Lambert: Eventful year in charge
Town boss Paul Lambert has been reflected on his first year at the helm of Ipswich Town.
The former Norwich manager was appointed the Blues’ manager a year ago on Sunday, Paul Hurst having been sacked a year ago today after his disastrous 149-day reign.
Even though Lambert was unable to halt the slide to League One he has connected the club back together. Fans and players are as one and that has showed in Towns start to the season.
When asked to assess his first year in charge, Lambert replied: “Eventful, that’s for sure. I’ve loved it, and it’s gone in really quick. From the day I walked through the door until now there’s been a hell of a change.
“The fans coming back has been absolutely huge for us and everything getting up and running, the club feeling like a football club again, the identity coming back to it, legends coming to the club and supporters coming back to the club.
“There’s been so many good things that have happened, so it’s been an eventful year but really enjoyable.”
He added: “I can only judge the year I’ve been here. As I’ve said before, the supporters coming back was huge.
“The supporters were coming to the games but weren’t, I don’t think, engaging with it or getting right into the football, they were probably coming just to criticise and waiting for things to go wrong.
“You don’t have that sense any more. People are coming to enjoy a day out or a night out. If you get over 20,000 on a Wednesday night, it shows you things must be going the right way because that support is unbelievable.
“So, if they keep supporting the team the way they are, and everybody stays in it together, it’ll go a hell of a long way.
“There have been so many good things, there really has, but the biggest achievement has been bringing everyone back and bringing the community back to our football club, I think that was important.”
Is the team playing in the style he is aiming for? “That will develop over time. There’s been some really exciting times, some really great moments, last minute goals.
“I can’t ask any more from the team, they’ve given me absolutely everything, we try and play with intensity.
“Anybody that plays under me will probably say the football we play is exciting, we try and win games, we try and take risks. We try everything we can to win and I can’t fault them how they’ve gone about it.”
When asked if he would like to stay at Town long term, he said: “That will depend on Marcus. If you’re asking me if I feel really good here, I feel really comfortable with the club, it’s a great club. I thought it was a shame walking into a club where I never expected it to be as low as it was when I first came in.
“I never expected it to not have the colour or the Community Trust, I never expected anything like that.
“I never expected it to be so tired, the way it was. I never expected the crowd to be as apathetic as they were to the team or the club.
“But I understood it, the biggest thing was to get everybody back in a place where they felt ‘This is our club and this is what we’re going to do’ and they’ve all got behind it because we need the support to drive us forward.”
Lambert has repeatedly said that the project is a big one but once it gets going the club could be a real force in the future.
“It could be unbelievable,” he continued. “Nothing lasts for ever, I will leave at some point whenever that is.
“But right now it’s great to be here. In football, it doesn’t matter how long you sign a contract for, you could sign 10 years, it doesn’t really matter anymore. It’s not like the old days where you probably saw these things through.
“One minute you’re there, the next minute you’re away, good, bad or indifferent. I see managers losing their jobs and that’s even getting results. If you have a fall out with the owner and things don’t go right that way you can end up going. And equally so if things don’t go your way you can go.
“So, longevity, it’s never really a great word in football anymore. It’s just you try your best while you’re here and try and make this club successful.”
He says the challenge excites him: “It’s brilliant, as I said I love the club. It’s funny when I meet fans when I’m out in the town you get the older generation coming up and saying they love it again, which is really nice.
“That’s why I always say it’s important for the football club to reconnect with the supporters.”