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Paul Lambert has today been appointed as manager of Stoke City, replacing Mark Hughes who was sacked recently after a poor run of form that has seen them drop into the relegation positions.

Just a couple of days earlier it looked as though Stoke had secured former Watford boss Quique Sanchez Flores but, having appeared to have accepted the job, he opted to stay with Espanyol while next target Martin O’Neill decided to remain with the Republic of Ireland.

That left Stoke this morning to appoint the 48-year-old Lambert who has been out of work since leaving Wolves at the end of last season.

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Seven years ago tomorrow, Burnley were appointing a new manager following the sacking of Brian Laws. Eddie Howe moved from Bournemouth on 16th January 2011 but just days earlier it looked certain that Lambert would be the new man. He’d accepted the position and Burnley made the formal approach to his then employers Norwich City. They refused that approach; Lambert suddenly back tracked very quickly and that led us to move on to Howe.

It was a strange one. We were tenth in the Championship at the time with Norwich in the play-off positions in fourth. They eventually went on to win automatic promotion and Lambert remained there until the end of the next season before jumping ship to Aston Villa where he was in charge for nearly three years.

Since, he’s had spells at both Blackburn and Wolves during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 seasons respectively and now returns to the Premier League for the first time since February 2015 with a contract at Stoke until the end of the 2019/20 season.

In a statement today, Stoke said of their new manager: “We were determined to appoint someone with Premier League experience or an extensive knowledge of English football. We look forward to working with Paul and supporting him to help achieve our goals.”

When Howe arrived at Burnley after Lambert had decided to stay at Norwich, Stoke were in 8th place in the Premier League. At the time he’d not managed in the top league; today he returns to try to steer Stoke away from the bottom three and to safety.

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