Is promotion this season really a must? Perhaps we should just start all over again
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town fan Simon Jones offers his take on the Blues in the latest in our Your Posts series. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to write about Town for us....
I saw a statistic recently, prior to the Blackpool match, that for me summed our situation up perfectly – that in the last calendar year we have managed 4 home goals in the first half of matches – and 3 of those against Burton.
Let that sink in. That’s a remarkable statistic by any benchmark – and even allowing for the pandemic break, that’s over more than enough games to be a simply shocking pointer for where this club is at.
Forget half season tickets, sign me up for a second half match season ticket!
Having written an article last year suggesting Lambert’s record was already indefensible, I continue to watch and support a club who in my view still have no obvious aspiration to improve, and perhaps even appear comfortable with it getting worse.
I raised a view that the players looked miserable, and nothing I can currently see has altered that view. The players remain, surely, more capable than what Lambert is extracting from them – yes the Blackpool match was very positive, but with the evidence to hand over a longer period, if they are truly playing for the manager and are right behind him, then we’re in big trouble.
Marcus Evans must know and see this; I cannot believe for a moment that he still thinks Lambert is the right man to move this forward – my hope is that the manager remains in post only because removing him is not currently financially palatable for the owner.
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We may have to be realistic, perhaps even patient about the timing – but there’s little denying that if Lambert had anything more to offer this club, we’d have known by now.
The owner’s claims of seeing green shoots feel like little more than an empty platitude to buy some time.
Lambert himself is doing his best to paint a picture of someone who doesn’t want to be here anymore than we want him here – and it shows on the pitch with endlessly aimless and depressing performances.
There’s been a lot written by others on Lambert’s tactics and formations, and, inadequate as they certainly are – we don’t have good enough midfielders to make a success of one up front - it probably doesn’t entirely explain our humiliating record against League One’s ‘better’ teams.
As much as Lambert evidently holds this team back from maximising its potential, we also need to look hard and honestly at whether these players are genuinely good enough – even at League One level.
I’ve read a lot of passionate views around how we simply have to get promotion this year, and given the news last week that the salary cap has been scrapped, I do wonder whether that now actually takes some of the pressure off.
Irrespective of what the impacts might have been on the club, my own view is this - is promotion this season a must anyway? Does it achieve much?
We are not going to fluke promotion in our current state of despair, and even if we did, we would surely get fewer points than last time.
I see no logic in assuming that our owner would sanction sufficient cash expenditure to make us competitive; we don’t appear to be good enough to exit League One let alone contemplate survival in a better league, and the investment required to do so would likely be immense.
I don’t think we’ll get that investment and therefore I struggle to see what the benefits are given the state of the team at the moment.
Is there real hunger for promotion right from the top, and throughout the club? Is there a real, meaningful plan outside of occasional sound bites? I don’t think so. It is being well disguised if there is – both on and off the pitch.
After 13 years of excruciating failure, we can be pretty sure that the current structural approach doesn’t work. From the very top right through to the manager, where is the demonstrable intention to improve this club? I cannot see it. It feels more and more like determination to fail.
Rather than wishing to limp out of this league this year unprepared for the future, perhaps we need instead to think about the benefits of starting again and adopting the mindset of a salary cap as though it were in place, and do the mass squad clear out that the wage restrictions would have demanded anyway.
We have a ludicrously bloated squad, and the number of out of contract players we have coming up in the summer should be viewed as a blessing, not a hindrance.
A chance to move on some proven failures; and a chance to move on some who haven’t got what it takes, or haven’t come close to justifying their cost.
Our wage bill is vastly more than the value we are realising from it – and now is the time to finally do something about it.
In such a scenario of change, the coaching ability of the manager becomes more important than ever. This is only a problem if we have a manager not up to the task.
It is clear Lambert needs replacing, and so once that change inevitably happens, carefully blending our best youth team players with a hungry, fit, well coached and balanced squad means the future can still be bright – even if we have to spend more years in League One developing it and getting it right.
I would watch League One football for as long as it took, if I saw the club building something and moving forward with fresh ideas.
All I see currently is a miserable mess – not knowing who, from the manager through to the players, really wants to be here and make this wonderful club the success it still can be.
The club has magnificent fans, there’s no excuse for what we put up with. Success cannot be as hard as the club make it look – much like scoring a goal, I guess.
Come on Marcus – give the fans a club to be proud of and get behind. We’re still here, just. It’ll be more fun for everyone!