Cowling's e-mail 'Nazi' jibe at City bosses

David BaleNorwich City's increasingly bitter feud with Colchester United has taken another sensational twist after Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling compared City bosses to Hitler in an astonishing email to a fan.David Bale

Norwich City's increasingly bitter feud with Colchester United has taken another sensational twist after Colchester chairman Robbie Cowling compared City bosses to Hitler in an astonishing email to a fan.

Mr Cowling, bitter after Norwich boss Paul Lambert defected to the Carrow Road club last season, claimed in an e-mail to supporter Keith Armour that the Canaries had two 'dubious' characters running the club.

He went on to compare them to 'Hitler and the Nazis' in a tirade that will today incense Norwich City supporters.

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 unfair on our European neighbours.'

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

They went on to help the Carrow Road club to secure promotion back to the Championship.

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Earlier this week a tribunal ruled 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 City should have been docked six points before they even kicked a ball in anger next season.

It was these comments which prompted Mr Armour, an electronics engineer who has been a Norwich City season ticket-holder for 26 years, to email the Colchester chairman.

Mr Armour's email urged Mr Cowling to let the 'whole Paul Lambert saga rest' and stop stirring it up and suggested he had an 'over-inflated ego'.

It said: '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.

'I do hope 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.'

Mr Armour, who lives between Norwich and Yarmouth, today admitted he had tried to wind the Colchester chairman up in his email and had used swear words, but said: 'I did not expect him to reply like that. I could not believe what I was reading and I had to read it twice. In this day and age to compare anyone to Hitler was unbelievable. I thought it was a pretty poor show and I was shocked.'

The email from Mr Cowling also said: '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 two 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.'

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

Last night Mr Bowkett issued the briefest of statements, saying: 'Oh dear, oh dear. Robbie will be Robbie. It would not be appropriate to say any more on the matter.'

Mr Cowling today said he was disappointed that a personal email conversation had been leaked to the Evening News, and said in future he would reconsider responding to supporter correspondence.

However, he did not apologise for his comments or try to justify them.

He said: 'I receive numerous correspondences from supporters and endeavour to answer as many of them as I can. I have always thought that these are personal and should remain so.

'If they are to be publicised, the whole email conversation should be printed so replies to previous emails can be put into context. It is disappointing that someone felt that a personal email conversation was for public consumption and I will have to reconsider my view on responding to supporter correspondence that I have had no qualms about replying to in the past.'

Mr Cowling was criticised for his comments by Kathy Blake, secretary of Norwich City Independent Supporters' Association.

She said: 'He has not covered himself in glory. He might have had the moral high ground in the first place, but he's behaving very immaturely now - it's almost like playground stuff.

'And to say that it was not a major achievement winning the league, my mind goes back to the Colchester game in January when he said he wanted to win the game so badly. I think it was a major achievement and it's just sour grapes.'

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