Paul Lambert insisted there was no element of premeditated revenge about his side`s performance during January`s fixture between Colchester United and Norwich City as he reflected on achieving promotion yesterday.
Against the melodramatic agenda set after the U`s 7-1 club record league victory on the first day of this season – a game which subsequently prompted City to controversially hire Lambert – Norwich turned the tables with an empathic 5-0 win.
Lambert, speaking on the BBC`s Late Kick-off East show, implied that any ruckus was an incidental part of the fixture. “I think Colchester made that game bigger than it was; it was just another game for us. I think we were used to that every single week, with the fanbase. The hostility? It wasn`t new for us. It was new for Colchester because they hadn`t had that before – their biggest crowd, I think – and they were maybe stoking it up a little bit.“
The game brought Colchester`s new record high attendance for at their new ground, but equally remains the biggest domestic defeat of the season.
Lambert, meanwhile, returned to Colchester cast as a pantomime villain by the home crowd – some probably misguided U`s fans even took his pre-match wave towards Norwich owner Delia Smith that day as an act deign to deliberately antagonise the Essex side`s supporters.
He brushed all such talk aside this week, adding: “The most important thing for us was to get three points. We did it, it was absolutely terrific. Delighted for the fans because they had to endure the reverse in August.”
Robbie Cowling, Colchester`s Chairman and owner was very vocal at the time with his own options about the rematch, which undeniably represented a red-letter day for both sides and could also be classed as a major turning-point in for either. City, after all, faced United amid am impressive January run of six straight wins, while since that loss the latter have fallen behind a race for the play-offs.
However, the sides will meet again next week, – this time off the field. Resolving the U`s unsettled compensation claim for Lambert`s services is the order of the day.
When quizzed, the ex-Colchester boss added that he “loved it” with Norwich City and dismissed lingering doubts about a supposed inability to form professional loyalties towards his teams.
These questions were raised so soon after his Norwich move because of reported interest from first Premiership outfit Burnley and more recently his former club, Celtic.
Lambert`s tenure lasted just 312 days in North Essex.
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