Poll: Paul Lambert - hero or villain? Our writers have their say
As Paul Lambert prepares to face his former club, and with he and Norwich City in a bitter dispute over compensation, we have been asking: what do Norwich City fans think of Paul Lambert?
Is he a hero, or a villain? And why?
Post your comments below or on Twitter by using the hashtag #lambert
At the end of the week we will print the best responses – and provide the answer to the question. Today, EDP writers give their verdicts.
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Heroic villain. They say timing is everything in this world and Norwich City were fortunate Paul Lambert viewed Norfolk as the perfect stage to launch the next phase of his career after they had sunk to such a low ebb in 2009.
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What Lambert, his coaching staff and players achieved was monumental. That legacy has since been soured by the manner of his summer exit. Many City fans felt it was too soon.
Lambert didn't, but he left the club in a far healthier state than he inherited it and for that reason alone he will always be remembered as one of the club's finest managers.
One of the problems with football is that it does, indeed, become a tribal past-time following one team in particular – and once your team has, in your eyes, been wronged, the natural view is to hit back, to defend yourself.
Standing in a crowd of several thousand people can persuade the most mild-mannered of us to adopt the view of the majority, even if it does conflict with the opinion you might form independently.
Paul Lambert's departure from Carrow Road divided opinion, but if it wasn't for the fact that football operates under different rules to everyday life, the impact would have been less divisive: man leaves one place of work for another. That is all that happened. In the real world.
Sit in a dark room, on your own, and contemplate the situation and you discover that Lambert did a terrific job in the three seasons he was manager of Norwich City, but when what he saw as a better opportunity came along, he decided to accept it. The legal issues, with both parties claiming compensation, are almost irrelevant in our argument, because he was never going to come back, was he? He'd gone for good.
Lambert achieved a lot, and while I have always believed it wasn't the most difficult job in League One at the time he took over, it would not have been accomplished under any Joe Bloggs manager.
We have a lot to thank him for and we should be grateful to him.
But go with the noisy crowd and the conclusion may be different: Lambert didn't leave for a better club, or a club in a better position. Lambert didn't leave on the best of terms. Lambert wasn't loyal etc etc.
Yes, when someone who has done that much for you suddenly ups sticks and leaves, having been coveted by someone less attractive, it hurts.
But without him, think where City could be; not basking in the glory of victory over the mighty Gunners I can guarantee.
Hero or villain? Hero.
Where would we all be without the passions that run through football? Well, this weekend's trip to Villa Park would be more humdrum for starters.
To some, Paul Lambert's exit crossed a line they will never forgive him for. For me, it's irrelevant.
Okay, it wasn't as classy as others. Indeed, it's still being played out. But a fiercely driven man left as you would expect. All the qualities that made Lambert a success ultimately led him to leave – that was predictable from the start.
So why remember the fall-out when it means tarnishing League One glory? Tarnishing the Championship ride that kept getting faster and more exciting by the week? Tarnishing the greatest East Anglian double City have ever enjoyed – and a fearless Premier League return that stands among the club's highest finishes?
It was what he did at the club and saw out that matters. For that, his own legend should endure too.
Football seems to be getting more and more like an episode of Eastenders, every single issue seems to become such a huge drama.
I fully expect Match of the Day to be far more interested in our match at Villa on Saturday than they would have been in any other season and I'm sure the cameras will be firmly fixed on Lambert throughout.
What we need to remember is that this is football, a game, not a matter of life and death.
To players and managers their football clubs are their employers, not necessarily a club that is close to their heart like it is for supporters.
So for me, Lambert is and will remain a hero.
His three incredible seasons should not be soured by the posturing and battle of egos that have followed his Carrow Road exit.
If he had left under happy circumstances, we would still have wanted to get one over on him, and the players will still want to, just as much as he will want to get one over them.
Let's just get on with the football and focus on winning a vital three points against a team that looks like it will also be battling against relegation.
'PINKUN PETE' RAVEN
The supposed 'grudge match' against former manager Paul Lambert at Villa Park on Saturday could throw up the possibility of some sections of the away support taunting their former hero.
They will do well to remember that had it not been for the Scot then we would more than likely be in the stands at the likes of Yeovil rather than competing in the top flight.
As we saw at Colchester in January 2010 Lambert appears to thrive on being the bad guy so I would suggest polite applause before the game in recognition of the amazing time he gave us all before spending the following 90 minutes getting behind Hughton and his boys.
There can be no questioning the amazing impact Paul Lambert made on Norwich City Football Club. He will go down in history as one of the club's most successful managers and helped so many people recapture their love for the club.
His loss was a blow, but most fans will acknowledge that the departure did not come as a shock. One, given how he left Colchester, and two, that he left after a season he knew he wouldn't be able to surpass.
However, that hero status for me has come crashing down with the most recent development.
My opinion had already been dampened by the fact that he left for Aston Villa. Aston Villa! Not a Liverpool, Everton or Spurs, but the lifetime of mid-table mediocrity that is Birmingham's top club, well most seasons anyway.
But after beginning to come to terms with that, news of the wrangle with the club kissed goodbye to the hero status.
Perhaps he is just trying to minimise his losses in an I'll sue you, you sue me game, but unfortunately that still makes him a pantomime villain on Saturday, even if it doesn't take away from his amazing accomplishments for the club.