U's chairman apologises for 'Nazi' rant

ian clarkeColchester chairman Robbie Cowling has issued a public apology for comparing City bosses to Nazis in an astonishing email to a fan in a row over the Canaries' approach for manager Paul Lambert.ian clarke

Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling has issued a public apology for comparing City bosses to Nazis in an astonishing email to a fan in a row over the Canaries' approach for manager Paul Lambert.

Cowling, bitter after Lambert defected to the Carrow Road club last season, claimed in an email to supporter Keith Armour that the Canaries had two 'dubious' characters running the club and went on to compare them to 'Hitler and the Nazis'.

Armour had accused the U's chairman of stirring trouble between the two clubs for his own ends and mocked the fact that Lambert went on to steer Norwich to automatic promotion after quitting Colchester in August last year.

The email read: 'I am sure the Germans were overjoyed at Hitler's early successes, but I wouldn't want to label your two clowns in the same category as Hitler and the Nazis. That would be very unfair on our European neighbours.'

The email does not name the two people to whom Cowling is referring, but it is understood to be Canaries chief executive David McNally and chairman Alan Bowkett.

But yesterday Cowling apologised for the outburst in a statement released on Colchester United's official website.

Most Read

The statement said: 'For the first three 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 published a story relating to their content.

'I'm 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'm very quick to defend myself when I believe I'm in the right and therefore it is only right that I'm just as quick to apologise when I'm in the wrong. Sorry.'

Norwich City and Colchester have been at loggerheads since August last year after Lambert left the Essex club for Carrow Road, taking his assistant Ian Culverhouse and director of football Gary Karsa with him.

They went onto help City secure promotion back to the Championship at the first attempt after helping to orchestrate Norwich's biggest ever home defeat, 7-1, on the opening day of the season when they were at Colchester.

Last week a tribunal ruled that City must pay �425,000 in compensation, a �75,000 fine and a �125,000 fine suspended for two years for the manner in which the matter was handled.

Norwich have since said they are happy to pay the fine. Mr Cowling, however, has since said he believes that City should have been docked six points before they kicked a ball in anger next season.

Mr Bowkett, the Norwich City chairman, issued a brief statement in response to Mr Cowling's initial email. He said: 'Oh dear, oh dear. Robbie will be Robbie. It would not be appropriate to say more.'