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O'Neill: Shareholders' Frustrations Understandable
Tuesday, 4th Dec 2018 22:42

New general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill admitted he understood the frustrations expressed by some shareholders at this evening’s PLC AGM held in the Sir Bobby Robson Suite at Portman Road.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for supporters who have been part of the club for a long time, a lot of season ticket holders, to voice their opinion of what think at this particular time,” O’Neill said.

“They don’t get a chance during the season to do that [other than] tonight, to raise their concerns about certain areas of the club and to feel that they are being listened to is very important.”

He admits he can understand the frustrations given the Blues’ current position at the bottom of the table.

“Most definitely, and the club feel it as well as the supporters, that there are those frustrations,” he added.

“What we’re trying to do is obviously rectify where [we can] and listen to the supporters and the shareholders and try and make a difference going forward.

“There’s no doubt about it, we are in a difficult position and probably the hardest times we had for a while and in order for us to move forward, as you heard from Paul Lambert this evening, we’ve all got to pull together, we’ve got to listen, we’ve got to put a plan in place and we’ve got to implement that plan and do it very quickly.”

Explaining his new position, he added: “It’s a bit of an advancement on my normal role as an academy manager or academy director, however you want to word it.

“It’s a title that Marcus spoke to me about over the last few months and it’s ‘general manager of football operations’, as well as running the academy.

“As I explained in the AGM, it’s to really ignite and bridge the gap with the academy and the first team. We operate out of the same building at Playford Road.

“And to look at all areas of the club in the management of the football operations, so I’ll keep Paul Lambert by taking away some of the day-to-day activities so he can concentrate on just doing the training programmes and making sure he’s picking the team for matches.

“An administrative role is part of that. It also is looking at operations in general, how we operate going forward and where he would like certain things to be put in place it’s my job to liaise with Marcus and obviously the relevant staff down here.

“There are lots of heads of department that I’m working with to make sure it flows a lot better than it had been.”

O’Neill, a former academy player himself whose father Tommy was in the Blues’ 1975 FA Youth Cup-winning team, says fans will hear more from him in his new position.

“I think there will be occasions when I’ll work with Steve Pearce and the media team and obviously Paul where appropriate.

“If I’m coming out and speaking in front of the fans or the general media, it’ll be to try and address football operations [matters] and if Paul can’t for whatever reason I’ll be coming out and answering questions.”

O’Neill, a Loughborough University graduate who at one time was the academy’s head of sports science, is involved in the club’s plans for the January transfer window.

“I can tell you that there’s a team of people who have started working very hard over the last few weeks, ever since Paul came in really, about possible improvements to the squad.

“No decisions have been made yet obviously because the window hasn’t opened, but we are working very hard behind the scenes to look at areas and you heard in the AGM that Paul would like some experience to add to some of the younger players that we’ve got and we are working hard as a team of people to try and make that happen.”

Has a budget been set for Lambert to work within during January? “Not yet, no.”

You can read TWTD’s live blog of the AGM on the Forum here.

Photo: TWTD

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rfretwell added 23:07 - Dec 4
The first thing needed for January is a very good idea of the budget available for new players. Fail to plan, plan to fail.

Chalo-bah added 23:24 - Dec 4
Has a budget been set for Lambert to work within during January? “Not yet, no.”

How the hell can you plan for something when you haven't a clue who you can or can't afford? Complete flannel by the shthouses at this football club again.

Carberry added 06:48 - Dec 5
Correct Charlo-bah, it is unthinkable that a budget has not been set. That would have been done when Lambert joined, he would have wanted that kind of assurance. Honestly, what do they take us for?

FAcup78 added 07:00 - Dec 5
No budget No plan No idea we are doomed. Does this club really think we are that stupid. Please just be honest and stop all the smoke and mirrors we are all in this together aren't we ?.

Carberry added 07:08 - Dec 5
Milne: Marcus, I've noticed other clubs seem to have a General Manager, Football Operations, I think we should have one as it would take the heat off me as I seem to be blamed for this football stuff and I'm very busy.
Evans: Well I'm not hiring anyone, the head count is far too high as it is.
Milne: Well, there's a young chap who works in the Academy who went to University.
Evans:OK, give it to him but I'm not paying him any more.
Milne: Thanks Marcus, do you need your dry cleaning picked up today?

bobbyramsey added 07:14 - Dec 5
A budget will have been set but why would they tell the whole world the amount, think about it......

Upthetown1970 added 07:20 - Dec 5
You don't lie to your shareholders or they soon don't become shareholders. Evans can get us out of this position with money in January so let's see how serious he really is about the club.

trncbluearmy added 07:36 - Dec 5
Dresses like some spiv of the streets,smarten yourself up man,no budget my arse this is just one of the many things ME and his cohorts continually get wrong.
Course there a bleeding budget or is the club ran even worse then we think?

blues1 added 07:42 - Dec 5
Upthetown. No amount of money will get us out of this in january unless we can get the gap to around 5 points or less by then. If it remains at 7 or more then i dont think we should be spending any money in january. We certainly shouldn't be looking for any permanent signings. Maybe a couple of loans with a view to a permanent contract should we stay up. As for the club telling people what their budget is? Why would they, when it would be made public knowledge, making it more difficult to sign anyone.

trncbluearmy added 07:50 - Dec 5
You don``t have to tell anyone the amount, that would be stupid and nobody wants that,just a nice straightforward comment like, a budget has been set which is affordable,and we will work strictly within that set budget to purchase the quality needed to get us out of the mess we find ourselves in.

ITFCsince67 added 07:51 - Dec 5
Who the hell is Lee O’Neill ?

MickMillsTash added 08:59 - Dec 5
We will have to pay over the odds to get anyone in on Jan 1
- Premier reserves- cost a lot
- Premier league youngsters - cost a lot- we need experience
- lower league players - surely will be attracting others - and who would want to come to Ipswich given the current dilemma. unless you pay a lot

Summary- need a miracle.

RoyalAscotBlue added 08:59 - Dec 5
“[for supprters] to feel that they are being listened to is very important.”

It’s not so important to ACTUALLY LISTEN to them, but if we can make them FEEL like they are listened to then job done.


RIPbobby added 09:02 - Dec 5
I guess he must be the new PR man. As bobbyramsey above said we cannot disclose our budget as selling clubs will use this against us to maximise their return on a player. In all fairness if he is the new PR man then he should have just said that. He should change his statement asap otherwise anything he says will not be taken seriously.

Everyone loves a spin doctor.

Kirbmeister added 09:04 - Dec 5
The January transfer window won’t save us. There will be decent players out there for sale but what would be the attraction of signing for a team rooted to the bottom? The decent players will be snapped up by bigger better richer teams than us and, let’s face it, there are a lot of those!

dbis78 added 09:04 - Dec 5
At least they're not wasting money on Christmas decorations, check out the tree in the background! Haha

braveblue added 09:07 - Dec 5
Shambles. Another Marcus. No budget but a team of people working on it. Another new title. What does this leave for Milne to mess up? How on earth did Evans succeed in business?

BullardsMagicMullet added 09:45 - Dec 5
Up or down it's another short term plan. Then start the circle again in the summer.

pennblue added 09:48 - Dec 5
There is no warchest, that is the reality of the situation. It is all well and good Paul Lambert saying we should all be pulling together and doing our bit, but that has to start from the top. The owner, should be sticking £20 million quid into the coffers to keep us up.

PositivelyPortman added 09:50 - Dec 5
Same old, same old.
Whilst he sounds like a decent person, as far I can see there are too many chiefs and not enough Indians.
Get rid of some at the top and there’ll be more available for players.

martin587 added 10:03 - Dec 5
I was at the meeting and I have every confidence that Paul is doing all he can to get us out of this terrible mess.
You need to get behind the club,not knock it.Paul has inherited an utter mess and a group of players who are not good enough at this level unfortunately but he has to do the best he can till January.
With regard to the amount of money available,it would be suicidabl to advertise the cash available.we have to get behind the club and have faith,I do and so should every true Town supporter.
If any of you were really there at the meeting I’m sure you would have seen promising signs.


Suffolkboy added 11:00 - Dec 5
There is evidence that some were actually listening intelligently : and that the import of what was said has not fallen upon deaf ears !
Martin lays out the score amply ; really is time for the 'hot air ' of last season to be allowed to dissipate and be replaced by the most positive support!
Passion & emotions need direction :.evn the most critical obviously feel hurt & deeply attached to ITFC BUT get rid of that now pointless anger ,replace it with good tempered support .
The sadness & frustration will continue, but in Paul Lambert we have a man of calibre and integrity - Trust him ,support him ,believe in him and the tide will turn ; only a matter of time & patience !
Come on you Blues ! Most of us still love you to bits !!

timspencero added 11:44 - Dec 5

If you come out with a budget then any players we try to bring in will inflate and fill the budget.

Trust Lambert. He's very canny.

People calling out for a number on the budget, relax and just focus on supporting Lambert.

Cheshire_Blue added 12:48 - Dec 5
The hounding out of Mick McCarthy has brought the present situation on us. We have got our just rewards and Paul Lambert has one hell of a job to get us out of it. We were warned to be careful what we wished for and now we can all see the result. The result is there for all to see and no amount of bluster from the army of Keyboard warriors can change that.

micky_1560 added 13:42 - Dec 5
The present position has not been brought about by hounding MM out, although employing Hurst has been a disaster!
We would still have been mid to low table with crap football EVERY week and attendances pouring away...

Employing MM for too long and sitting in mid-table playing crap football has meant that we have slowly lost all our best players (assets) and have yet again, had to start again with less players good enough for this league.

Investment should have been in the first few years of MM's reign like when we looked set for promotion in January and with a tired squad blew it..

The only way now, is to build a team with a mixture of youth and experience, who look like under Lambert are actually going to play entertaining football.
It's only costly individual errors that have prevented us winning and that must surely turn at some point...

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