North Stander: Is it possible that Evans hasn't sacked Lambert because he's selling the club?
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town fan and journalist Terry Hunt gives his take on the Blues after their 0-0 draw with red-hot Oxford United...
Forget Eastenders and Coronation Street - the Ipswich Town soap opera is definitely the one to watch.
Just about every day over the last week, there’s been a new episode packed with drama, and unexpected twists and turns, leaving us wondering what on earth can possibly happen next.
We had supporters protesting at the training ground, a referee squaring up to Alan Judge, two senior players being banished from the first team squad, and Paul Lambert saying just about everything at the club is wrong.
Oh, and two goalless draws. Well, even in soap operas, there are dull bits!
It has been such an extraordinary week that even the national media have noticed. We’ve featured in Fleet Street newspapers, former players like Darren Bent have been interviewed, and Lambert has been lambasted by ex-Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan.
The one major character missing from the storyline so far has been the most important one of all - Marcus Evans. Yes, the man who can change the whole direction of the plot by making one decision.
During all this mayhem we haven’t heard from Evans. That certainly isn’t unusual for a man who likes to maintain a low profile. But you would have thought that, in the current circumstances, we might have been treated to one of his occasional messages.
What the vast majority of Ipswich supporters want, of course, is not just a message, but for Evans to step in and sack Lambert. At pretty much every other club in the country, that would have happened by now.
Under Lambert, we are inevitably heading for another mid-table finish in what is a desperately poor division.
That’s the third division, don’t forget. He is consistently failing to get the best from a squad of players which, by common agreement, should at least be challenging for the top six.
Lambert’s relationship with Town’s usually patient fans is at rock bottom. If he remains in charge when the club starts selling season tickets for the 2021-22 campaign, I fear thousands of disgruntled supporters will walk away.
So, he needs to go. It should happen quickly, while there are enough games left this season to give us a chance to challenge for the play-offs under a new boss.
So why is Evans waiting? As far as I can see, there are a number of possible explanations. Take your pick!
The first possibility is that, for whatever reason, Evans still believes Lambert can turn things round and he still has the owner’s support.
The second possible explanation is that Evans has, understandably, lost faith in Lambert, but is waiting for a break clause in the manager’s ludicrously lengthy contract, to save himself a hefty seven-figure payout.
The third scenario is certainly the most intriguing, but sadly might well fall into the realms of wishful thinking...
Is it just possible that Evans is remaining silent, and hasn’t sacked Lambert, because he is currently going through the complex process of selling the club?
Speculation is swirling around social media that a US-based financial consortium is talking to Evans about a takeover. That would explain why we haven’t heard anything from him, and why Lambert remains in place.
There is certainly some interest in buying sleeping giants currently languishing in the third tier. Look at Sunderland. They are now owned by a 23-year-old billionaire. Watch them climb the divisions in the next few years.
So, it’s possible Evans has found a buyer. But in situations like this, it’s too easy to conjure up the scenario you want to see. As I said earlier, it could easily have to be filed under “Wishful thinking.” But, equally, it might just be true...
With all the off-field drama, the two games we’ve played this week have been relegated to mere side issues.
The performance against Oxford was definitely an improvement on the utterly appalling display against Northampton, but a goalless draw at home against mighty Oxford is hardly cause for celebration!
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We still look woefully short of goals, and we have a really tough run of games coming up, starting with a daunting trip to third-placed Hull.
So, we look forward to the next thrilling episodes of the Ipswich Town soap opera. Will Lambert be sacked? Will Evans sell the club? Will Jon Nolan and Kayden Jackson return from footballing Siberia? Will Ipswich score a goal?
Who knows? In soap operas, anything is possible. Stay tuned!