasons.
The former Champions League winner was touted as one of the hottest properties in football management and earned a shot at the Aston Villa job.
Two and a half seasons at Villa saw Lambert keep the club afloat in the Premier League while working on a shoestring budget, he was eventually sacked in February 2015 after his reign became stale.
Spells at Blackburn and Wolves followed where he was employed to guide those sides to safety – which he did comfortably before he was appointed at Stoke in January of this year.
His spell in the Potteries has been underwhelming with Stoke just winning one of his 14 league games in charge as they headed towards a bitterly disappointing relegation.
The case for him to stay
Peter Coates is a loyal chairman built in the mould of Steve Gibson at Middlesbrough. He does not like to sack his managers and prefers to solve the clubs problems in other ways.
Mark Hughes reportedly lost the dressing room at Stoke and certain players have spoken to the media since their relegation to say they feel individuals have not done enough to help keep Stoke up.
Paul Lambert could argue that he had an impossible job, with a squad fractured with disputes and prima donnas. But now he has the summer to fix these problems.
Lambert knows the good eggs and the bad eggs in the Stoke dressing room so he will be able to make judgements on who should stay and who should go.
If Stoke decide to sack him, then they will be back to square one and their new manager will need time to assess the squad before making any moves.
So, while Lambert has taken them down, he could be the right man to fix the problems – and he has experience of promotion in the Championship.
For all his critics, Lambert was actually once seen as a top young manager. Some ill fated spells have damaged his reputation, but Stoke could provide him the perfect platform to put himself back in the limelight with a promotion.
Experience is often seen as key, and he has proven at Norwich, Blackburn and Wolves that he is more than capable of winning games in this division – a trait that Stoke would be foolish to ignore.
The case for him leaving
Yes, Lambert walked into a nightmare at Stoke and was unable to turn the tide. But he surely should have done more with the players at his disposal?
One win since taking over in January is the worst form of any side in the Premier League and you could say that he has made Stoke worse.
The job should be a sought-after one in the Potteries because of the depth of players Stoke have and the potential for them to add more players to it.
Really, Stoke should thank Lambert for his efforts and move him on – especially if they want to make an immediate return to the big time.
Should Paul Lambert stay at Stoke City? Let us know in the comments section below.