The Verdict: Lambert’s transfer frustrations are nothing new but a winning start is just the tonic
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:07 04 August 2019
Andy Warren has his say following an eventful weekend for Ipswich Town.
Oh the wonders a win can do for the mood around a football club.
Following Paul Lambert's thinly-veiled calling-out of owner Marcus Evans regarding transfer activity on the eve of the season, you would have been forgiven for thinking the club were still in the depths of last season's relegation fight rather than anticipating the new campaign on Friday.
Excitement began to break through on Saturday morning as kick-off neared though and, thanks to a hard-fought but much-deserved 1-0 victory at Burton, optimism was being thrown around once three points were secured.
That's ultimately what really matters, winning games of football. And that's a feeling we've not been used to on a regular basis for some time.
For a club with an ingrained losing mentality to begin with a win in a new division is the perfect start, especially when you consider so many players were unavailable.
But victory on the opening day is only a start, is no guarantee of a successful season and it doesn't completely hide the issues at Portman Road.
Three points don't ease Lambert's frustrations in the transfer market, either. If anything the game at the Pirelli Stadium only served to prove the manager's point to the owner as James Wilson's departure with cramp meant Cole Skuse was needed as an emergency centre-half.
Lambert's certainly not the first Ipswich Town manager to be frustrated by the club's transfer machine, the funds made available from the top or the speed at which deals are done, but his decision to wash the club's dirty laundry in public and the timing of those words altered the mood and changed the conversation ahead of the big kick-off.
We don't know the inner-workings of the two's relationship and we don't know if plans have been changed, promises broken or how deeply frustrations have been aired.
But the pair spoke in the stands following Saturday's win, with the owner clearly enthused by what he had just seen, tapping at his chest to suggest his heart had been in his mouth during what was a nervy end to the game.
The body language between the two offered no suggestion of a broken relationship, either, with the two also talking in Ipswich on Friday in the hours after the Town boss's public comments.
Lambert's made it clear he will challenge the owner when he thinks it's necessary and his words on Friday seemed to do just that.
He did so again at full-time, urging his owner to speak publicly and keep the supporters in the loop as to what's going on.
The Town supremo is expected to do just that this week, with Evans again planning to address the club's supporters ahead of the first home game of the season as he has done regularly in recent years.
But what do we expect him to say?
Did we really expect millions of pounds to be splashed around after relegation, given a £9million funding black hole has been created due to revenue losses following relegation?
That gap has to be plugged somehow and, while wage-reduction clauses in players' contracts, sell-on fees from the likes of Tyrone Mings, Matt Clarke and Adam Webster (which certainly don't arrive in lump sums) and the departure of 15 professionals at the end of last season will help somewhat, there's only one man who will make up the difference.
Lambert suggested he may have to sell to buy during the rest of this transfer window, but that's different to having to sell the family silver to keep the club afloat. There's no suggestion that's the case.
The Blues are operating on a top end League One budget and, while it's clear there are positions of need in the squad, Lambert possesses a group of players more than capable of challenging for promotion once everyone is fit.
And that's where the optimism comes in.
Youngsters Luke Woolfenden and Flynn Downes showed their worth at Burton, Danny Rowe came in from the wilderness to show he can contribute and James Norwood showed signs of what he can bring to the party despite not having too many sights of goal.
Alan Judge and Emyr Huws came off the bench, Luke Chambers will return to strengthen the defence next week while Andre Dozzell, Jon Nolan and Gwion Edwards are not far away from returning to the side.
Then there's Jack Lankester, Toto Nsiala, Teddy Bishop and Freddie Sears to come back.
You can understand Lambert's frustrations. He would clearly like to add a defender and a striker to the mix at least, but there's plenty to work with.
The football was good, too. The ball was on the ground, the passing was slick and some of the attacking play incisive at times.
One game, one win and a clean sheet is a pretty good start, so surely this is the time to focus on the positives after so many years of negatives.
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