COMMENT: Paul Lambert's record at Ipswich Town is not good enough - it's time for change
- Credit: PA
Paul Lambert has had time to make it work at Ipswich Town. In this newspaper's view, that time has run out. Today, we call for Blues’ owner Marcus Evans to make a change.
More than two years on since his appointment, the club is struggling to compete with the top six in the third tier of English football. The third tier.
Saturday’s lacklustre home defeat to promotion rivals Peterborough - described as a “really good” performance by Lambert - was proof again of his side’s apparent inability to beat the better teams in the division.
And, proof again, that expectations of the fans and the club are seemingly in completely different places.
Ipswich are not playing well enough to make the play-offs, and show no signs of doing so. The team is in danger of losing touch with many of those in the top six.
Here’s the evidence: The record against last season's top 10 and this season's top 10: P27 W4 D8 L15. 20 points from a possible 81.
They have lost to the current top seven, scoring just two goals in the process. And Ipswich are comfortably in the bottom half of the form table since the start of November.
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This is a critical moment not only for this season, but for the football club.
Failure to win promotion would be a disaster, with the salary cap set to bite further in 2021/22, and work against League One’s ‘bigger’ clubs such as Town.
This is why we urge Marcus Evans to make the change now.
This squad of players is good enough so, we question, why is it not performing?
True, Town have been hit by injuries, though many have now returned. The last year has also been disrupted by Covid.
But where are the ‘green shoots’? The consistent signs of progress that we could hang our hopes on?
Five defeats in the last six home games have left an amazingly resilient and patient fanbase completely disillusioned.
The slow, sad decline of Ipswich Town needs to stop.
Of course, there is no guarantee a different manager would make this talented squad tick, and save this season. But Plan A doesn’t seem to be working, and there is still a chance to turn this around.
Why make the call now?
Some say we should have made this call sooner. It’s a fair question. We have discussed our editorial stance at length in recent weeks. Actually, we’ve agonised over it.
We take our responsibility to be the voice of the fans seriously, in particular during this unique season when they can’t attend games.
During these difficult times for the club, our coverage has remained measured, challenging and balanced. We have not wanted to make knee-jerk decisions, believing it was still possible - and wishing - for a change in fortunes.
The defeat to Swindon was dire, but it was the first game back after Covid hit the squad, which also left Lambert seriously ill.
And after a win at Burton, there was hope Town could still put a run together and find some form.
But failure to beat Posh on Saturday puts us back to square one.
That painful cycle of false hope followed by failure. How many times have we seen this in the last two years?
For a club with such a proud history, it is unacceptable that it has fallen so low.
We don’t believe there are many fans left who still think Lambert is the right man to rebuild Ipswich Town, which can challenge for a place back in the Championship.
In fairness to the manager, he united and enthused a disenchanted fan base on his arrival. It was a masterclass in PR. He brought passion back to the club which, at the time, was riddled with apathy.
Sadly, the results simply haven’t backed it up. Lambert’s win record has been dreadful, with most of that in the third tier of English football.
It's a relationship we wanted to work, got off to a great start, but now feels broken beyond repair.
Of course, Marcus Evans could stick with Lambert. Our understanding is he will, while the play-offs are still within reach.
If that happens, we would be delighted to be proved wrong.
But we can't see it. And we don't believe it will happen.
We make the call for a new manager with a heavy heart. This is a wonderful football club, with a magnificent heritage and incredible fans. They deserve better, and to be excited about the club’s future.