Neil for Neil: Norwich appoint Alex Neil as Neil Adams’ successor
Norwich City have confirmed the appointment of Hamilton Academical player-manager Alex Neil after agreeing compensation with the Scottish Premiership club for his services.
The 33-year-old Scot succeeds namesake Neil Adams in the Carrow Road dugout, and takes over a Canaries side that is seventh in the Championship table and 10/3 promotion chances with Coral.
Initially, Adams’ assistant Mike Phelan was tipped to take over at East Anglia outfit Norwich, but subsequent interest in former Barnsley and Mansfield Town midfielder Neil emerged.
Player-manager at Hamilton since April 2013, he steered Accies to a shock promotion to Scotland’s top-flight when they beat Edinburgh giants Hibernian in a two-legged play-off.
That, coupled with a Premiership victory at Celtic, raised Neil’s profile massively, and he leaves Hamilton third in the table.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to manage a club of the stature of Norwich,” said Neil. “It’s an exciting challenge at a huge club and one that I’m looking forward to.
“I’ve watched a lot of Premier League and Championship football over the years and I’ve always been really impressed with Carrow Road and the Norwich fans and the way they get the place going when they get behind the team. It’s a forward-thinking club with a fantastic infrastructure and big ambition, which matches my own ambitions.
“Of course I’m sad to leave Hamilton, a brilliant club which has been such a huge part of my life for so long. But when an opportunity as exciting as this with a Club like Norwich comes your way, you take it. The aim now is simply to win as many games as possible and move Norwich City up the table.”
Many Canaries fans could be forgiven for asking who Neil is, though? His achievements with Accies are somewhat tempered by the fact Rangers and Hearts join Hibs in being outside this season’s Scottish Premiership, essentially leaving the division wide open for sides to mount surprise pushes for Europe.
Promotion is a cut-throat business in the Championship, and Neil is scarcely older than Norwich’s senior players, so there may be some Andre Villas-Boas-esque tension there, though Coral make them odds-on at 4/6 to finish in the play-off places. Eyes will follow his Carrow Road progress closely.