Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert revealed he has not spoken to Norwich City chairman Alan Bowkett for two years as he prepares to welcome his former club to Villa Park on Saturday.
Lambert's first encounter with the club he left in the summer to move to Villa already had enough of a back story to intensify the passions of both sets of supporters and players.
Saturday lunchtime will be no place for the faint-hearted at Villa Park as Lambert struggles to find a solution to the club's worst start to a season for 26 years.
But the former Colchester boss, who resigned from Carrow Road in the summer, believes the animosity has been intensified by Bowkett's decision to make public the legal battle between Lambert and his former employers. Lambert and Norwich are suing each other for breach of contract, with the matter to be decided by a Premier League manager's tribunal.
When asked about Bowkett's claims against him, Lambert said: "I don't know because I haven't spoken to the chairman for about three years. Perhaps that is a bit of an exaggeration, maybe two. It's a good chunk of time. Why? That's football. Let him talk. We will see what happens.
"Could I have handled leaving Norwich any differently? Me, not at all. I took advice from the LMA and I know what is going on. It will be in the hands of a Premier League manager's tribunal and hopefully it will be sorted. But I've got nothing to be ashamed of. I've got nothing to hide.
"When you leave a club, especially after what we'd done, you'd think we'd be made to feel welcome. But it doesn't always transpire that way."
Despite the conflict with his former club, Lambert insists it has not tainted his memories of his time at Carrow Road.
"I look back at the three years with pride," he said. "It was an incredible part of my life which I'll never forget and the crowd were magic with me. Football moves on but I'll never forget the time there. I loved my time there but I don't think I'll be made welcome to go back, that's for sure."