Date:Thursday January 7 2010
As the Daily Mail this evening jumps on today`s bandwagon of speculation surrounding Paul Lambert`s future at Norwich we ask: melodrama or meant-to-be?
Everything about this Paul Lambert to Burnley rumour is ironic, coincidental and, it seems, a case of a sheer weight of speculation now writing itself into the press. It`s the classic 50/50, defiantly-maybe and, some Colchester United supporters would say, evidence that karma clearly exists.
Karma because, on a day when City posted a surreal-sounding £23 million debt, it was fittingly a paper that sometimes blurs the line between respectability and absolute non-fiction, the Mail, was first to report the news nationally, online: 'Norwich boss Paul Lambert is the red-hot favourite to replace Owen Coyle at Burnley.`
Karma, moreover, since the general reaction at presupposed Premiership interest echoes exactly what U`s fans felt last autumn after Bryan Gunn was fired. Nerves. That doubt - sure, he`ll stay. But then again... ?
The sticking-point to dismissing this latest idea out-of-hand comes since Lambert happens only to be on a rolling contract: a fact which could either trigger his release or later be used to prop bargaining power for greater resources. It would surely appeal, though, to a Burnley board no doubt anxious to avoid the compensation bun-flight that lead Owen Coyle towards gardening leave and then a team of lawyers up the garden path.
A local commentator said of the ambitious Lambert as he left Colchester back in August that he`s someone in a hurry; impatient for success and one day, possibly, jobs at Celtic and then Scotland. But this Burnley link tests such impatience. That any move should actually happen, though, is an intriguingly absurd idea.
Why? Well, Lambert envisioned restoring City`s former glories as Norwich boss; it would be hard to see him quite so willingly mortgage his ability by uprooting again. I say that because hindsight shows Lambert`s move to our rivals as was a non-gamble, now.
Every super-self-confident person`s best friend, time, has proven him vindicated, if not totally correct, in making a relatively short-distant swap - after all, City are current play-off challengers. The only time he might regret putting currency on loyalty is later this month. Even then, the showdown against Colchester takes on a small real-time context compared to a whole season.
Norwich also possess a superior goal difference to Colchester, despite capitulating against a convincingly co-ordinated side that to put seven past City with ease on the opening day.
Going on past form, to put local bigotry aside, Lambert's team are sleeping-giants; or, a snoozing side capable of slightly swelling. Not so Burnley, you feel, who although admirably riding high in the top-flight, are obviously over-achieving.
Lambert has apparently nothing to gain by trading his reputation chips again so soon and if Burnley are peaking, as Coyle`s departure from his own project there would seem to betray, then potentially the most-talked-about boss of the League One season can only hope to arouse further accusations of disloyalty by changing tracksuits once more. If the most he could conjure is Premiership survival, then even his C.V. might be tempted to sigh and say: so what?
He was seduced by the magnitude of his own achievement as the U`s beat City 7-1 in August: you could tell when he reserved praise for the opposing fans to underscore it at the final whistle. The result meant money in the bank and Lambert, who trades in power not friends, knew it.
With what`s been forged since across East Anglia - a sixty-percent win-ratio and considerable momentum - even someone as precocious as Lambert could not dare trading two divisions for some temporary acclaim or a slightly-rosier transfer kitty. Riding on the currently downward-crest of Burnley`s wave would appear an almighty career gamble. Besides, can he really afford to re-stoke a fire of resentment that already burns regarding a perceived lack of commitment at Wycombe and Colchester?
I think not, which leaves us almost certainly contemplating the narrative that never was, even if there`s still something appealing in potential symmetry behind a seeing Norwich managerless for the upcoming derby on January 16.
Oh, bias? Naturally.
But logic says United fans ought to pipe down, that we've had our fun - at least, until the next time.
What, then, is the Mail excuse? Well, they might easily claim acquittal by mere representation of betting odds in the lead headline, in which case they`re simply writing smart by reflecting some truth amid an obviously over-blown story.
It`s clear now that Lambert himself must state some staying-internet, if only to stop this sprawling saga. He can`t possibly want to quit City while they`re ostensibly so upwardly-mobile... can he?
So what do you think?
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Date:Thursday January 7 2010
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