'I really do wonder what Marcus Evans has learnt from his time in charge of ITFC'

Ipswich Town owner Marcus Evans has issued a statement after League One was brought to an early end.

Town owner, Marcus Evans - Credit: Archant

In our latest 'Your Posts', TIM STEWART says at least the salary cap is a positive.. Likely the only one at Portman Road right now. We welcome 'Your Posts'.


Archant

Back in 2004 Tim Stewart, left, overlanded to Azerbaijan to interview Darren Bent when he was at Town, as he played in Baku for England U-21s. - Credit: Archant

How many owners in English football would put up with Paul Lambert's record of abject failure across three seasons?

I ask the question because Marcus Evans shows no sign of making a managerial change.

It is ironic that when we have our worst side since the 60s, it is easier than ever to watch all the games on iFollow.

I've followed the club I love home and away for more than 40 years and normally rack up 30-plus live matches in a season. During lockdown, I am watching all of them online - but can count on one hand the number I have enjoyed this season.

Paul Lambert looks at the pitch during the warm-up at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd

Paul Lambert looks at the pitch during the warm-up at Peterborough. Picture Pagepix Ltd - Credit: Pagepix Limited

By what possible metric did Paul Lambert merit a five-year contract midway through last season?  Equally, what on earth is Evans' reasoning for persisting with Lambert midway through this season?

It seems to boil down to him regretting, under strong pressure from fans and media, not to renew the contract of Mick McCarthy. He spelt his thinking out in his original statement saying he would not be swayed by fans again, alluding to those in the 'be careful what you wish for' camp warning what would happen post-Mick.

Mick McCarthy is the new Cardiff City manager

Back in the game as Cardiff boss, Mick McCarthy. Does Evans regret letting him go? - Credit: Cardiff City FC

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I suspect Big Mick being back (and still unbeaten) in the Championship at Cardiff will go on to remind us of the calibre of manager we let go if he is properly funded by his new boss.

But all Evans is doing now is compounding the damage done by the dismal decisions he has made from Mick's exit onwards - appointing Paul Hurst, then Paul Lambert, then giving him such an unnecessarily long contract extension.

It's one thing Evans suggesting he has learned a painful lesson about being overly influenced by popular opinion. But where are the signs of progress, the supposed green shoots of recovery that he says he can see as he continues to back Lambert?

WHAT is Evans waiting for? Town fans speak

Lambert's had more than 100 matches in charge across three seasons. He has 30 senior players at his disposal.

What have been his achievements? I can't think of any apart from initially reuniting the club and its fanbase through a masterclass in PR.

Ipswich have won eight games on the road so far this season, including this 1-0 success at Fleetwood

A win at Fleetwood in 2019. Possibly one of Lambert's best results

What has even been his best win? There aren't many to choose from. I probably went to it, a 1-0 win away to Fleetwood last season. And he's been stubbornly wedded to a ponderous 4-3-3 formation that leaves us struggling to score more than the odd goal per game.

Our original four frontline strikers - Norwood, Jackson, Drinan, Hawkins - managed all of five league goals between them in the first half of the season!

Andre Dozzell is shown the red card for his foul on Grant Leadbitter at Sunderland Picture Pagepix L

Andre Dozzell is shown the red card for his foul on Grant Leadbitter at Sunderland Picture Pagepix Ltd

Then there's the ill-discipline that's creeping in. We're averaging a red card every six league matches. When Academy kids like Dozzell, Downes and Bishop are collecting cards like confetti for over-aggression and cynical fouls, you know something is seriously wrong.

What more statistical evidence does Evans need that it's just not working with Lambert than us losing like lemmings in nine games out of nine against the top seven sides in the division?

I really do wonder what Evans has learnt from his time in charge of ITFC.

It's likely to be a quiet transfer deadline day for Marcus Evans and Paul Lambert at Ipswich Town. P

Marcus Evans, left and Paul Lambert - Credit: Archant

Does he not notice the (lack of) infrastructure he has in place compared to well-run clubs like Brentford competing at the top of the Championship? Does he not notice our record on injuries over a prolonged period? Does he not notice that this season has been almost a carbon copy of last under Lambert?

We ought to improve over the remainder of the season with the influx of loanees but we look a million miles away from being genuine promotion contenders.

Town players celebrate with Alan Judge after he had given them a first half lead.

At least the scrapping of the salary cap keeps Town competitive - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller www.ste

It shows how far we have fallen that the biggest positive of the season is the scrapping of the League One salary cap, which risked us sinking into oblivion as a footballing force.

I am relieved that we have returned simply to being in managed decline under Evans rather than in possible terminal decline under a cap that would have made bridging the gap to the Championship very difficult for promoted teams.

One thing Evans will notice if he fails to make a long overdue change of manager is the far fewer number of fans in attendance whenever we are finally allowed back into Portman Road.

I know several longstanding fans who say they have 'checked out' from the club emotionally this season and won't watch games until Evans takes steps to stop us languishing in the lower leagues.

Come on Marcus, make the change and show some ambition with a quality replacement to turn things around before we write off yet another season and lose a load of loyal supporters

TIM STEWART
We welcome 'Your Posts'. E-mail mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

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