Robbie Cowling, shown not sending angry emails to a Norwich fan and comparing the Norwich board to nazis.
Here is some background to a bit of League One drama:
Colchester United and Norwich United were both League One sides at the start of the season (Norwich have now promoted to the Championship btw). In case you don't know they are geographical rivals, they're both in the same region if not the same county.
Norwich is run by Delilah Smith and Stephen Fry is a fan. Colchester have the lowest average attendance in League One. This doesn't really relate to the rest of the story btw but it's good to know.
On the opening day of the season, Colchester beat Norwich 7-1, and their manager, Bryan Gunn, got canned after their second match. Who did they get to replace him?
Why, Phil Lambert. Who was Colchester's manager. Colchester demand compensation as they say Norwich broke the rules by doing this. This drags on and ends up in front of the FDC who say that they have to pay £425,000 in compensation and also £75,000 in fines and potentially more if they break this rule again.
So a club breaks the rules and gets fined. Is that the end of it? Nope. Enter Robbie Cowling, Colchester's chairman. He receives an abusive email from a Norwich fan...and decides to reply to it.
From his statement on Colchester's official website:
On Wednesday I received the following email:
Sent: 02 June 2010 13:42
To: Robbie Cowling
Subject: Paul Lambert
Isn't it about time you stopped being a complete t*t head and let the whole Paul Lambert saga rest.
As I hope you are aware, us Norwich fans have always had a good rapport with Colchester fans and your actions have really streched this to the limit. Irrepairable damage may already have been done, so please give up on the s**t-stirring for the benefit of not only the Norwich fans, but most importantly for Colchester, your own fans.
I do wonder if you really care about them? I fear not, and think you're more interested in pumping up your own over-inflated ego.
You may think that I'm writing this now because I'm upset about the fine imposed on Norwich. You'd be far from the truth, I'd like to let you know that I consider the fine a great investment!
Maybe instead of bitching, you should sit down and take a long hard look at yourself and wonder why you can't hold on to good managers, after all the right honourable Mr Paul Lambert isn't the only good manager you've let slip!
I do wish Colchester United the best of luck for the forthcoming season, but on a personal level, may mis-fortune come your way.
I do hope that the potato field of a pitch at your stadium yields a good crop of spuds this summer. You'll need all those potatoes for all the chips you have on your shoulder!
Keith (a loyal Norwich fan)
For some reason , despite actually being a lot tamer than other emails I have received from Norwich fans, this email got under my skin and I decided it warranted a reply. So within an hour, I sent the following response:
When the FDC findings are published it will become clear who has acted badly and why Colchester United have had to drag the matter through the courts to seek justice.
In the past I have always had a lot of respect for Norwich and was more than happy for Paul to move there. However, your Chairman wanted to steal him and I could not allow that to happen.
I understand that you would want to believe that your club has acted no worse than any other club does in these situations and it is true that for many years they have acted better than most. However, you currently have 2 very dubious characters running your club and although their actions seem justified through the success you have had last season I don't believe that winning the 3rd tier of English football is a major achievement for a club the size of Norwich.
I am sure the Germans were overjoyed at Hitler's early successes but I wouldn't want to label your 2 clowns in the same category as Hitler and the Nazis. That would be unfair on our European neighbours.
Despite the tone of your email message I certainly wouldn't wish any ill fortune on you. I mean you have the ill fortune of supporting Norwich City to deal with and that must be a fate worse than anything I could suffer.
For the first 3 paragraphs I was able to respond in a manner befitting a football club chairman but sadly, I allowed my guard to drop and continued to respond in a manner that was totally inappropriate.
The email recipient has since sent copies of the emails to a Norwich newspaper, who have today published a story relating to their content.
I am really sorry that I allowed myself to be drawn into a slanging match of this kind. My comments were in retaliation to a personal attack and do not reflect my honest opinions. I made a mistake and it won't be repeated.
I can't stop being passionate about Colchester United and I will continue to stand my ground when I think I am in the right. I am very quick to defend myself when I believe I am in the right and therefore it is only right that I am just as quick to apologise when I'm in the wrong. Sorry.
My favourite part? Him invoking Godwin's law. There's nothing like calling another football club nazis.