The off-field fracas concerning Paul Lambert`s managerial move from Colchester United to Norwich City will be formally resolved at two-day hearing in London next week.
By then, should they seal a draw or more in their next fixture against Gillingham, City could be confirmed as League One champions, a title unlikely to be repealed even if the somewhat strident views of U`s chairman and owner Robbie Cowling are reflected in any verdict.
Cowling believes City induced Lambert to break his United contract illegitimately in August and that the Carrow Road club should therefore receive a points deduction as well as the expected financial punishment.
While Cowling`s proposals will not be well-received at City, given their currently lofty league position and with finances reportedly well into the red, it seems almost implausible that a minus-points precedent, in such a commonly-occurring case, could be set or upheld.
A similar situation involving Leeds United`s manager, Simon Grayson, after his controversial departure from Blackpool, was resolved in a successful settlement just over a year ago and ended without any additional sanctions.
Colchester’s chequered past experiences – in 1994 when George Burley resigned after advances from Ipswich and more recently in 2006 as Phil Parkinson left to Hull City – presumably inform Cowling`s wish to protect the club`s interests this time around, practically after initial talks turned sour.
The meeting will also consider any remuneration due for Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa, who followed Lambert out of Colchester eight months ago.
Ultimately, the headline outcome here should determine the amount of money Colchester receive in compensation for Lambert`s loss.
His new side were promoted to the Championship last weekend with games to spare, despite an unbelievably unpredictable start to the season.
Lambert, of course, was still in charge at Colchester when co-ordinating a 7-1 defeat against his employers-elect. That match is now an incipient indicator of some stand-alone excellence during what for the Essex side has otherwise become a largely anti-climatic campaign.
They must notch nine points from the three games remaining and rely on slip-ups from Huddersfield stand any hope of rekindling their feint play-off hopes under Lambert`s replacement, former Watford boss, Aidy Boothroyd.
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