NORWICH City paraded Alex Neil as their new manager yesterday after he left his post as player-manager of Hamilton Academical. Accies have placed their experienced captain Martin Canning in interim charge in a player-coach role.
Neil, 33, succeeds Neil Adams, who resigned on Monday, at Carrow Road after helping Hamilton into the Scottish Premiership in his first full campaign in charge, and taking them briefly to the top of the league this season.
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He leaves Accies third in the top flight and takes over a Norwich side who are only three points outside the Sky Bet Championship play-off spots.
Neil told Norwich’s official website: “I’m absolutely delighted to have the opportunity to manage a club of the stature of Norwich – it’s an exciting challenge at a huge club and one that I’m looking forward to.”
The Canaries boss credited his new employers for being “forward-thinking” while conceding his sadness at leaving Hamilton, whom he has been with in some capacity since 2005.
“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,” said Neil.
“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.” Norwich chief executive David McNally revealed a lengthy list of candidates were considered following Adams’ surprise departure, but that Neil was the first choice.
“We’re delighted that Alex has agreed to become Norwich City’s new manager and we hope he’s here for a long time,” McNally added.
“It was important for us to have somebody who had the drive, ambition and commitment to work as hard as it takes to take the club forward. Lots of names were under consideration, but for us, as the board of Norwich City Football Club, he was the unanimous choice and the first choice.”
Neil will take charge of his first game today, a baptism of fire as Norwich travel to table-topping Bournemouth. Canning, meanwhile, will prepare Accies for Monday’s home match against Dundee United.
Hamilton vice chairman Ronnie MacDonald released a statement which confirmed Neil’s departure and Canning’s promotion from captain. It read: “The club has had confirmation from Alex Neil and Norwich City that an agreement between them has been successfully concluded, and we can now confirm his departure from Accies.
“Alex has been a player here since June 2005, skippering the side to the First Division championship in 2008, followed by three seasons in the top flight, and player-manager since April 2013, winning promotion via the play-offs last May and into what has been a successful Premiership campaign to date.
“He goes with the very best wishes of everyone here at New Douglas Park for continued success. In the meantime current team captain Martin Canning will assume the player-coach role and take charge of first-team duties in the interim period, with Frankie McAvoy continuing to act as assistant for the time being.
“It is expected that Frankie will follow Alex to Norwich in due course. Please join with us in wishing Alex and Norwich every success, and please continue with your great backing this season and give your full support to Martin and Frankie and the team at Monday’s home match versus Dundee United.”
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