Fuller Flavour: The stats don't lie, so why is Lambert still here?

Ipswich Manager Paul Lambert is well covered up at Crewe Alexandra. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Paul Lambert's record at Ipswich Town is dreadful - so, Karl Fuller asks, why is he still in charge? - Credit: Pagepix Limited

Ipswich Town fan and columnist Karl Fuller returns from a battle with Covid-19 to give his thoughts on the Blues... 

Many apologies for my absence over the last couple of weeks, I was struck down by coronavirus.

So, what’s happened since my rant following defeat to Swindon Town?

A narrow win at Burton followed by three more games against top-ten opposition without a victory. All pretty much standard stuff then for an Ipswich Town side that continues to be in freefall.

James Norwood is disappointed after he fails to add the killer touch as he misses a good chance in f

James Norwood is disappointed after he fails to add the killer touch as he misses a good chance in front of goal at Crewe Alexandra. Picture Pagepix Ltd - Credit: Pagepix Limited

We of course had the front-page headline from the EADT calling for Lambert to go and after Saturday’s result at Crewe, the big question has to remain, why is he still in charge?

Another milestone that has come and gone in the last fortnight is the anniversary of the last game I attended at Portman Road.

That was the victory over Lincoln City on January 25, 2020. The day we returned to the top of League One.

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Since then, we have played 18 home games and lost a staggering 10 of them. In fact, in the three bit-part seasons that Lambert has been in charge, he has overseen 19 Portman Road defeats in 47 games, a loss ratio of 40%.

Supporters of a similar vintage to myself often recalled the John Duncan era as just about the worst era of our ITFC supporting lives, that is until the last three or four years.

Dalian Atkinson receives the match ball after scoring a hat-trick against Middlesborough in April 19

Karl says the John Duncan era was the worst he can remember at Town - until now

By way of comparison, Duncan saw 15 home defeats in 68 matches (a loss ratio of 22% for home games) and remember, in three full seasons, he saw us to two 8th place finishes and a 9th place finish.

I remember how we were all up in arms about that at the time!

I really don’t see how anyone can justify Lambert staying. I’ve been calling for him to go for months now and when I’ve gotten into conversations with the few that don’t want him gone, I’ve had excuses like ‘But we’re only two points outside the top two’ - that ship has long since sailed.

Or ‘We've  got so many injuries let’s see where we are when at least two or three of those players return’. That ship has sailed.

Or more recently, ‘We are still in eighth place and only two points outside the play-offs’. That ship has sadly sailed too.

Excuses cannot keep being dreamt up. Heads need to be pulled out of the sand, especially that of Marcus Evans.

The games are coming and going, the gap is getting bigger, and we are in our worst league position for 65 years.

When we finished 11th last season, we were dumped there on a points per game system. We are there on our own merit now.

And if you think my rant this week is a misguided opinion, I’ll offer up some more damning stats that relate to the first-half of league games.

In 18 games since the 4-1 win at Blackpool on October 10, we have scored just three goals.

We have not led at half-time in 20 consecutive matches, and in a league table of games involving just the first-half, we are bottom of the league.

We are not capable of coming out of the blocks from the first whistle, getting at teams and setting an early platform to build on and giving ourselves a chance to win games.

We rarely score the first goal in a game with the only exception in the last 15 matches being both times against bottom club Burton Albion. By the way, I credit 'Renegade Statman' on Twitter for some of the statistics quoted so far in this piece.

But here is another of my own, in the 30 matches now played against the top ten sides to finish above us last season and the current top ten, our record now reads 4 wins in 30 matches and a paltry return of 22 points out of a total of 90 available.

We have scored just 14 goals too in those 30 games, in part, due to Lambert’s reluctance to very rarely switch to two up front in games.

So, if you are still behind the mess of a manager that is Lambert - and of course there is the bigger issue of Evans to somehow overcome in time - how can you really expect him to turn anything around?

The stats don’t lie.