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Lambert: I Don't See Football Returning as Soon as June
Friday, 10th Apr 2020 08:48

Town boss Paul Lambert says he’s sceptical that football will be able to return in June as the EFL currently plan with other big sporting events later in the year already having been postponed.

Yesterday, a letter from the EFL to clubs was leaked suggesting that their current intention is to get fixtures back under way in June behind closed doors with players provisionally set to return to training on May 16th

Football has been suspended since Friday 14th March and like the rest of the population, Lambert and his squad are currently spending their time at home.

“Like everybody else I’m staying in the house, you can’t do anything, can you?” Lambert said. “It’s a crime, it’s terrible what’s happening, really is terrible.”

He says the players haven’t been asked to do too much in terms of fitness while they’re away with Lambert’s bigger concern their mental well-being.

“Not really, we’ve had dialogue online with the lads just to make sure they’re alright mentally, I think that’s the biggest thing for me is their mental state, that they’re going to be OK because they’re confined to their houses, confined to their families,” he said.

“The fitness thing, they’ll do little bits themselves from what they’ve done in the past, but we can’t do anything with them really at all, we’ve just got to monitor them and make sure mentally they’re OK.

“We had a wee chat with some of them yesterday online, just a general chat to see how they’re getting on.

“They’re doing alright, the lads are doing OK. I’ve another little call with some of them this morning in their groups.

“They’re doing alright, and that’s the youngest kids as well, that’s important. People forget that the younger kids are in digs, which is hard going, very, very tough.”

As reported last week, Lambert has joined his squad and his coaches and the club’s off-field staff in ringing elderly pensioners to check how they’re getting on during the crisis.

“I’ve done them myself as well,” he said. “I think it was a great idea to phone some of the season ticket holders, the older generation.

“I’ve done it myself and some of the banter with them was pretty good actually, it was quite funny.

“I think that was important and it wasn’t anything to do with [selling] season tickets, nothing like that, it was just to see how they are, make sure they’re alright, the older generation.

“If the club can do anything it can to help the community [it will]. As I said when I first came in, it’s a one club town and it can pull together and times like this will definitely pull it together and I know Portman Road has been offered to the NHS, which I think is great.

“The training ground’s been open to the NHS for training practices if they want to use it. It pulls everybody together at a really hard time.”

Asked what football should do going forward, Lambert said he’s not convinced it can return as quickly as is presently hoped.

“This is new to everybody this, the thing that I get frustrated about is that there are more important things than sport as everybody knows, lives are more important than anything else.

“But if you’re talking about just a sporting aspect of the world, they keep on putting dates on it, so it’s the 30th April, then it’s the 16th May, I think it will go longer than that.

“I don’t see it. They’ve cancelled Wimbledon in July, they’ve cancelled The Open in July. How can you try and fit football in before those two massive events.

“I think it’s really frustrating when people keep setting dates and then it keeps getting moved and getting moved.

“I’d like to see the season finish because we’ve still got a really good chance [of making the play-offs], we’ll have everybody back fit. It’s a chance for everybody to get going again, but whether that’s going to take place over people’s lives, I’m not so sure. I think the have to sort what’s happening in the world, let alone anything else.”

He added: “I understand the financial ramifications of how it can work, especially the Premier League, they can lose so much money to Sky and BT. I get all that, but it affects everybody. It affects the Championship, it affects League One, it affects League Two, the National Leagues, the leagues below.

“It affects everybody and what I think is that if you do it for one league, you have to do it for everybody. I think it’s got to go right across the board, I don’t think there can be any disparity where we can start there, or start there, we get the season finished or don’t get the season finished, we start next season.

“It’s a knock-on effect. When do you start next season? When does it actually start? Do you get a break? Do you not get a break?

“How many subs can you use going back into this period, because when you get into pre-season we play two teams, we have 11 guys who start the first 45 minutes and 11 guys who come on for the next 45 minutes. It’s a really a difficult situation for the world of football.”

Lambert is disappointed for ITFC Women, whose season has already been declared null and void with them top of FAWNL Division One South East

“I think that’s the frustrating thing. Joe [Sheehan, manager] and Paige [Shorten, assistant] at the club did great there. But, as I said before, nobody’s encountered this before, not one person in the world has encountered this virus, it’s new to everybody.

“Somebody has to make a decision somewhere to say either ‘OK, we wait and it goes, then we play’ or they say ‘We don’t play’.

“I get everybody’s point of view and I try and look at it from every angle and you never really come up with the right answer because somebody somewhere’s not going to be happy with the decision that’s made.

“The financial ramifications are massive, they’re huge. As I say there’s no right answer and there’s not a wrong answer but I think if a decision is made everybody has to abide by it.

"Whether this season prolongs or it doesn’t prolong, there are so many hurdles you have to get over to get to a decision that most people are going to be happy with. And this is worldwide, it’s not just in Britain.”

Photo: TWTD

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Guthrum added 09:40 - Apr 10
I think he's right. This is the Prem/EFL making a decision based on finances more than the practical realities of the situation.

Chrisd added 09:54 - Apr 10
Spot on Guthrum, unfortunately that has always been the case.......money talks, it always has!

Steve_ITFC_Sweden added 11:41 - Apr 10
Can't see much happening before the autumn at the earliest. The question then will be what to do with the rest of the 2019-20 season.

OliveR16 added 15:04 - Apr 10
I don't wish this guy any personal ill for him or his family - but just as a favour to us all could he be put in isolation for a few weeks at least so we don't have these banal comments for a while. He doesn't know anything, his opinion doesn't matter, we are not asking to hear from him and when we do, we are no wiser.

budgieplucker added 17:03 - Apr 10
PL has been asked for his views and therefore we can choose to read them or not. Clearly with little to be able to report on we will have the same questions being asked or the newspaper recycling old comments to give an appearance of fresh news.

Despite any other criticism of PL he came out very quick to help the club on the position of his own wages and I will respect his views on the above.

I think we all have to accept football may not be quite the same again, this may or may not be a good thing. To think that we have a cushion with ME might be wishful thinking, the business he is in is going to be one of the slowest to recover if it ever does, this will have an impact on his wealth and his enthusiasm to dig any deeper or even to the same level, he will be influenced by not wanting to deplenish his personal wealth if it is not growing thru his business activities.

Personally at the moment I don’t have a view or any enthusiasm as to whether the season finishes or re-starts again when it is safe. Obviously those involved with the administration have to review the options and scenarios that might be available, but whilst football can perhaps add a little relief to us all in troubled times I question the feasibility of a restart in the near future when people are unlikely to want to watch behind closed doors matches on television, plus many who have lost their jobs or having to survive on reduced income may not be in a position to afford to attend a live match for the near future.

At the moment whilst we all have to try and keep as sane as possible and live with our anxieties the most important thing is to be able do whatever is necessary to help support those who we often take for granted who are having to put their life on the line to see us through this current crises. Football for once can be a true servant of the people and wait until we are properly ready to receive it again. The superstars will have to live with it and the prospect of perhaps not being seen as quite the heroes as before - we can see the real heroes at the moment around us and on the news day in day out.

TimmyH added 17:36 - Apr 10
I should think Lambert would want the season swept under the carpet and forgotten about the way it was going...

Theonlywayisup added 18:05 - Apr 10
Of course it won't be as soon as June. Any meeting taking place is just a waste of time and in my opinion shows a lack of humanity.
Only when we can see an end to this does there need to be discussions regarding when football will be back. How on earth can any dates be even penciled in where we do not know when this will end.

runningout added 19:31 - Apr 10
Agree. Football isn’t showing much humanity with loss of too many. It might be me but I’m truly miffed with how the games going (might something to do with how pop we are as well)

Dockerblue added 20:01 - Apr 10
I do think that PL has shown over and again what a decent human being he is by some of the things he says. If any of you haven,t looked on there YouTube has some highlights of some of our illustrious clubs games from back in the day, well worth a watch during the lockdown and hopefully PL and his staff/players find time to check it out if only to see what a packed Portman Rd looks like........

JDAndCoke added 21:04 - Apr 10
Agreed budgieplucker!

OliveR16 - I've called out a few comments like yours recently and will do the same with yours. Fact of the matter is that Lambert has been asked for his opinion (as he will be with any nugget of news that comes out at the moment as there's nothing else to talk about football-wise). He's given a pretty generic answer which most people in Football are giving at the moment, albeit with his own slant on it, yet people still have a pop.

Nothing positive to say? Why bother?

alfromcol added 10:07 - Apr 11
Until a vaccine is produced and is widely available for distribution to the vunerable and older people, they will be told to continue to avoid crowded places. This could mean a whole section of football fans will be advised not to attend matches until well into 2021. This is a slightly pessimistic view, but could well be the case. The eradication of this killer virus will only happen after vaccine becomes available, hopefully sooner rather than later.

tractorblue added 12:20 - Apr 11
I have to agree with so much on here on this subject,i do believe PL is a decent human being,just dont think he is the right man to take us forward.
On the Virus,we now have hit nearly 9000 deaths,will go up a lot more than that,we cant say goodbye to our loved ones,no family funerals,its just so sad.
So the comments on here concerning The Open,Wimbledon,Olympics etc,you guys are spot on,there won't be any Football played till August at the earliest,and it hurts me to think the Hierarchy keep spealing us with dates to re-start,football is so irrelevant.
Although i do believe,in the next few days,maybe week or 2,not anymore,they will be left to admit defeat and make it Null and Void,and face up to the consequences,then sadly you will have Football clubs threatening Law Suits,i get that,but for so many people dieing,surely,let's make the country safe and start a new season,when it can,i know it's controversial,but Null and Void is the correct way for me.
The Premier League are in a different world,they don't care about supporters,people's health,they just worry about the money,well they have made it like this,fat money cats in the game,so they have to live with it,i'm probably wrong,as they will try and get it played,but it won't be June and very unlikely to be July. Stay Safe all you fellow ITFC Fans,and hope we can all be at PR sooner rather than later.

Hegansheros added 18:33 - Apr 11
I never thought after being a footie fanatic for 60 years, that I would say, football doesent matter.

bobble added 07:40 - Apr 13
football no longer matters, finding a pack of toilet paper in the supermarkets is much more important........

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