'The only way I go is if Marcus makes a change' – Lambert on cryptic comments about his and the club's future
PUBLISHED: 16:52 04 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert has today cleared up some cryptic comments he made about his future following last weekend’s 2-0 home defeat to Hull City. Here’s what he said at today’s press conference prior to Saturday’s game at Bolton.
Q: You’re still going to be here next season aren’t you?
A: Yeah, you asked me the question about results (last weekend) and, 100 per cent, results have not been good enough.
If (owner) Marcus (Evans) makes the change then I’ll jump in the car and go back up. I don’t worry about it, there’s nothing I can do about it.
No matter how much I shout from the rooftops about wanting to stay, if the owner wants to make a change he’ll make a change. That’s how it works all over the world.
We’ll plan for everything and, whatever league the club is in, we’ll do the best we can.
Q: But there’s no reason to think Marcus is thinking along those lines, is there?
A: I was asked a question and gave an answer. If Marcus wants to make a change, he’ll make a change. I never once said I wanted to walk away.
Q: You and Marcus must have had talks about budgets for next season? Are you happy with where the land lies?
A: He’s been brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
We have really good conversations, we have laughs and some words, which is normal, but we get on really well.
That doesn’t mean you’re going to be in this job for life because this is a professional business we’re in.
I get on well with him and he’s been great for this club over the years.
He maybe wants to take it in a different direction, which will become clear really soon, and the club’s in a really good place.
Results haven’t been anywhere near good enough. We’ve played really, really well without getting the rewards and that’s plain to see.
The support the club’s got is overwhelming. It does my head in. We can’t thank them enough.
They are giving the young kids time to play. They need that and don’t need to be criticised.
I think everybody recognises we’re playing well and are behind us.
There is so much good here and it could be unbelievable in a few years.
Q: This was always going to be more than a half-season project, wasn’t it? If you have to take one step back then it’s about taking two or three forward?
A: I don’t know.
I think because we’ve come in and changed the football style, playing a different way and bringing back the identity of the club...
I’ve never been a fan of having five or six loans because those guys come in and you’re just developing somebody else’s players.
When you’ve got good young guys here, why not give them a chance? Otherwise just scrap the whole academy route then and keep the money.
I believe they are good enough. They’ll make mistakes like anybody else and it’s my job to keep them in a positive frame of mind.
The crowd have helped them, helped the guys express themselves and not once got on their backs.
Even on Saturday when they sang that song (Bob Marley, Three Little Birds) it was just unbelievable.
I think the support see the difference in it.
Q: A lot of this perverse feelgood factor about the place is based on the statement yourself and Marcus put out (in January), stating you will definitely be here next season. Do you understand why your comments worried people?
A: No, I don’t understand it. No. Because I was only answering a question about a record of results.
My answer to that was that if an owner wants to make a change then I have no problem with that and let’s see what happens at the end of the season.
He might still change it at the end of the season, nobody knows, but I get on really well with him.
Not once did I say I was going to walk away. Not once did I say I was going to Celtic or Scotland. What I would do is leave here and go and enjoy myself in my life.
I wouldn’t beg someone to be allowed to hang around because the crowd deserve better. They’ve been overwhelming.
It does my head in that we play that well but we’re not able to give them what they want. What they do see is that we’re playing really well without getting a break. They feel what we feel and vice versa.
The only way you go is if the owner says ‘thanks very much, see you later’. Then I don’t have a problem.
Q: Are you saying you’ve been in the game long enough now to know that an owner saying they will stick with a manager doesn’t always mean that?
A: *Long pause* Yeah... probably.
I know the game and know how it works.
I never really look too far ahead at what’s going on. I know how the game works and know the pitfalls of it.
Steve (McClaren) has lost his job at QPR when I thought he was doing well. In football things come out that you don’t see coming at certain times.
I was asked the question and replied the only way we go is if Marcus makes a change.
Marcus is probably better to be sitting here answering the question if you can get hold of him... good luck with that though.
Not once did I say I wanted to walk away or gave any indication I was walking away. I know what I want to happen at the end of the season and I know the direction I want to the club to go.
I know in my head what’s planned for the club to move forward and I know exactly what I want to happen.
I hate it for the supporters because they’ve been that good for us. They’ve been enjoying the football, but the results are not there.
Even draws are like a defeat for us because of the position we’re in.
I don’t hang my hat on anything but never once did I say I was walking away.
People can read into things what they want but you also have to understand my position. I know what can happen before in certain clubs I’ve been in before.
Q: Apologies for labouring the point but, to be 100 per cent clear, unless Marcus Evans sacks you as manager, you will be here at the start of next season?
A: Yes. We got there in the end. That was longer than Brexit!
Q: You’ve talked about ‘things becoming clear’ in the next few weeks and months. When are we going to see what that means? Are you able to elaborate at this minute in time?
A: No, I can’t at the minute.
I have a rough idea what’s going to happen and I think it’s exciting for the club. It could be really good.
The young players are going to be important to it, the supporters are going to be vital to it and you guys (the media) are going to be vital.
I think you’ll find out shortly what’s going to happen. Maybe the club goes in another direction to what’s been done in the past with most of the team being your own.
That’s the great thing about it.
You’ll have a lot of young lads trying to make an impression on it and that in itself is exciting because you never know what you’re going to get.
You get incredible excitement off of them and they can bounce off the supporters. If supporters can carry on backing them like they are, giving them that time – that’s why the kids are playing as well as they are.
It’s there for everyone to see that when they have that freedom they can be a really good side.
Q: How often are you seeing Marcus and have you started finalising budgets for next season?
A: I speak to him most weeks.
He comes up here a few times a month, which is great. That’s why I know roughly what’s going on.
We’ve had some good meetings and I know exactly where the club’s at money-wise and what it can and can’t do.
We need to find middle ground with it and see where we can take it. We won’t be able to spend a lot of money, but that’s not the be-all and end-all for me. It’s about having a structure and playing the way we want to play.
You invest a hell of a lot of time into the young players here because they’ll give you so much excitement.
If the crowd stay the way they are now then this club can be anything it wants.
Q: We know you well enough by now to know that you will speak your mind with Marcus. You spoke about middle ground just then. Will you be reminding him that you might just need a bit of experience to add into the mix of all these exciting youngsters?
A: We’ve said that we might (need a bit of experience).
If (Alan) Judgey gets done and a few others it can give you that street-wise element as well, which is important.
The great thing is though that the majority will be your own. That’s the great thing. They will be your own and be moulded into a way we play.
This pre-season will probably be one of their most vital. It’s going to get them playing the way we want to play.