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U's threaten to take Canaries to tribunal

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 August 2009 | UPDATED: 11:35 06 July 2010

New manager Paul Lambert chats with chief executive David McNally at Brentford.

New manager Paul Lambert chats with chief executive David McNally at Brentford.

Chris Lakey

The new ruthless streak at Norwich City was in evidence again yesterday as chief executive David McNally got his man - Colchester United's Paul Lambert.

The new ruthless streak at Norwich City was in evidence again yesterday as chief executive David McNally got his man - Colchester United's Paul Lambert.

Colchester, whose 7-1 win at Carrow Road 11 days ago ironically helped create the vacancy which has cost them their manager, claimed last night that the two clubs were “six figures apart” in the negotiations over compensation.

They are clearly upset at the way they have lost not only Lambert but two of his key backroom staff - former Canary Ian Culverhouse and football operations manager Gary Karsa.

While Norwich - who sacked Bryan Gunn on Friday - are claiming that discussions over backroom staff are continuing, Colchester have stated that Culverhouse and Karsa are already on their way to Carrow Road.

They are now trying to get City to agree to a clause stopping Lambert going back to the Weston Community Stadium to recruit any players before the end of the season - and were last night threating to take City to a tribunal if they do not get satisfaction over compensation.

“We believe there has been a breach of League regulation 20, so unless compensation can be agreed, we will go to tribunal,” said U's chief executive Steve Bradshaw. “We are six figures apart in terms of compensation at the moment.

“Norwich's figure is reflected in the change in salary (of Lambert), but it does not take into account the significant disruption that follows a new manager coming in. Paul brought in eight or nine of his own players, and the new manager might not like them. Big costs are involved, not just the salary of a manager.

“Paul has brought in some very good players, so it's frustrating that having done all that, he should decide to leave.

“They were reluctant to grant permission,” admitted McNally. “I may have been a bit concerned if they had made it easy for me - but they did not want to lose their man. It was with a great deal of reluctance that they agreed to allow our football club to talk to him.

“Paul and I will sit down tomorrow to discuss players and we will also discuss backroom staff and what he will need to help him.”

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling revealed that the first he knew of City's interest whas when Canaries chairman Alan Bowkett phoned him on Saturday, 30 minutes after the U's had won against Yeovil - to ask for permission to appoint him.

“I was a bit taken aback because it was a strange request at a strange time,” he said. “We had just finished our game, I was just enjoying our status as league leaders and clubs normally ask permission to interview managers first.

“All over the weekend and for most of yesterday I have had many conversations with Paul regarding the Norwich request.

“Although I was extremely disappointed that he wanted my permission to accept their offer I could also understand his desire to progress to what most would perceive as a bigger club. For that reason I agreed to talk with Norwich to see if we could agree reasonable compensation for a manager of Paul's ability.

“I had a number of conversations with Norwich CEO Dave McNally which resulted in me turning down Norwich's request for permission to appoint Paul.

“The Norwich offer was strange because they insisted that they had decided to offer Paul the position without conducting an interview.

“On Monday morning, Paul was understandably frustrated by the failure of the clubs to reach an agreement and he informed me that he was finding it difficult to focus on his role at Colchester United.

“For that reason I agreed that Norwich could interview Paul, but could not offer him employment or in any other way directly or indirectly induce him to breach his contract until they had agreed compensation with us.

“I met again with Paul last night and he handed me his resignation. This morning both Ian and Gary have also provided the club with written notice.

“On an upbeat note I am confident that with the help of my fellow directors and staff I will shortly be appointing a new manager who is equally, if not more, talented than Paul Lambert.”

First team coach Joe Dunne took charge of the U's as caretaker manager as they maintain their perfect record with a home win over Gillingham.

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