'I'm not going to be the only one to blame' - Lambert after Northampton draw

Town manager Paul Lambert looks on.

Town manager Paul Lambert looks on. - Credit: Photo: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert said 'everybody at the football club needs to take a right hard look at themselves' following tonight's drab goalless home draw with relegation-fighting Northampton Town. Here's his interview in full.


Q: Paul, what's your verdict on that?

A: It wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t good enough. It’s not been good enough for a number of weeks now. 

I’m not going to stand here and be the only one to blame. There are a few others there. 

I made that mistake in the past and I’ll never do it again. 

Collectively we are having a hard time, without a doubt, and tonight wasn’t good enough. 


Q: Are the players letting you down then?

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No, I just think it’s the whole thing. It’s the whole thing, the way everything is. 

I couldn’t ask anymore effort wise. They are a young team. I couldn’t criticise them. I’m loathed to criticise players in public and that’s the way I've always been. And they’re young. They’ll come through things like this. 

It’s probably a learning curve for them. They have to deal with the pressure of being at a big club. But they’ll come through it. 

Q: Were there too many young ones out there tonight?

A: That’s what we’ve got at the minute. We have so many games Saturday-Tuesday, Saturday-Tuesday. We’ve tried to get the balance right. 

I don’t think that was the problem. It was the forward areas where we were struggling. We never really tested the goalkeeper until Nors (James Norwood), who I thought did well when he came on, had that chance. 

I thought we should have had a penalty with Judgey’s one. I’ve seen it back and I think he gets caught with the trailing leg. 


Q: What's it down to then? Last time out here, against Blackpool, it was a good win. You didn't have a game at the weekend....

A: There are no excuses. You only make the excuses when you don’t win.  

There was only one change from the Blackpool game, with Josh (Harrop) coming in for Judgey. 

It just looked a nervy one for some reason. Whether yesterday (a training ground protest) affected them I don’t know, because they’re young.  

That wasn’t great. I don’t think that’s real Ipswich fans that. It wasn’t great. 


Q: How did those protests make you feel?

A: It’s funny. I was facing away from it. I must admit I thought it was just a fire. 

I’m 51, I've seen all these things before. I’ve been in major crisis before. For me this is not nice, but it’s not something.... 

For the younger ones, some who are 18... We were training against the younger kids yesterday... They have to come through it. 


Q: Do you understand the strength if feeling against you from a large number of fans?

You don’t know me that well. Everybody gets hurt. You’re raging inside.  

It’s very hard to explain. I played for Celtic for 8/9 years. You guys maybe don’t know what it’s like up the road. Life off the pitch, everything is scrutinised. Dortmund is huge. I played for huge clubs. For me it’s different to some of these young lads. The older ones as well. It will be hard for them. 


Q: Do you get why fans are hurting and angry?

A: A hundred per cent. Oh for God’s sake! A hundred per cent. 

I hate it. I hate that the club is in the position that it’s in. I hate the way it’s went... Not just this year, but for, I don’t know how many years. You guys have been reporting on it. 

Why the hell has it happened? Why has everything gone the way it has? I don’t know.  

We’ve been here two and a bit years. It’s an accumulation of years gone by. I get it all. A hundred per cent I get it. 

I’m loathe to say that the last nine, 10, 11, 12 years, no success is all my fault.  

Mick McCarthy did an unbelievable job here. An unbelievable job. It was an unbelievable job in the Championship Big Mick done. That turned sour towards the end, I think, but Mick McCarthy had an incredible time here. 

Albeit they never took that step up, after getting in the play-offs, but he done a great job here. 


Q: Did tonight's performance worry you? Are the players playing for you?

A: Listen, I’ve seen the fight. I couldn’t ask for anymore. Flynn (Downes) showed that (with a late red card). 

I think Flynn Downes is going to be a real top player because he’s got that real devilment in him. I’m really happy with how he plays and how he fights. 

Judgey came on and did great. Nors came on and done well. We just lacked that little bit of cutting edge. 


Q: It's a missed opportunity to really cut the gap to the play-off places...

Yeah, but we’re four points off it with a couple of games in hand. But you tend not to look at that now... You’ve got to look at what’s happening now, albeit that it’s still well, well in the club’s capabilities to do it. But you don’t look at that side of it. 


Q: Can you turn things around? Will you be given the chance to?

A: You better ask the main guy. We try our best, we try everything we can do. Are we frustrated? Yes. Are we angry? Yes. Everything. Absolutely everything. I come out here to see you guys and out a face on. Deep down it’s a different kettle of fish. 


Q: Do you deserve to be given longer, given your record?

A: I don’t know. You only get in football what you deserve. You've got to work hard and come through the eye of the storm. You’ve got to come through bad, bad moments. 


Q: Do you still get the impression that Marcus has your back?

A: Well, listen, you never know. Nobody knows anything. I just think everybody at the football club needs to take a right hard look at themselves – everybody – with what’s happened to this football club. There’s no way it should have happened. But it has happened.  

I get Marcus puts a hell of a lot of money in. 

It’s a build up of years and years and years. I totally get it. This football club needs a bit of help, without a doubt. 


Q: Any thoughts about walking away?

A: No, I don’t think about walking away after a game. I’m just thinking about the game. 

I just wait and talk with the staff after the game. Yeah... We’ll see. 



Q: You say the players gave you everything and you say it's not just on you, so is this decline down to the owner then?

A: No, no, you're trying to put words in my mouth.


Q: No, I'm giving you the opportunity to clarify those earlier comments...

A: No, you're trying to put words in my mouth.

What's happened to this club, over I don't know how many years gone by, all the frustration... The club should never be the way it is.

There has been something drastically wrong going right through it and it's not good enough.

That's the bottom line.

If somebody puts X amount into a football club, as Marcus has done, then nobody can point the finger at that. Marcus has put an incredible amount of money in.


Q: So what is it then?

A: It's everything. For me, it's everything. I'm not sure. The structure... everything. It's not right, 100 per cent, the structure.


Q: So who are you angry with?

A: Everything. Everything. Absolutely everything. You know, the manager takes the whole thing on his neck and on his shoulders. I'm not going to be that lamb to the slaughter when there are things around here that I know shouldn't be the way they are.

I'm loathed to criticise anybody, but collectively this is not right.

Forty years ago... Terry Butcher, unbelievable, Johnny Wark, unbelievable, Paul Mariner... unbelievable guys, top guys.They must be looking at it and thinking 'what the hell's happened here?!' They must be.


Q: They are Paul.

A: Aye! Its horrendous, absolutely. That guy there (points at Sir Bobby Robson's name above one stand) and that guy there (points at Sir Alf Ramsey's name above the other stand)... It's criminal.


Q: Who else can you be directing your anger and frustration at though if it's not the owner? There';s only one person who runs the club.

A: Everything. He's in charge, aye, but he's put in an unbelievable amount of money. I don't think you can have one blame culture. I think it's everything. 


Q: How do you put that right?

A: My opinion is that everybody needs to get around the table. And they strip it back somewhere. They have to. Because it's not moving. There are things I've done behind the scenes to try and get them going and give some advice on it. Whether it comes, nobody knows, but I definitely think they need to get around the table and stop this feeling that's around here.


Q: Clearly something has to change. And your frustration is that everything is being directed at you?

A: That's it. But that's always the case. I think there's definitely got to be a sit down at this football club and see where it's going. 


Q: Will you ask the owner for that discussion?

A: We've spoke. He knows my thoughts on the situation. He's not a silly guy. I get on well with the guy, no problem, but you've got to put friendship aside at certain times in football. At the minute, this cannot go on.


Q: I hear what you are saying about bigger issues Paul, but even with all the frustrations about structure have you not got the tools at your disposal to be doing better than this? Do you feel you are getting the best out of what you've got? 

A: Yeah. I can't ask for anymore effort. As a manager that's all you can ask of people. Whether the quality is there, nobody knows. There are a lot of young guys there that only know this club. They are having a hard time at the minute along with the other guys,. What they do give you is unbelievable effort. They give you absolutely everything. I'm not going to criticise them.


Q: But it's four wins in 14... It's 23 points from 20, which is prolonged bottom half form...

A: Absolutely, it's not good enough.


Q: People will say that, regardless of the structure, regardless of investment, regardless of all those things, it still should be better than this for Ipswich Town in League One...

A: Aye. It's not good enough. Absolutely. It's not good enough. A hundred per cent. I can't argue with that.

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