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O'Neill: Lambert Contract Offer Not Premature
Thursday, 6th Feb 2020 16:20

Blues general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill has dismissed suggestions that it was premature to offer manager Paul Lambert the new five-year deal he signed on New Year’s Day.

Discussions regarding Lambert’s new contract began when his side were flying high at the top of League One but by the time pen was put to paper, Town were towards the end of a run of 12 matches without a win in 90 minutes, while following an upturn at the start of the year which saw them back to the top, the Blues have lost their last two matches and are now fourth.

“No, I feel what we have at the club, which is something I feel the club has needed for a long period of time, is a plan of how we’re going to try and achieve something,” O’Neill responded when asked whether the new contract had been offered too soon.

“Our plan might be slightly different to other clubs and we’re looking to put infrastructure and platforms in place for the future of the club.

“Yes, results on a Saturday don’t always go the way that we hope and we have frustrations in that process when we lose a game of football. I hate it as much as the next fan does.

“But I think that’s where it’s fair to say you don’t judge it on a week-to-week basis, you judge it at the end of the season and where we are at that point and then we can appraise what went well and what didn’t go so well during that process.

“What we have got at the moment is a manager who is fully aware of where we’re at as a club and wants to embrace what we’re trying to do, knows it’s a difficult job but is willing to work very hard along with all the other staff here and the players to try and bring the club back to where it should be in the higher leagues.

“And that planned process, it goes through recruitment, looking at the windows, looking at developing the players, the style of play, all those things that we’ve been talking about, it doesn’t just happen overnight otherwise everybody would be doing it.

“It does take a sustained period of time and that’s not always the easiest thing for both supporters and players to understand. We are trying to build something and it will take a bit of time.”

Many fans would see failing to go up this season as disastrous, but O’Neill says whatever happens the footings are being put into place for the club to move forward.

“The idea when we talk about these situations with the manager that the longer term plan is that it’s going to take time to build a team and a way that he wants to play over a period of time,” he said.

“Managers don’t always get a long period of time to do that and I think that’s where I think [owner] Marcus [Evans] has been really good in allowing that development to happen.

“It’s not always as easy as going and buying players, putting them all together and building the perfect team, it takes time to know strengths and weaknesses and having a stable platform is really important for the club going forward.

“By doing what’s happening at the club that’s allowing us to have that stable platform and build for the future.

“It may get there really quickly and if we manage to achieve it this year, then absolutely brilliant, that’s what we set out to do.

“However, in saying that, the longer term picture is about building a team which might need to go through some of the experiences to build for future years to come.

“Some of our players haven’t been in this situation before where they’re going for a title and the different pressures that that brings on a daily basis and a weekly basis in terms of performance.

“They’ve got to learn to deal with them but that doesn’t just happen overnight, it only comes through experience and that experience will be built up this season and next.

“The objective is obviously is to try and get there as quickly as possible but making sure we have the platform underneath it that’s able to sustain the next level of competition.”

If the Blues don’t go up, then it seems likely that some players would move on with a number having attracted interest during the transfer window.

“I can’t answer that question, from my point we’re trying to build, so the answer would be no,” O’Neill said when asked about the prospect of departures if Town aren’t promoted.

“But a player that has aspirations to play at a higher level and doesn’t want to sign a new contract, for example, maybe.

“But if they see what we’re trying to do and see how hard people are working and enjoy their football, then that’s what we hope they can be part of going forward.”

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r2d2 added 16:37 - Feb 6
If we dont get promoted it will be a failure, simple as that. Lambert should then go, as he clearly royaly fkcued up. Rotating the squad as long as he did was a disaster and has cost us big time. That 5 year contract is a joke O Neil.

tomitfc added 16:39 - Feb 6
No other club in world football would reward a run of 0 wins in 10 games with a 5 year contract, it shows how clueless and the lack of ambition that the people that run our club have.

Pecker added 16:44 - Feb 6
Just ridiculous to suggest it was the right thing to do. They are already regretting it, just can't say so.

SamWhiteUK added 16:47 - Feb 6
He's hardly going to come out and say otherwise, is he? Especially considering the fact that he will have been involved in the decision

pup12 added 17:12 - Feb 6
The future is now!!! We cannot afford to stay in this league, simple. We always seem to be building!!! We still need a bloody great left footed cb, a dominate creative midfielder and a powerful quick striker. And at this moment a bloody gk. How many seasons have we needed those players. Different managers come and go but still no idea of how we should play. Like it's been said before me to offer a manager a 5 Yr deal when we were on a massive dip in form and quite worrying absultely no identity of what style we play, we are basically no further foward than when Hurst here or the last two dark years under MM. Coyb please!!!!!!

Suffolkboy added 17:33 - Feb 6
Sound , grounded ,lots of commonsense ,articulate and objective : non- controversial and as always professional !

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 17:41 - Feb 6
Pup12: "The future is now". Very true. We keep hearing about a new long-term approach, and normally I'd approve of that, but this somehow sounds like stuff we've all heard before. We need a bit of present a action too. A win at Slumberland would be a good start.

Chrisd added 18:00 - Feb 6
The timing of PL’s contract was just laughable, but that’s us unfortunately under ME’s ownership. I’m more amazed that the club has actually got plans in place for the future. I thought they winged it from day to day or week to week. Wonders will never cease! 🙄

dukey44 added 18:06 - Feb 6
Got to laugh really as at the top they are just a total joke... He should never have been given the contract until end of season...

MattBatt69 added 18:19 - Feb 6
'I hurt as much as the next Town fan'... this really riles me... whilst he is picking up his salary no matter what...

Churchman75 added 18:22 - Feb 6
9 million worse off in league one and we won’t invest to help
Lambert will walk

Dolphinblue added 18:35 - Feb 6
Totally correct decision....managers never get the time they need to develop a proper thought out plan.....but of course thenegcrew will moan at each and every story. THERES ONLY ONE THING THAT NEEDS TO GET OUT OF OUR CLUB ....AND THATS THENEGCREW!!!!!!!!

ITFCsince73 added 19:22 - Feb 6
Dolphin 🐬. Unfortunately there hasn’t been a real plan in place since the late 70,s. Fizzled our mid 80,s.

cat added 20:43 - Feb 6
Don’t get me wrong here cause I hope Lambert’s a success, BUT, offering a 5 year deal on the back of his win % is simply ludicrous. A reward perhaps for his off field achievements, something the PR department should have been doing. Anything other than a top 6, with the size and potential of our squad will be a failure in my book and all this reconnection malarkey could be up the ‘frog’ pronto like.

Cloddyseedbed added 20:44 - Feb 6
We always judge the club at the end of every season and the facts don't lie. We are worse off every year, both in terms of money and league position.

Dolphinblue added 20:45 - Feb 6
Exactlyitfc1973....thats why we need one and need to get behind Lambert....otherwise we are back to square one...coyb

midastouch added 21:04 - Feb 6
Goodness me, who's he trying to kid! He's not likely to be winning anybody over with this sort of nonsense. If they believed in Lambert and they wanted to show support, despite the downturn (bear in mind we were bottom of the last 6 played form table at the time he signed his new long-term contract), then we might of been able to swallow a year extension (even that would of been questioned by some I expect - and rightly so given our highly questionable form), but a 5-year deal just seemed way overboard in the context of our current situation.

blueboy1981 added 21:18 - Feb 6
My guess is that the contract offer had been on the table since the excellent start to the season with Lambert having visions of a ‘bigger’ Club coming in for him, therefore stalling on signing.
Less face it, we heard all his spin about his ‘experience’, big clubs, been here, been there, got the T Shirt etc; etc; Then the winless run, serious too, and the scenario changed - but the offer still being on the table - best get that signed.
At that time it could hardly be withdrawn - hence duly signed. Smart move Mr Lambert, if not somewhat devious maybe ?

I think the above from O’Neill is sound and encouraging to us all, but spin is always easy and cheap - let’s hope it is not more spin, genuine, and produces the goods for all concerned associated with the Club.

blueboy1981 added 21:24 - Feb 6
...... let’s face it - Lambert still thinks he’s better than his record states - nothing special at all since the Carrot field, and even then he had delusions of grandeur of where he should be.
That hasn’t changed - but results invariably decide that destination - not the person himself, or his belief ..... !!

monkeymagic added 21:44 - Feb 6
Lee O’Neil strikes me as a really decent guy. However, he talks absolute drivel. All our club has done in the last decade is spout nonesense about plans while other clubs just get on with it. If you look back at other periods when a grand plan was announced, what followed was more of the same steady decline. Is there even one thing that’s truly better now than prior to Evans takeover?

wilnisfan added 23:54 - Feb 6
Seriously, all these things he says we have to put in place, well we had 13 years to even START to put them in.

So many mistakes year after year. Of course it is his job to smooth things over but the fans are upset for a reason, when they can see the simple mistakes themselves.


Michael101 added 08:09 - Feb 7
We get more spin from i.t.f.c. Than we get from Westminster.

Michael101 added 08:14 - Feb 7
All he is doing is trying to sell season tickets for next season.If things carry on like they are at the moment the dolphin will be the only buyer.

rugbytomc added 10:04 - Feb 7
Step 1 - stop Lambert doing any more interviews. Step 2 - Have O'Neill do club level interviews and one of the assistants do post game interviews.
Lambert talks guff but I'm sure if left to just be a manager he'll be a much better manager. O'Neill always comes across very well.

I still don't think we have the playing side balance right, especially for this division, but not easy to move on dross or players not needed positionally and replace with ones we do plus the window is shut, this is it now for the season, so Lambert has to make do and find ways to win and against the top sides

Razor added 10:45 - Feb 7
Strangely I think Lambets best work has been off the pitch where it is fair to say he has done a fantastic job.

Lots more needs to be done and for that reason would not wish to lose him so how about appointing hin director of football/operations and get a hungry young manager in for the team.

Just a thought?

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