After what seems like an age of bickering, former City and Colchester striker Adrian Coote believes that both clubs should draw a line under their public slanging match and concentrate on the season ahead.
U’s chairman Cowling has been very forthright with his comments in the media, and even after the tribunal verdict concerning Paul Lambert’s move to Norfolk was made, which decided that Norwich would have to pay their Essex neighbours £425,000 in compensation, he continued to insist that City should be docked points.
Matters came to a head earlier in the week when a private email conversation with a Canary fan was made public, with Cowling likening City bosses to Nazis. The Colchester man has since apologised, however, and Coote – who came through the youth system at Carrow Road – believes he should close the matter and move on.
“Robbie Cowling needs to get his mind back on the ball and be more worried about their business. Norwich have been busy preparing for next season and he needs to focus on Colchester, instead of Norwich.”
The U’s were in the top six for long periods under Adrian Boothroyd in 2009/10 and at one point, they were contenders for an automatic promotion spot. But Coote feels that the tribunal case and Cowling’s strong feelings on the matter may have played a part in the failed play-off push for the north Essex club.
“I think they let the supporters down,” he continued. “They were in a fantastic position right up until late in the season but ended up falling away. I’m sure things going on upstairs did not help the team or Adie Boothroyd.
“I would be angry if I was a U’s fan now. Ideally they would have wanted to get more money in with the financial situation, and the fact that the chairman has been more worried about getting Norwich a six-point deduction for next season – which helps Colchester in no way whatsoever – makes no sense.
“It has become a personal campaign against Norwich from their end and to many, it looks like he is massaging his ego.”
Coote does, however, still look back on his time at Layer Road with fond memories, after moving there from Norwich in 2001 for a then club record transfer fee of £50,000.
It was a slightly different club back then, with participation in the third tier seen as a huge achievement, but the Yarmouth-born striker, who is now a sales advisor at Aviva, will not let his feelings on the Cowling saga cloud his affection for the club.
“I have never met Robbie so I can only go on what is in the papers and it is disappointing what has happened. But I would never hear a bad word said about Colchester and I was treated really well by the people at the club and the fans.”
One thing is for sure though, relations between City and the U’s will not be quite the same after recent events. And Coote believes that it could come back to bite Cowling on the backside.
“If Norwich did get promoted to the Premier League and if Paul was looking to loan some good young players coming through to a team nearby, it could suit both clubs well. Now it looks unlikely that that would happen.”
But despite the drawn out disagreement that has taken up too many column inches already, Coote is convinced that Norwich, in Lambert, have picked up an absolute bargain.
“Paul has come in and done a fantastic job in getting them promoted after the start they had. He also is moving early in the transfer market to get ready for next season and that’s a good thing.
“The cost of the compensation was nothing – you could not get a top Championship player for that amount of money, let alone a good manager.”