Lambert’s statement ends an anxious day for Norwich City fans

Will he stay or will he go? was the question on the lips of thousands of City followers until Friday night's statement finally put their worries at rest over Paul Lambert's future.

On any other day, news of Roy Keane's sacking from rivals Ipswich would have been the big talking point among the Canary faithful.

But the internet forums were red hot with fears that the man who has led City from the bottom of League One to third place in the Championship could be lured away.

Emotions changed during the day from initial hope that Lambert would quickly quash any talk of leaving Carrow Road, to fear that the unthinkable could be possible when he refused to discuss the issue – and finally relief when he belatedly issued a statement confirming he would be staying.

Speaking before that statement, Robin Sainty, a committee member of the Norwich City Independent Supporters Association, was confident Lambert would stay and said he did not agree with the 'conspiracy theory' surrounding the manager's silence on his future at yesterday's press conference.

'I do not think there is anything suspicious about him not speaking and was told not to get drawn in to talking about it. He has made so many statements about how happy he is at Norwich and is probably sick to death of being asked again. I cannot see any logical reason why he would go for the job at Burnley.'

Celebrity supporters such as Sky Sports presenter Simon Thomas and City legends Darren Huckerby and Iwan Roberts posted Twitter messages urging Lambert to stay, while actor, comedian and City director Stephen Fry also tweeted, if only to say he could not comment due to his place on the board.

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The over-riding view among grassroots supporters was disbelief that the man who has become a true Norfolk hero might quit to go to a club seven places lower in the Championship table with attendances about half of those at Carrow Road.

If nothing else, the hours of uncertainty served to give Lambert an indication of the depth of support he has among City followers.

Ben East, of Northern Canaries, said Lambert had been crucial to the turnaround in the club's fortunes, but admitted many fans are aware Lambert will put his own career ambitions before loyalty to Norwich.

He said: 'The reason most fans worry is that, unlike most managers that we have ever had, the team's fortunes seem so bound up in this manager.

'With Stringer's team and Walker's team you could see a situation where the team could go on and continue to do well even without the manager. We have got a good squad, but I saw games over Christmas and we had a League One side out.

'It seems like it's the force of his personality which gets results and as a Norwich fan you worry about what will happen without that force of personality. He gets the best out of players.'

Burnley have been in the Premiership recently, and have the benefit of parachute payments to bolster its bid to get back into the top flight, and to stay there.

Kathy Blake, secretary of Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association (NCISA), still believes that despite this spending power, Burnley are not a better bet than Norwich.

She said: 'The big question to me is what have they got that we haven't got and there's only one small answer to that – it's nearer to Scotland where Paul Lambert's family live.

'It would be practically a good decision to him, but they have smaller gates than us, they are lower in the league and their potential is not as big as ours.

'They are in the shadow of clubs like Manchester United and City but round here Lambert has a monopoly on fans and at this stage of his career I can't see how it would benefit him.'