'It's limp wristed and lightweight' - Simon Jordan slams Paul Lambert interview on talkSPORT
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Under-pressure Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert was on talkSPORT earlier today. Here's what he had to say to presenter Jim White, plus what former Crystal Palace owner Simon Jordan made of the exchange afterwards.
Jim White: There was a training ground protest there the other day where a fire was started. So what on earth is going on there. I spoke to Paul Lambert earlier and this is what he had to say.
Paul Lambert: It was what you can imagine, if you don’t get results, the pressure comes and it comes and it’s normal.
The scenes at the training ground the other day, I don’t think it was true Ipswich fans, I think that’s one thing to say. I don’t think that’s the way it should have been dealt with or anything like that.
We had a young team out last night, we were actually training against a younger team and it’s probably the first time they’ve probably seen things like that and were wondering what’s actually going on, what football is about.
In a way it can be a good thing for them because they can see the pitfalls of football if things don’t go right for their own careers, they can see a lot of stuff there.
But morally it was wrong what they did, but, as I say, I don’t class them as real Ipswich fans.
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JW: What actually happened? Was it a hostile group of people who turned up at the training ground?
PL: We were training and we were doing shape work the day before the game. It was behind the goal and I didn’t really know about it until I could smell smoke and I thought somebody must be burning something here.
And I turned around and I’ve seen the flags and the flares and these sorts of thing. It’s never nice, it doesn’t matter how old you are, but we had a lot of young players playing and it might have been their first time experiencing that.
But, as I said before, I don’t class them as Ipswich fans. I thought it was wrong, what actually happened.
JW: The fact is Paul, it's needs must at the moment. You've got youngsters training with you and you've got youngsters you've got to throw in because you've got no other option!
PL: At one stage of the season we had 10 lads out injured and we were playing academy kids in there. I think that gets swept under the carpet because there were a lot of injuries to bigger players for us, and we found that tough.
We came through that little period and we got them all back and then the pandemic, we had a few games missing [due to positive Covid tests] so we had to play catch-up.
You have to adjust to it, I think that’s every manager’s challenge, you have to adjust to things like that. I don’t mind that, if a kid is good enough, you play them, but it’s such a big club that you need a bit of help.
JW: The situation here though Paul has been going for a while far as I can gather. This isn't new to Ipswich Town just with Paul Lambert on the scene, there were problems of a similar nature before with Paul Hurst and before that with Mick McCarthy, who you and I know very well, so there's been disharmony behind the scenes for some time...
PL: I think there’s a lot of frustration. The great era with Terry Butcher, who works at the club, who has been great, John Wark, who has been great, Paul Mariner, who has been great. I met Thijssen and Muhren, guys like that. Alan Brazil I’ve spoken to. Great players, what they did for that club has been incredible.
That was 40 years ago and they’ve got to move on with respect to the history of the club and you have to live up to it. You can’t get away from them because what those lads all achieved.
But as a football club you have to have a clear plan where you’re going and what you’re doing and structure-wise.
Marcus Evans has put an incredible amount of money into the football club. I understand that, it’s a hard, hard gig running a football club because of the amount of money they must put in is incredible.
But you need an infrastructure where everybody at Ipswich Town has to get round a table and say ‘Where are we going here? What are we doing? What’s the infrastructure here?’ Because this needs to stop, this needs to stop.
JW: And is Marcus Evans open to doing that Paul? To giving you more support?
PL: We have to have dialogue, we have to have a discussion. I’m not going to come here (and criticise him) because he’s always been good with me, he tells me how it is, we have dialogue. But the football club needs him to say what’s going to happen with the structure. I think that’s the way it should be.
The big thing for me is I did the same at Aston Villa, protected Randy Lerner for a long, long time. It was like a lamb to a slaughter what was happening there.
I can’t do that again, I can’t go through that again. There’s got to be a structure where everybody gets around a table.
Everybody’s to blame, everybody, not one person where you can turn around and say you’re blaming that one or that one. Everybody has to look at themselves, look in the mirror and say where it went wrong. And I think that’s the big thing for Ipswich.
JW: One thing you're not is a quitter. You'll tough this out won't you?
PL: Absolutely. I’ve not shied away from anything, even the clubs I played with, they were huge clubs with massive success, and the players I’ve played against, the countries I’ve played in and all those sorts of thing.
I’ve seen what it’s like at the top, I’ve seen how those structures work in football clubs. I’ve taken people from Ipswich over to Dortmund to have a look at it to see how their story went, so it’s not as if I don’t know exactly where it’s fell from. You’re trying to put everything in place but you can only do it so far.
Pre-recorded interview ends and Jim White starts a discussion with former Crystal Palace chairman Simon Jordan and former England international Trevor Sinclair.
JW: It comes to something when a manager is putting it out a message saying 'we need infrastructure, we need dialogue, everybody is to blame, everybody has to look at themselves in the mirror...' Something has gone badly wrong here.
Trevor Sinclair: The club has fallen quite badly. The main thing when you're talking about the fans is the communication and transparency has got to be there so the fans know what the realistic goals are, what the financial restraints may be at the football club. I feel they just want to feel included and valued by the football club at the moment.
They obviously can't go and support their team at the moment. And I just feel there is a lot of frustration in the world at the moment - anxiety, unhappiness - because of the lockdown and this Covid pandemic.
Listen, they are 11th in League One and four points off the play-offs, so it's not going terribly on the pitch. But they want to get back in the Championship.
From that short interview we had with Paul Lambert, I feel he really has to sit down with Marcus Evans, work out the finances of the club, what's the realistic goals, what's the recruitment strategy.
I like the fact they are integrating former greats of the club into the infrastructure, but there needs to be a plan.
I think they need to include the fans because if everybody knows what the goals are, and you make sure the fans understand that as well, the it could be a rocky road back. I think everybody will buy into it.
But if they don't, then that's where the problems start.
Listen, young players don't want to see scenes like that, fires at the training ground, these yobs turning up and creating all this hysteria. Young players don't need that.
JW: I'm glad you've said that Trevor. He's having to play the kids at the moment. There were some youngsters at the training ground the other day and they won't forget what they saw. The group of so-called supporters apologised for their actions as well. The impression I get is that Paul Lambert is saying the things that we should be hearing from Evans.
Simon Jordan: Possibly, yeah. I was interested to hear how much he protected Randy Lerner because I imagine Randy Lerner must have been so grateful for that protection of a 29% win record that Paul Lambert had for him. That must have been the kind of protection that Randy Lerner didn't want.
JW: Lerner made mistakes Simon, of that there's no doubt.
SJ: Well everybody makes mistakes. What you expect a manager to do is not compound those mistakes.
JW: So why is Evans not saying this and Paul Lambert is?
SJ: Well, we have to ask the question, why isn't Paul Lambert saying it to Marcus Evans? And why Paul Lambert, who has been there two and a half years, doesn't have the pull to be able to get basic, fundamental communication in place with ideals about how we sit around a table.
With due respect to Paul Lambert, the teams above them - Doncaster, Oxford, Accrington Stanley and Plymouth - hardly have bigger playing budgets and bigger opportunities than Ipswich do.
With due respect to Paul, he must interview really, really well. He must interview really well when chairmen interview him because I have listened to him in the media and, with the greatest of respect in the world, he puts my feet to sleep.
I look at the performance amongst the clubs he's managed and I don't think, besides the Norwich job, he's done a particularly inspiring job.
JW: Simon, he knows the game inside out.
SJ: That's irrelevant.
JW: What do mean that's irrelevant? It's the industry of football.
SJ: The accusation goes around endlessly about the managers that don't actually cut it and keep getting jobs.
You go away to Stoke and you get a 13% win record... There are only two people who have got a worse win record at Aston Villa, one of them is Remi Garde and the other is Tim Sherwood. Even Steve Bruce, who was unilaterally loathed, has got a better win record at Aston Villa!
JW: But the decline at Ipswich began long before Paul Lambert.
SJ: That's also true. Trevor makes a point, which in an ideal world is right, about keeping fans informed about the nature of the finances. Fans don't want to be informed about the nature of finances, the fans want an endless commitment from an owner to keep on funding and funding and funding and funding.
JW: They want to hear from the owner!
SJ: I don't know how much he does and doesn't communicate.
JW: He doesn't, does he? Where is he?
SJ: I don't follow Ipswich Town, they are not on my to-do list. But Marcus has been there for 13/14 years. I don;'t know how many times he's spoken to the media. I don;t know how many times he's written for the programme or how many times he turns up at fans' forums. And neither do you
What we do know is that Ipswich are in League One. They are a club that had, as Paul quite rightly says, Brazil, Thijssen, Muhren, Paul Mariner, Trevor Whymark, Eric Gates... They won the UEFA Cup and were a dominant side under Bobby Robson playing beautiful football.
Now they are sitting in League One. Because they dropped from the Premier League, because they have changed owners... David Sheepshanks, once upon a time, was an inspirational leader that got them in the Premiership and got them into Europe. Then the wheels come off.
They had Mick McCarthy, they didn't want Mick McCarthy because of the style of football.
I think it's a little bit limp wristed and lightweight for Paul Lambert to come on and say, having been at a football club for two and a half years, I have to use you Jim White to impart a message about the fact I haven't got a round the table discussion with the owner.
JW: He's not using us at all. He's putting it out there that 'we could do with a bit of dialogue here'.
SJ: If you can't sell that to your owner, an owner you have worked with for two and a half years, if you can't get that basic fundamentals, structure and communication chain, what precisely are you doing?