Lambert: The club was in a ‘horrendous’ state off the pitch when we arrived
Paul Lambert has revealed the extent to which he found Playford Road as ‘horrendous’ when first joining the club. Town Owner Marcus Evans has spent in the excess of £100,000 giving both Playford and Portman Road a big facelift.
Reflecting on what he saw when arriving at the club just over a year ago Lambert said: “The training ground was horrendous, it really was. I keep going back to it, for the size of the club it should never, ever have happened. I’d never seen anything like it for the size of the club. I could understand if it was a small club and that was the foundation of it.
“What was wrong with it? Everything. Honestly. I thought it was terrible, I really did. There wasn’t a recovery place for the lads to go after games. There was no blue basically, there wasn’t enough blue, there weren’t any badges to indicate where you were.
“So many things that were wrong. The structure there wasn’t right. The security of the fencing, people could just come off the street on to that area and play football or play whatever they wanted to play.
“The whole thing was wrong. I remember a chat with [owner] Marcus [Evans] about it and to be fair to him he’s been brilliant with it. I think everybody recognises that the training ground was nowhere to the level that the football club deserved.
“I think it was tired. Everything was wrong. The whole bloody thing was a mess. And that’s been a lot of work.
“It wasn’t just building a football team, you were actually building a football club again to try and give it some sort of uplift.”
“The first thing you should see flashing right in your face is ‘Ipswich Town Football Club’ or ‘Welcome to Ipswich Town Football Club’. It was a bomb site, the whole thing. Even the entrance to Bent Lane, that gate, it’s horrendous.”
On being quizzed by supporters at the ‘Meet the Club’ event on Thursday night fitness coach Henry continued to explain just where some of that funding has gone: “There has been a significant amount investment into the football club in the last year. The recovery suite alone is certainly worth about £90,000.
“And anything we’ve asked for so far we’ve got regarding that. We’ve got a GPS system which is basically a Premier League set-up, Lee put that in place at the start of last season and we’ve continued to use it, heartbeat monitors. There’s been a huge investment.
“Even the manager’s area that we work in daily, Marcus has spent a lot of money in the last year getting it up to scratch and we’re definitely getting there.
“For the players, recovery suite is very important, basically before they didn’t have anywhere to go, they had no spa facility, that’s all in place, that makes a massive difference.”
So far as part of the uplift a state of the art gym was installed during Paul Hurst’s tenure, the green hut at the heart of the training complex was painted blue earlier this season, muddy areas have had new turf laid, while areas of Portman Road have been painted and are set to be cleaned before the turn of the year alongside new fencing around Playford Road to restrict spectators just walking in.
Lambert added: “Everything was really, really tired and it came to the stage when I thought it was never-ending. We used to have meetings every morning where we said we need to get that sorted and that sorted because a football club has to have an infrastructure and if the team wasn’t performing it was falling from a great height.
“If there’s an infrastructure it only falls a little bit and bounces back. Now we’re starting to get that. We’ve still got, bloody hell, a helluva long way to go but it’s definitely a better environment than it was 12 months ago.”