South West Supporters' Club branch calls for Lambert to be sacked
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The South West Branch of the Ipswich Town Supporters' Club has called for manager Paul Lambert to be sacked.
A statement released by the group, which was formed in 2013 and is made up of around 100 active members based from Swindon down to Cornwall, says that with a 'heavy heart' they are calling for a change and urging owner Marcus Evans to 'act now so that a new manager has time to impose a playing style consistent with a realistic promotion bid'.
This follows on from independent supporters group Blue Action having also called for Lambert to go via a statement and banners, put up at both the training ground and stadium, prior to Christmas.
Asked about that banner, Lambert said 'if they want to go down that road then I can’t do anything about that' and insisted 'as I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, if Marcus came to me today or tomorrow and said whatever... nae problem, I can’t do nothing about that, I can’t influence that'.
Blue Action had also planned a protest 'to send a clear message' to Evans at last weekend's home game against Swindon, but they took the decision to postpone that due to the alarming rise in coronavirus cases across the country.
Back In November, the Official Supporters' Club released a statement saying the 'seeming stagnation of our club must not be allowed to continue', but also that 'now is not the time for further disruption'.
Town started 2021 with a 3-2 home defeat to lowly Swindon Town at the weekend, assistant boss Stuart Taylor admitting the performance 'wasn't good enough'.
Since Lambert took charge in October 2019, the Blues have finished bottom of the Championship and 11th in League One. They are currently eighth in the third-tier table, a point adrift of the play-off places, having claimed just 16 points from the last 13 league games.
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A number of key players are returning from injuries at present, with Town taking on rock-bottom Burton Albion away on Saturday.
Here is the South West Branch statement in full:
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"It is with a heavy heart that the Ipswich Town South West Supporters Branch are calling for Paul Lambert to be replaced as manager.
"Our branch was not formed to make statements like this.
"We are a large group of ITFC exiles based from Swindon down to Cornwall who have collectively followed Ipswich Town for many hundreds of years.
"We have nothing against Paul Lambert personally, and we acknowledge the good work he undertook to reconnect the club with its supporters at the start of his tenure.
"We also have nothing against Marcus Evans' idea of a long-term plan, or the principle of the club instilling a playing style throughout all its teams. We are, after all, a football club whose reputation was built on playing football the right way. After many years lacking an identity or style, we badly need one.
"Paul Lambert failed to get us challenging for promotion last season and we still fail to be competitive against ‘promotion rivals’ and teams in the upper part of the table. Wins against lower-placed sides are often unconvincing.
"Our possession-based football regularly fails to turn into chances or goals. Despite forcing multiple set pieces in the attacking half, we rarely trouble the opposition keeper. We see little evidence of Paul Lambert instigating a dynamic, high-tempo, tactically sustainable plan on the pitch. The playing style he directs makes us easy to play against and easy to beat. Substitutions are often made too late with the manager seemingly unable or unwilling to react in a timely way to exploit and counter opposition tactical formations.
"Above all, we see a group of very promising young players and some experienced pros – most of whom have spent their careers playing above League One – struggling to sustain a promotion bid at a level the club was last familiar with in the 1950s.
"While blame can also be placed at the door of underperforming players – who need to take their share of responsibility for the club’s current position – and on coaching and training, the club’s playing philosophy is the responsibility of one man and his staff, and that man has to be held accountable.
"The fanbase and the infrastructure are there and our traditionally patient supporters will again rally behind a manager once the team starts going places. Our view, as this season follows the pattern of the last one, is that Paul Lambert is not the man to see that potential realised and Marcus Evans should take decisive action before the financial implications of the League One wage cap is felt to even more effect next season.
"Halfway through our second season in League One, nothing in Paul Lambert’s current plans and in-game management reassure us that he is the right man for the job.
"We urge the owner to act now so that a new manager has time to impose a playing style consistent with a realistic promotion bid."