North Stander: 'Lambert would have been gone by now if fans were at games'

Paul Lambert at Crewe Alexandra. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert gives the thumbs up at Crewe - North Stander Terry Hunt is baffled as to why he keeps insisting Town are playing well - Credit: Pagepix Limited

North Stander Terry Hunt gives his take on Ipswich Town's draw at Crewe Alexandra and boss Paul Lambert's insistence that the Blues are playing 'really well.'...

So, we’ve reached the halfway point of this season. What do you think of it so far? The great Eric Morecambe’s response to that question was always “rubbish,” and I think the vast majority of Ipswich fans would agree with that blunt assessment.

We’ve now sunk to 11th place in a dire League One - exactly the same position as we finished last season. We can’t score goals, we can’t keep clean sheets, we don’t create chances, we don’t entertain, and we keep picking up long-term injuries.

Statistically, this is our worst team since the mid-1950s. Yes, you have to be over 70 to have a chance of remembering things being this bad.

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

Most supporters are thoroughly fed up with the manager, and want him to be sacked. Paul Lambert, meanwhile, continues to dig a deeper hole with nonsensically positive summaries of lacklustre performances, thereby insulting the intelligence of the fans - the people who pay his wages.

Owner Marcus Evans is sticking with his man, at least for the time being, saying he won’t be pressurised into changing the manager, as he was when Mick McCarthy left the club.

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So, unless something changes dramatically, we are heading for a mid-table finish, missing the chance of an escape route via the play-offs, and will be stuck in League One when the salary cap really starts to bite.

It’s a pretty miserable picture, isn’t it? Being an Ipswich fan at the moment is an utterly joyless experience. There’s absolutely nothing to celebrate - and I really can’t see that changing any time soon.

The game at Crewe followed our usual pattern. We create very few chances, then we concede. The only slight difference this time was that, glory be, we managed to scramble an equaliser.

I wonder how many Town supporters shouted “I told you so” when we scored within seconds of finally having two strikers on the pitch. It’s a system Lambert says we’re useless with, but we finish nearly every game with two up top as we desperately try to salvage something.

Then, after the game, we had to listen to the manager trying to tell us we were “really good” and he “couldn’t ask for any more.”

Paul Lambert at Crewe Alexandra. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Paul Lambert at Crewe Alexandra. Picture Pagepix Ltd - Credit: Pagepix Limited

That is just insulting to all the loyal Town supporters. We all know we were far from “really good,” and we could all ask for a lot more.

Why can he not tell it as it is? Why doesn’t he follow the example of his captain, Luke Chambers, and give a straightforward assessment - admitting that what we’re producing just isn’t good enough?

Then, as his finale, Lambert took a swipe at reporters from this newspaper, saying he doesn’t care about their opinions. No doubt this was a reference to the call for him to be sacked.

I’d just like to point out something to Mr. Lambert at this point. Good local journalists - like those working for this paper - are closely in tune with the way supporters are feeling, and their words reflect the views of the fans.

That’s certainly true in this case. I haven’t seen any dissenting voices when it comes to the call for Lambert to be replaced.

So, Mr. Lambert, if you really don’t care what the journalists are saying, what you’re actually doing is disrespecting the views of the fans. And, as I mentioned earlier, they are the very people who pay your wages.

Lambert would have been gone by now if supporters were allowed into Portman Road. Marcus Evans does take supporters’ views into account when deciding whether to change managers, and by now he would have been left in absolutely no doubt what the fan base thinks of Lambert. The atmosphere would have been utterly toxic. 

So, we drift on. As I mentioned earlier, I can see nothing better than a mid-table finish. Then what? Change the manager? Let the mass of out-of-contract players leave? Wipe the slate clean and start again? Introduce more kids from the academy?

Any or all of the above would be better than the nothingness we’re suffering at the moment. Rubbish is the only word for it.