Lambert: Legends Should Be Embraced By Club
Thursday, 8th Nov 2018 16:52
Paul Lambert believes it’s important for a club to embrace its heroes of the past, the new Blues boss having invited Terry Butcher, John Wark and George Burley to have lunch with him and his staff at Playford Road yesterday.
Asked why he asked them to come in, he joked: “To see if they could still play the game! I tried to sign Wark but I couldn’t get him!
“They were iconic players for this club and sometimes I think older players can get lost and made not to feel too welcome and I thought that we have to bring the guys back, they were a huge part of this club’s success.
“Not many teams have won a European trophy, not many teams get it. You see how hard it is to win it in the modern day game but they did it which is an incredible achievement. The FA Cup as well.
“But I think it’s important when you have that success [that they’re made to feel welcome], especially iconic players that did it.
“It was great to see them. I knew Terry from a little bit of TV stuff I’ve done with him, George I knew from the LMA [League Managers Association] and playing against him in managerial terms and John Wark, I really just wanted to meet him because I wanted to know what his lines were in Escape to Victory! And then when he told me I thought it was brilliant. And my God what a player he was.
“I was delighted to see them, I really was, and it’s important that the door is always open for those type of players.
“You can go through them all, Russell Osman, Mick Mills, a great team in that era. It’s important.”
He says those players and their achievements should be used as an inspiration to the current generation rather than daunting them.
“I think there are two ways of looking at it, you respect what happened to you in the past, that never leaves the football club and the history of it,” Lambert, 49, added.
“But we have to have a chance and the only way you can have a chance is to start somewhere and everybody has to give us a chance to make our own little bit of history.
“In this moment we’re not in that moment the way the Butchers and Burleys and Warks, Mick Mills, all those guys were, we’re nowhere near that level but we have to be given a chance.
“I think the realism is that everybody knows it, we’re in a position where we have to fight to get out but we’ve got the backing of everybody because I can feel it, supporters, ex-players, the team that we’ve got at the minute, everybody’s right behind it and that’s what we’re going to need.”
Quizzed on what was discussed with the legends, he said: “We spoke about everything. I grew up in an era watching them guys so I knew the teams that Ipswich had, especially that era, they were obviously a well-known famous team.
“We spoke about everything that’s gone on and what’s happened but not just totally focused on Ipswich, we were talking about the national team, the Scotland team and Terry’s time with England, the Maradona goal and things like that.
“There was loads of good banter and good conversation and then obviously you have your serious stuff - what’s it like? What’s been happening? Have they enjoyed the games?
“But they were good guys and you do try and slip in, ‘Can you still play?’ and obviously you get the answer, no.”
Lambert, who attended last Thursday’s Supporters Club AGM, believes it’s important for an incoming manager to immerse himself in the history of his new club.
“I think you’ve got to grasp it pretty quickly,” he continued. “I was fortunate I was grew up in an era where I knew the Ipswich players for the success they had, and obviously Sir Bobby Robson.
“I knew that era and I knew Thijssen, Muhren, I could go through them all without anybody even saying anything to me.
“I knew exactly what type of side they had and that era should be iconic because it was an incredible time they had at the club.
“When you have the iconic players who have done so much for the club and all of a sudden they get lost to it and maybe don’t feel as welcome as maybe football should make them feel, it’s important [that they are made to feel welcome].
“When I played at Celtic, the great Lisbon Lions team, great guys, top, top guys, the first team British to ever win the European Cup [in 1967], [all but one] from an 11-mile radius from the club, will never be done again.
“And quite rightly they came in and you still see people like Bertie Auld and John Clark, Billy McNeill, great legends of the club, should never be diminished because they put it where it was.
“You respect it and you have to move on but you can’t keep coming back to it because we’re not there in that moment, our current team is not there in that moment.
“But they deserve respect those players and when you see them at stadiums and games, it’s nice and it’s important.
“But we have to have a chance, you can’t keep harping back to those days because those days are gone. You respect it and it was a great, great era for the football club but we have to have a chance because you keep comparing us with the team of the 70s and the 80s there’s no comparison, we don’t have a chance. We have to create our own.”
Was Wark, a fellow Glaswegian and central midfield player, a particular hero when Lambert was growing up? “I knew John Wark scored a helluva amount of goals, an incredible amount of goals, dear oh dear!
“And then he got his move to Liverpool and did exactly the same there. Ipswich had George Burley, Alan Brazil and John Wark, Scottish internationals.
“Then John went to Liverpool with Kenny Dalglish, Graeme Souness and Alan Hansen so being Scottish you look at where the Scottish players and who is doing what and John Wark scored so many goals.
“You’d love to know what would be the transfer value now scoring 36 goals in a season, that’s incredible, and meant to be a sitter. Incredible the amount of goals.
“I’m not being funny when I said that I genuinely wanted to meet him because of Escape to Victory. I can see him now, he only had two lines and they were dubbed. You couldn’t have pictured that, a Glaswegian accent being dubbed, which was brilliant!
“They were iconic players and you can go through them all, Mick Mills, Russell Osman, the Dutch lads, Mariner, Cooper, you can go through them all, they’re iconic and should be embraced by the club.”
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