‘If they want to go down that road I can’t do anything about it’ – Lambert on banner calling for his sacking
- Credit: Archant
Ipswich Town manager Paul Lambert says he is not bothered by a banner, which called for his sacking, that was tied to the training ground gates this week.
The Blue Action group were invited to Playford Road to meet Lambert last summer, following the club’s relegation from the Championship. In an attempt to generate some feelgood factor around the club, they subsequently produced a giant image of Lambert’s face, mocked up as movie action man Rambo, to unfurl in the North Stand prior to a 3-0 home win against Shrewsbury last August.
Come March, with Town’s season unravelling, the same set of fans were behind a set of banners which read ‘Unambitious. Underfunded. Unambitious. Unacceptable.’ And now, following Tuesday night’s 3-0 home loss to Hull, they pinned a banner to the entrance of Playford Road which read ‘Shambo - cheers for the beers but it’s time at the bar’.
An accompanying statement, posted online, said: ‘Whilst it’s been clear since at least last season that Lambert isn’t up to the task of getting us promoted, we were reluctant to call for his head. We gave him support when he first arrived, despite his previous connections. We gave him another chance this season, despite how badly we collapsed last season.
“However, enough is enough and this cannot continue. We are now calling for him to be removed from his position. This season is too important for Ipswich Town to be allowed to just drift away again.”
Asked for his response to the banner, which had been removed before the staff and players next reported for work, Lambert said: “I never knew about it! I never knew until last night. Do you know what, the great thing about my own self, whether I do good bad or indifferent, nothing bothers me that way. Nothing. As I’ve said before, I played with massive clubs that taught me to be so unbelievably strong.
“Honestly, I never knew a thing (about the banner). I can’t control that.
“I did meet the Blue Action guys. We wanted to know their views on what happened to the club. They even admitted themselves that it had nose-dived and they’d lost enthusiasm for it. We tried to give them an injection of ‘come on, we need you, we definitely need you’. They did brilliant, they started everything, it started to snowball. Absolutely no problem. We met a lot of the guys. No problem.
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“If they want to go down that road then I can’t do anything about that. What I do know is that the club is in a lot better place then when we first came in, with the support. And they’ve still been brilliant, absolutely brilliant.
“They’ve had so many years of things going up and down. They’re not happy with ownership, managers... everything like that. But we’re here to do our best. Whether that ends tomorrow, whether it ends Monday or Tuesday, we’ll do our best. The guys have given me absolutely everything. They are better players now than what they were when we first came in, that’s for sure.”
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Asked for his message to any fans feeling the same way, he said: “Just keep supporting the club. Listen, even if I wasn’t here, I would still say to any fans ‘support your club’. Because they need you. Without a doubt. They need you all the time, good, bad or indifferent.
“The guys pay a lot of money to watch games... But as I said before, when I first came in, I don’t know how many season ticket holders there were? It was dwindling. There was no atmosphere, there was nothing. Everyone was tired of it. Well, at least it’s a bit more vocal now and there’s a bit more power there. Fans are getting season tickets. I’d rather have that then there being no enthusiasm for it, which was the case. Now the power is there all the time.
“But we need those fans. To be good, to be vocal. We need them. The football club need them.”
Asked what he thought the general feeling of supporters was towards him at present, Lambert said: “I don’t think about that. My only concern is the guys in the dome – the staff and the players. The fans, I can’t influence any group. They can do what they want. I never think about myself, I never worry about myself, my main concern is everybody else around me. That’s my main concern. Not myself. That’s not a problem.”
It was then put to Lambert that the stakes are high this season given the new salary caps rules. Does he feel under pressure to get the club promoted? What is owner Marcus Evans saying to him?
“I think people have got a perception that Ipswich have been massive spenders, which they’ve not,” replied the Blues boss. “That’s the reality of it. You look at other clubs in the division and every one of them will be saying the same. Sunderland have been in it a long time. There have been so many clubs. Portsmouth have been in there. There are so many clubs that are vying for it. Look at Peterborough as well, who have spent a lot of money on it. They’ve been great with recruitment and selling guys on. There are loads of clubs up there.
“And Ipswich are sitting three points off second with a game in hand. We’re in a really good race. We’ve got a hell of a lot of injuries, which is a concern, but that’s football I guess.
“As I’ve said before, and I’ll say it again, if Marcus came to me today or tomorrow and said whatever... nae problem, I can’t do nothing about that, I can’t influence that. What we try to do is get the best out of the guys.
“We’ve got so many of the young kids in the team and in the future that’s going to be good. We’ve come up with a way of playing, a style of playing, that’s going right through the club. Because everybody wanted that. Myself and Stuart (Taylor) came up with ideas for that.
“We played the kids at Crawley, as you know. Everybody raised an eyebrow at the young team I picked, but long-term that will benefit the club. Because other teams might take the kids on loan, and that will benefit them and it will benefit the club. You’ve got to have an eye on the future. You don’t just do short-term stuff.
“To me that’s what’s happened at this club. There’s been so many short-term things. Whether we’re good here is immaterial. Long-term, it should be filtered right through.”