North Stander: 'If the manager and the captain are not on the same page, what about the rest of the players?'
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste
The vastly differing comments from Paul Lambert and Luke Chambers after the Peterborough defeat told their own sorry story about the desperate state of our football club.
Despite yet another appallingly toothless display from his team, manager Lambert said he thought the performance was “really good” and he “couldn’t ask any more.” Really, Paul?
Skipper Chambers, on the other hand, said more or less the complete opposite. He admitted it wasn’t good enough, and said he was frustrated by the way the team was playing.
In many ways, the Chambers interview gave us a glimpse into the dressing room, in the same way Luke Woolfenden did a couple of weeks ago. Yes, that Luke Woolfenden, who has been warming the bench since the interview.
Let’s be clear.
The comments from Chambers are very significant. Manager and captain at any football club are supposed to be joined at the hip. The skipper is the gaffer’s trusted lieutenant when the game starts. Think Bobby Robson and Mick Mills, or George Burley and Matt Holland.
I think Chambers’ comments clearly demonstrate turmoil behind the scenes. Both he and Woolfenden were desperately downbeat.
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If manager and captain are not on the same page, what about the rest of the players? Are the rumours of dressing room unrest true?
It is, in all honesty, one very big, depressing mess. The team is massively under-performing, the injuries are still piling up, and the demands for the manager’s head from the fans have reached a crescendo.
The big decision, of course, rests with owner Marcus Evans. Will he act quickly, and change the manager while there is still a chance for a new man to turn round our fortunes this season? That would certainly take the heat out of the situation.
Or will he stick with his stance, stated only a few weeks ago, that he won’t be pressured by the fans into making the change?
One thing I do know about Evans is that he will keep a cool head. He will carefully assess all the factors in play. He hasn’t built a hugely successful business empire by making knee-jerk decisions driven by emotion.
He will take into account the unhappiness of the supporters which appears to be pretty much unanimous in the view that Lambert needs to go.
Evans will also know what is happening behind the scenes. If Lambert really has “lost the dressing room,” as appears to be increasingly likely, that would clearly also be a key factor in his decision.
In reality, he appears to have two options. One is to stick with Lambert, in the hope that he can somehow turn it around. In my view, that would be a forlorn hope, because this malaise really is deeply rooted now.
If he went down that route, and we didn’t achieve promotion, then he would surely send Lambert on his way at the end of the season, appoint a new manager in the summer, and hope to reignite fans’ enthusiasm. There is the financial aspect of selling season tickets as well.
The other option is to get rid of Lambert now, find a new manager, and hope that the change works wonders in the dressing room. Of course it’s a gamble, but the alternative, as far as I can see, is a continuation of this awful drift to mid-table oblivion amid increasing fury from the fans.
Lambert really doesn’t help himself. His post-match comments on Saturday were, frankly, utterly ludicrous, and insulting to Ipswich fans who endured another very lacklustre display. Who on earth is he trying to kid?
The team he selected summed it up. Fans I know were excited by the prospect of winger Luke Thomas arriving from Barnsley on loan.
We were promised some pace at last.
Thomas himself said he was unhappy at Barnsley, and was relishing starting games. So what did Lambert do? Put him on the bench and started with the same old, hopeless formula - one up top, and no chance of scoring in a month of Sundays.
So, over to you, Mr. Evans. Will you stick by a manager who has clearly lost the support of the vast majority of supporters, who is failing to get the best from his players, and who appears to have very different views on the situation to his captain?
Or will you take the plunge, make the change, and give us a chance of better times ahead?