‘It’s great he’s doing photos... He should take the plaudits’ – Lambert on Evans taking the spotlight
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert is glad owner Marcus Evans is becoming more comfortable in the public eye.
Evans spent the first decade of his ownership actively staying out of the spotlight, requesting that no pictures of him were published and only sparingly giving his thoughts via the club programme.
Things have started to change on that front over the last 18 months though. The 56-year-old posed for pictures with supporters outside Portman Road following last weekend's 4-1 win against Tranmere and was happy to be spotted down by the dug-outs ahead of the recent 1-0 win at MK Dons.
"When I first came in I said that if you're the owner or the custodian you have to put your face out there and have to take the rough with the smooth," said Lambert.
"I get that some people aren't comfortable in front of the cameras and in the media but a big part of the way the club's going now is down to him.
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"We're going really well and I think the club's in a strong place with him. He should take the plaudits as well because he's the custodian of it.
"There will be times when me and him disagree, but if he's out doing photos with people then that's great for him and great for the club."
Evans gave his first video interview in April 2018, followed by his first independent media interview, to this newspaper, back in January. In the latter, he promised to run the club in a far more hands-on way.
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"When I bought the club I'd always said that ownership of a football club, for me anyway, is nothing to do with me," he explained. "It's not about me telling people what I think about the football club.
"I've always felt it was the manager's responsibility to manage a football club, pretty much, from A to Z.
"I try to pick managers that had that ability to do that, whether that be Roy Keane, Paul Jewell, Mick McCarthy... They all had one common thread; grown-up football managers, all of whom wanted to touch every aspect of the club.
"Mick had been here for six years, and I'd very much I'd left that communication to him, but having seen how the relationship with manager and fans had actually deteriorated I thought 'hmm' maybe going forwards there is a role for the owner to bridge the gap that the manager can't always bridge and keep a consistent communication that transcends whichever manager is in place."
"The football club was falling on is feet," he said. "I told him he needed to see it with his own eyes, rather than being 3,000 miles away or seeing it on a Facebook page or in a newspaper. No, come and have a look and then see.
"I don't care what anybody says, the club needs Marcus. It needs him more than the club needs me or the staff. The football club doesn't need me. It needs the owner to be the custodian of the club and be saying 'we make this decision'. There's only one guy we can rely on."