Should we boo Paul Lambert when he brings Ipswich to Carrow Road?
PUBLISHED: 17:57 01 February 2019 | UPDATED: 09:19 02 February 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Former Norwich manager Paul Lambert will bring his struggling Ipswich side to Carrow Road next weekend. Steven Downes says Norwich fans shouldn't hold back in giving him a hostile reception
To boo, or not to boo: that is the question. For the return of Paul Lambert to Carrow Road on February 10 as the manager of Ipswich Town has presented Norwich City fans with a conundrum.
When Lambert emerges from the tunnel in his Ipswich tracksuit, car coat or blue-and-white onesie, how should we greet him?
Perhaps we should pity him. He thought his move to Villa was a step up, but the step was slippery and he has tumbled down and down to the lowest point in the Championship.
Norwich, on the other hand, have moved on, with an international flavour and free-flowing football.
I cannot pity Lambert, though. He chose to leave Norwich, which was fair enough, as he’d probably taken us as far as he could (which was a long way, from the bottom of League One to the middle of the Premier League).
But he also chose to take the job at Ipswich, then to make some silly comments about beating Norwich. Dissing your ex is not classy, Paul.
Maybe we should cheer him? Some people will, as they cannot forget what he did for Norwich.
For the record, I think he was the best City manager in their history - thanks to the speed of the turn-around, the way he galvanised the club, the way he got so much out of players who weren’t necessarily all that, and how he made Carrow Road a thrilling place to be on match day.
He also gave us the season of Norwich 4 Ipswich 1, and Ipswich 1 Norwich 5: a season that ended in promotion to the Premier League. Gloat Heaven.
While we were together, it was bliss. But an ex is an ex, and an ex is a hate figure if they leap into the arms of your sworn enemy.
Lambert has every right to be employed at Portman Road. He was out of work and took a job.
But we have every right to make his latest return to Carrow Road as uncomfortable as possible.
If your ex-girlfriend rocks up to your birthday party uninvited, with a new man on her treacherous arm, you don’t hand out hugs, invite them in and pour them a glass of wine. No, unless you’re Mr Magnamimous or Mr Doormat, you’d slam the door and pour yourself a double-double.
Paul Lambert dumped us for Aston Villa, then showed himself to be something of a player by working his way through Blackburn Rovers, Wolves and Stoke City, before landing up with the ugly one that nobody wanted to dance with, Ipswich Town.
Some people go on the rebound: Lambert has been playing pinball.
Next weekend, he’ll be parading his new squeeze - in the same way that farmers parade prize bulls with faces only they could love - at our home, Carrow Road.
Having given him a warm reception when he returned with Aston Villa, I intend to unleash bile and loathing on February 10.
He’ll join a tiny club of those who are ex-Norwich City, who got dog’s abuse from me when they returned with another club.
Steve Bruce, once my defensive idol, walked out on us when we were in crisis. He’ll get yet another outpouring of fury when he brings Sheffield Wednesday to Carrow Road on April 19.
The only other member is Andy Marshall, who not only ran down his contract so we got nothing for him, but he moved to Ipswich Town. Boooooooooo! Enough said.
The East Anglian derby is no place for sentiment, sympathy or magnanimity: everybody on the blue side, including Lambert, is our deadly foe.
So boo him, jeer him and laugh at him. Then, at full time, we can hopefully win with a total lack of grace, gloating like bosses.