‘Lambert’s comments won’t just alienate our youngsters, it will alienate the fans’

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert. Picture: ROSS HALLS

Ipswich Town boss Paul Lambert. Picture: ROSS HALLS - Credit: Archant

In our latest ‘Your Posts’, MATTHEW FRANCIS takes a look at Town’s young brigade. We welcome your posts.

Matthew Francis

Matthew Francis - Credit: Archant

We all have favourites.

My favourite Town player is Kayden Jackson, my favourite television show is Robin Hood and my favourite hobby is pressing refresh on iFollow at 2:50pm on a Saturday afternoon.

Point is, some of my favourites are questionable and while I will defend that Jonas Armstrong’s portrayal of Robin Hood is the greatest to make it on-screen, would I blindly ignore it if someone told me that Russell Crowe was a compelling rival?

There seems to be a strange obsession, not only in football but also in life, to look down at youngsters as if they’re not yet worthy of praise.

Brett McGavin and Armando Dobra, young up-and-coming stars at Ipswich. Picture; ARCHANT

Brett McGavin and Armando Dobra, young up-and-coming stars at Ipswich. Picture; ARCHANT - Credit: Archant


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Whether it’s through fear of being replaced or simply a disrespect for someone who hasn’t been ‘blooded’, I think this archaic way of thinking has snuck its way into our football club if you don’t mind me saying, and it simply isn’t healthy.

I read Mike Bacon’s column this week on our young players. He asks why would they want to stay? Why indeed!

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From the beginning of the season, it wasn’t a good start. Reports of disgruntled youngsters surfaced after a number of them were left out of the first team photo, many felt Brett McGavin received an unnecessary level of criticism after a decent debut against Shrewsbury from Paul Lambert, and we’ve all heard the remarks that Lambert has made regarding Luke Woolfenden.

With so much emphasis on the quality of Town’s newest generation, is this healthy?

Jack Lankester, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop. Town's future? Picture: ARCHANT

Jack Lankester, Andre Dozzell and Teddy Bishop. Town's future? Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

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Our brightest assets are products of the academy. Woolfenden, Downes, Dozzell, Dobra, Lankester… the list goes on. My open criticisms of the manager are in part due to his questionable tactics, but I also think young players deserve much more praise for the way they have successfully integrated into the first team.

Skipper Luke Chambers at the final whistle after Town lost to Hull.
Picture: Steve Waller
www.stephenwaller.com

Skipper Luke Chambers at the final whistle after Town lost to Hull. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

The past two seasons have been incredibly difficult; the only redeeming quality has been the breadth of talent that exists within the academy.

Not only are the young players talented and ambitious, but they are also mature and present just as confidently as the rest of the squad.

Sure, performances dictate their level of success, but can you definitely name me one senior player that has constantly outperformed ‘one of our own’? I will admit, the phrase ‘one of our own’ is slightly contrived and often overused but we cannot neglect how important Town’s academy is when analysing the past successes that this club has enjoyed.

The youth is the foundation of future accomplishments and Lambert’s comments could prove detrimental to our hopes of achieving success with this new group should he keep criticising them.

Keanan Bennetts is held back by Josh Emmanuel as he tries to get his heads to the ball.
Picture: Steve Waller...

Keanan Bennetts is held back by Josh Emmanuel as he tries to get his heads to the ball. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

In the age of frail loyalties and victory going to the highest bidder, will our young players accept being scapegoated, while, it appears to many fans, other senior players turn in poor performances and are never criticised? I’m no expert in motivation or management but shouldn’t the age of snide comments and petty put-downs be behind us?

We all want what’s best for Ipswich Town, but to what extent are we willing to sacrifice the bedrock of our club?

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The next generation defines the future and we cannot afford to lose that. In a week in which we’ve learnt a lot about our club, it’s an ideal time to reflect on the treatment of some of our young stars.

We all feel a connection to those we call ‘our own; and Lambert’s comments won’t just alienate our youngsters, it will alienate the fans who project themselves onto the players who can turn our fortunes around.

These players, this club, needs all the confidence it can get, and we cannot afford to frivolously neglect the power of this emerging, talented generation.

MATTHEW FRANCIS

We welcome your posts... e-mail mike.bacon@archant.co.uk

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