Lambert on Blue Action Banner: I Can't Control That
Friday, 27th Nov 2020 11:20
Boss Paul Lambert says he can do nothing about the Blue Action group calling for his head in a banner draped across Playford Road’s gates on Wednesday evening and in a subsequent statement.
Blue Action were formed at the start of 2018/19 to try to improve the atmosphere at Portman Road and met with Lambert shortly after he took charge at the club. At the start of last season they paid tribute to the Town manager in a banner hailing his as Rambo. Wednesday’s referred to him Shambo.
“I never knew until last night,” Lambert said when asked about it. “Do you know what, the great thing about myself is whether it’s good, bad or indifferent, nothing bothers me that way.
“As I said before, I played with massive clubs that taught me unbelievably strength-wise.
“I never knew a thing. I can’t control that, what I did do with the Blue Action guys, no problem, we wanted to know their views on what happened to the club and where it had gone. They even admitted themselves that the club had nose-dived and they’d lost enthusiasm for it.
“We tried to give them an injection, told them ‘We need you, we definitely need you’. They came and did brilliantly, they started everything going, it started to snowball. Absolutely no problem.
“We met a lot of the guys, no problem. But if they want to go down that road then I can’t do anything about that.
“What I do know is that the club is in a lot better place than it was when we first came in with the support.
“And the support has been brilliant, absolutely brilliant because they’ve had so many years or things going up and down, not happy with the ownership and managers and everything like that.
“But we’re here to do our best, whether that ends tomorrow or ends Monday or Tuesday, you’re here to do your best.
“The guys have given me absolutely everything and they’re better players than they were when we first came in, that’s for sure.”
Asked whether the banner surprised him, he responded: “My only concern is the guys in the dome [where they’re changing at present], the staff and the players. My only concern, and the fans, I can’t influence any group to do what they want.
“I never think about myself, I never worry about myself, I never think about myself, my main concern is everybody else around about me. That’s my main concern. Not myself, that’s no problem.”
What’s his message to fans? “Just keep supporting the club. Even if I wasn’t here, I would still say to any fans, ‘Support the club, because they need you, without a doubt, they need you and they need you all the time. Good, bad or indifferent.’
“The guys and the women pay a lot of money to watch games but, as I said when I came in, this club had I don’t know how many season ticket holders, but it was dwindling, there was no atmosphere, there was nothing, everybody was tired of it.
“At least there’s a bit more ‘vocalness’ there, a bit more power there and fans are getting season tickets. I’d rather have that than come to a place where there’s no enthusiasm for it, which was the case here.
“Now, the power’s there all the time. But we need the fans to be good, to be vocal. We need them, regardless of what, the football club needs them, not anything else but the football club needs them.”
Reflecting on fans' concerns that the season is shaping up to go down the same route as last term, when the Blues started brightly before slumping into mid-table, he added: "We'll hopefully get the guys back. Listen, we’re down to the bare bones. Have we got the strongest squad at the minute? No, we haven’t, which is because of the injury situation.
"Are your bigger players not playing? Yes, because of the injuries. But it’s a chance for the younger ones or the guys to perform and show me what they can do.
"So we’re only three points off of second with a game in hand, and it’s a long, long season this that’s for sure.
Does he feel under greater pressure because of the banner, particularly in a season when it’s vital the Blues are promoted with the salary cap set to have an even great impact next season.
“You look at the clubs in the division and everyone will be saying the same. Sunderland have been in it a long time as well and there have been so many clubs, Portsmouth have been in there as a really good team, there are so many clubs in there that are vying for it.
“You look at Peterborough as well, spent a lot of money on it. They do great with their recruitment and sell guys on.
“There are loads of clubs up there, and Ipswich are sitting three points off of second with a game in hand.
“We're in a really good place with a hell of an amount of injuries which is a concern, but that's football I guess throughout the whole league.
“But as I said before, and I'll say it again if Marcus came to me today or tomorrow and said listen whatever – no problem, I don't have a problem. I can't do anything about that, and I can't influence anything about that.
“All we do is try and get the best out of the guys and we've incorporated so many young guys in the team because in the future and the long-term it's going to be good.
“We came up with a style of playing going right through the club because everybody wanted that, so we came up with ideas, myself and [assistant] Stuart [Taylor] we came up with ideas so everybody plays this way, so everybody knows to come into the first team.
“We played kids at Crawley as you know and everybody raised an eyebrow because of the young team I picked.
“But you see long term that that will benefit the club because other teams might take the kids on loan and it will benefit them which benefits the club.
“So you've got to have a long-term eye on what can happen somewhere else, you don't just do short-term stuff.
“And to me that's what's happened at the club, it's been short-term on a load of things where we're trying long-term, whether we're here or not is immaterial. It should be filtered right through if that's what the club's philosophy is.”
From the Portsmouth match up to 2,000 fans will be back at Portman Road, which Lambert says is a positive development with fans having been absent since March due to the pandemic.
“I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t pay money for a ticket and come and just want to criticise people,” he said. “But that’s just me, my opinion of it. I’d want to have a good time and enjoy it.
“I know it’s going to be really difficult because there’s only a couple of thousand in the stadium, but it’s a start with the football world and sport trying to get back to some normality.
“How many people are allowed in, whether it’s 2,000 or 4,000, I think it’ll be great for the game and the sport because the sport needs the support.
“I’m pretty sure when people do come back in it’ll be a bit surreal for them because they might be dotted all around the stadium but it will be good.”
Photos: Blue Action
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