The price of success - �500k and new contracts all round
Chris Lakey Half a million pounds and contracts all round - that is the price of hiring Paul Lambert and Co and their reward for steering Norwich City to the League One title.
Half a million pounds and contracts all round - that is the price of hiring Paul Lambert and Co and their reward for steering Norwich City to the League One title.
The Canaries boss, his assistant Ian Culverhouse and director of football Gary Karsa have all signed new, improved contracts at Carrow Road - as has the man who brought them to City in the first place, chief executive David McNally.
The news came minutes after the Football Disciplinary Commission finally revealed their findings into the manner of the management team's arrival from Colchester last August, with City ordered to pay the Essex club �425,000 in compensation as well as incurring a �75,000 fine and a further �125,000 fine, suspended for two years.
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For the first time, the club has revealed details of the bitter row with Colchester and their owner, Robbie Cowling who, it emerged, not only wanted a points deduction but, when he realised it would have little effect on City's march to the title, wanted points taken away from City for the start of NEXT season.
However, the FDC stuck to a financial penalty, clearing the way for news of the new contracts to be made public - and easing City supporters' fears that Lambert could be tempted away this summer after the stunning turnaround he engineered at Carrow Road.
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Full details of the contracts have not been revealed, but that may matter little to fans who will simply be grateful for signs of some stability at the helm after a disastrous run of managerial appointments.
“Paul has done a fantastic job for us since joining in August and has played his full part in restoring some pride to Norwich City Football Club,” said chairman Alan Bowkett.
“There's been a lot of speculation linking him to other clubs and that's understandable as he is an excellent young manager with a competent and motivated coaching team backing him up. We're delighted he has signed a new deal and demonstrated his commitment to carrying on the job he has made such a fine start to here at Norwich.
“Paul shares the board's ambition and progressive ideals as we work hard together towards our ultimate goal of getting Norwich City back into the Premier League.”
He added: “I'm delighted to confirm that David McNally has signed a new contract. David has worked tirelessly with the rest of the board and the staff at the club to help turn an alarming slide in our fortunes on and off the pitch into a situation where we have positive momentum again.
“We're all looking forward to continuing to serve our unrivalled supporters and working together to meet the significant challenges that still lie ahead for this football club.”
McNally sacked Bryan Gunn within a week of the opening day defeat by Colchester - and four days later revealed Lambert, the architect of that disaster, as his successor.
Lambert's City went on to win 29 of their remaining 43 league games, charging past the likes of Charlton and Leeds before finishing the season with a nine-point gap at the top of the table - all of which earned the former Celtic star the League One manager of the season award.
But always in the background was Cowling's aggressive assertion that City stole Lambert from Colchester - and that they must pay a heavy price.
Cowling admitted on Monday that he was “happy” with some parts of the FDC finding but added: “I don't think they went far enough with any further sanctions.”
And in a statement yesterday, City's solicitor, Dan Chapman of Leathes Prior, explained just how far Cowling wanted the tribunal to go.
“In respect of compensation payable to Colchester United, Norwich City always maintained they were happy to pay fair and reasonable compensation,” he said.
“That is only right. Throughout this dispute Norwich City made numerous offers of settlement to Colchester, but all offers were rejected. We felt that Colchester failed to engage in the process of negotiation and continually 'moved the goalposts' in terms of what they were seeking and why, and the decision of the FDC has reflected that.
“Norwich City were in a position where they were bidding against themselves, and for that reason it was regrettable that the level of compensation had to be set by the FDC.
“As Norwich City fans will no doubt have ascertained for themselves as a result of the public comments of Mr Cowling in the media, Colchester also contended in these proceedings that Norwich City should be deducted points for the 2009-10 season.
“Latterly, when it became apparent to Colchester that a points deduction was likely to have little impact on the outcome of the 2009-10 season, their position changed to demanding a points deduction in the 2010-11 season.
“Norwich City did admit a breach of Regulation 20. Norwich City were therefore aware that a sanction would be imposed and we are pleased that our submission that a points deduction would be wholly inappropriate and unprecedented was accepted by the FDC.
“Above and beyond what is set out in the Football League's press statement, the full contents of the FDC decisions in these proceedings remain confidential.”
Bowkett has clearly struggled to restrain himself from speaking out on the matter during public meetings with supporters, but said he always wanted the issue to be settled amicably.
“We always wished to agree amicable terms of compensation with Colchester, but regrettably we were unable to do so,” he said.
“Norwich City always strives to develop and maintain good links with our fellow clubs, and it was disappointing that the two clubs could not find a way to see eye to eye on the issue of compensation. A lot of the detail of this dispute, and the exact nature of the FDC findings, remain bound up in confidentiality so we cannot comment any further.
“However, we do accept and will meet the orders of the FDC and, financially, provision has been made in our cash flow for sometime to enable us to do so. We should assure our fans that the sums ordered are something we have budgeted for and will have no impact on Paul Lambert's player budget for next season.
“The priority for the board was to ensure that this dispute had no impact on Norwich City's march towards promotion out of League One. As was aired in public by Mr Cowling, he believed from the outset that we should be subjected to a points deduction. We are delighted that the FDC held otherwise. In the interests of moving on and focussing on football we will not be appealing the decisions. Furthermore as we are looking forward we feel our relationship with the Colchester board should resume its normal friendly rivalry. We trust this will be reciprocated.
“We look forward to putting this matter behind us, and to reflecting on the appointment of a management team that we are confident can continue its success in the coming seasons.”