North Stander: 'Lambert is beginning to divide opinion, but we must stick by him'
PUBLISHED: 12:00 11 February 2019
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That was our season summed up in 90 very painful minutes - some half-decent football and possession all being ruined by missed chances and mistakes at the back, writes North Stander Terry Hunt.
A 30-second spell midway through the second-half epitomised our plight: Alan Judge put a good chance wide, then Norwich went straight up the other end, and Pukki put the game beyond us.
Our lack of quality in the business areas of the pitch have been costing us all season, and ultimately that’s why we are facing relegation to League One.
As I’ve said umpteen times during this wretched campaign, far too many of our players are out of their depth at this level. Paul Hurst’s recruits lack quality, and so do Paul Lambert’s January arrivals.
The whole squad is much of a muchness. Who stands out? No-one. Who on earth will be player of the season? Goodness knows.
In reality, we all knew that we would lose at Carrow Road. I actually predicted the scoreline. Yes, we probably didn’t deserve to lose by three goals, but they had quality in the important areas and we didn’t.
It was good to see the passion from the manager, even though it saw him sent off. As many a wag has quipped, at least this year the manager’s anger was directed at the opponents!
Lambert is beginning to divide opinion. His PR campaign has been brilliant, but his results have actually been even worse than Paul Hurst’s. So some supporters are starting to ask whether he is the right man to rebuild from League One.
For me, we must stick by Lambert, and I’m sure owner Marcus Evans will do so. What’s the alternative – become one of those clubs who change their manager as often as I change my socks? We all know that’s a recipe for disaster.
Evans nEeds to tell Lambert – if he hasn’t done so already – that he will be given the time to sort out the absolute mess that our club has become. It needs a mass clear-out in the summer, with lots of players disappearing from our club.
The number of players we’ve got on our books is bordering on the ridiculous. But, as I’ve said, none of them are outstanding. We could put out three totally different line-ups in consecutive games – and still lose!
So, yes, we must keep Paul Lambert. He inherited a mess and hasn’t been in a position to sort it out. I believe that given time he will be able to do so.
I mentioned the PR campaign of the last few weeks. It has been brilliant. Lambert paying travel costs for away fans, Evans’ first interview, then the owner giving loyal away fans free hospitality at forthcoming in home games.
All of the above is to be applauded, but I just wonder where it has come from? Up until the last couple of months, the club’s PR has been poor. Has Lambert changed things? Has Lee O’Neill had an influence? Or has Evans realised how important PR is, especially when the team is rock bottom?
I don’t suppose I’m going to get an answer to that question, but I’m delighted to see it. I look forward to the loyalty of season ticket holders being recognised and rewarded as well!
So, here we are, into the final third of the season, and things are desperate. Only three wins all season, a team which can’t score goals and can’t keep a clean sheet.
I’ve been accused of being negative because I’ve been predicting relegation for months now. Well, I can assure you it will give me absolutely no pleasure to be proven right, which I’m absolutely convinced I will be.
Derby and Stoke coming to Portman Road this week. What hope of us winning either game? What’s that old saying? No hope and Bob Hope...
Finally, a word of praise for the referee at Carrow Road. We have seen some unbelievably poor refereeing performances this season, but the man in black at Carrow Road was spot-on in a feisty encounter. Well played, Mr, Bankes.