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Lambert: Morally I Think Us Playing Football is Wrong
Thursday, 14th Jan 2021 10:44

Town boss Paul Lambert says there’s a strong case for football to be stopped given the current prevalence of Covid-19 and believes continuing to play is “morally wrong”.

Lambert was among 11 players and staff, along with general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill and academy head of coaching and player development Bryan Klug, to test positive for the virus just before Christmas with the Blues having four games postponed due to that outbreak and those at other clubs.

Asked on BBC 5 Live Breakfast (2hrs 44mins 2secs) whether football should be stopped, Lambert said: “I think there’s a strong case for it. I’ve had it and I’m going by the symptoms, the way I felt. It was the worst ever, it really was.

“The NHS people and the care workers are doing an incredible job of putting themselves on the line, and footballers are asked to go and play a game. I just don’t get it. It’s not entertainment, it’s not the same game without fans. It’s not the same game.”

Do other people in football hold a similar view? “A lot of them I’ve spoken to because footballers are human beings as well, they’re human and morally, I think us playing football is wrong.

“I get it why people want us [to continue] as it keeps everybody right, but who’s protecting the players and the staff at every other club because they’re going to get it, and they have been getting it, as you’ve seen.

“It doesn’t matter how stringent the protocols are, the virus seeps in somewhere and it’s opening everything out.

“Now the new rules on whether we can celebrate or not celebrate, can we shake hands, can we not shake hands, everything’s coming on top of football at the minute and I think it’s a heavy weight to carry.”

Players are being called on not to celebrate goals due to the risks of spreading the virus but Lambert says that’s a natural aspect of the game.

“I’ve had it, I’m still recovering. I’ve never felt as bad as this for years and years, I can’t remember the last time I felt as bad as this, so it’s certainly real, that’s for sure,” he said.

“I just don’t get it, we’re asked to play football and celebrations are part of the game, it is an instinct thing, you run to your team-mate.

“If that’s the Government rules or what they’re laying down is that if someone scores a goal don’t go near them then everybody has to try and get that in their head. But it’s a difficult thing.

“The thing for me is that there are too many questions being asked about what’s right and what’s wrong.

“If the players do something wrong they get criticised, but they’re asked to play, which I don’t get because you’re stopping tennis, you’re stopping golf. They’re metres apart but you’re asking footballers to play when they’re inches apart, so I don’t get it. But this Covid thing is really, really incredible, what’s happened to the world.”

Is it possible to have more muted, socially-distanced celebrations? “You’re going to have to find it from somewhere. I’m pretty sure if you played football as a kid in the park and you scored a goal or your mate scored a goal, you’d run up to them and say ‘well done’. You’d have to get that instinct when your team-mate’s scored a goal you leave him be.

“As I said before, I was unfortunate, I had it and it was horrendous, it’s a horrendous virus.

“We’re making so many rules for football so it can get finished, we’re asking players to go into different tiers.

“I know they’re getting tested negative but you never know when this thing can get you. It can get you in the blink of an eye really and I think that’s the big thing - football still has to go and play and try and put entertainment on.

“It’s not entertainment any more, and this is my opinion, it’s not entertainment this is just trying to get a season finished and try and move on.”

Asked how he contracted the virus, Lambert explained: “It was a really strange one because one of the lads at the club got tested and it came back negative, [but] his flu test came back positive.

“We had a goal celebration and we thought he had it and he it turned out he never had it, it turned out one of the other lads had it.

“So we all got tested and all of a sudden I think about eight of us got it, including another member of staff, and I was nowhere near them. I was two metres apart from them in the dressing room.

“But you never know where you get it from. I don’t know, I really don’t. But what I do know is that I’ve never felt as bad as that in my life.

“When you’re in the shower, your hair is sore, your head’s sore, the headaches and pneumonia, everything was breaking down. So I’ve got a strong opinion on it, I just don’t see how football should be exempt.”

He added: “You’re asking players to go and play a game when everybody else can’t move [into] different tiers. For example, how can Ipswich go and travel to play Sunderland or Fleetwood or wherever?

“Everybody’s in the same boat where we are with this virus, nobody’s immune to getting it. How can you stop tennis and how can you stop other tiers of football playing and keep the bigger ones going?”

Photo: Matchday Images

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unknown100 added 10:46 - Jan 14
How’s their job any different to going to work at a supermarket? Difference is they get tested 2 times a week

BluJu added 10:52 - Jan 14
hmm, just perhaps he wants this season to end for other reasons.

NicRams added 10:52 - Jan 14
The difference is their job is not essential. Knowing how hard the hospitals are struggling at the moment I cannot see why we are keeping this going. Every positive case is extra pressure on an already struggling NHS. Each test is also adding pressure. I think football needs a reality check and to me playing on is madness.

Nazemariner added 10:53 - Jan 14
I said at the time.....last season should have been concluded somehow behind closed doors, and this season should not have started with the cloud that is COVID hanging over it. That applies to Football at all levels. What do lives matter though when there is money to be made.

MattinLondon added 10:56 - Jan 14
If he thinks it’s morally wrong to play football is that why the team has been playing so poorly? Can’t really describe that as football.

Guess the main difference between a supermarket worker and a footballer is that a Sainsburys worker doesn’t really expect a sliding tackle on aisle four.

WhoisJimmyJuan added 10:57 - Jan 14
I think the way you are setting the players up to play each game is morally wrong Mr Lambert. Torturing us fans and your players.

Nobbysnuts added 10:58 - Jan 14
Morally I think you still being our manager and not being sacked is wrong...

Woolfenthen added 11:04 - Jan 14
Is that why we haven't played any for the majority of your tenure??

dominiciawful added 11:05 - Jan 14
Lambert out.

stevelincsexile added 11:11 - Jan 14
I didn’t think we had been playing football!,

tetchris added 11:14 - Jan 14
Well feel free to resign Mr Lambert if managing at this time goes against you’re morals 🤣

Tufty added 11:17 - Jan 14
Your right about one thing Mr Lambert
It's not entertainment !!!

Bert added 11:17 - Jan 14
As much as I think Lambert is not a good fit at all for our club, I agree with everything he has said. The reason football is still happening is tv money. The so called non elite sport has been curtailed but the risks remain for any contact sport and the people involved in it. As Lambert has said, it is morally wrong when the NHS is under siege and people are fighting for their lives. This is real, we are in a health crisis, we are the 4th most infected country in the world and our hospitals are full of Covid patients. Cancel the season now and start the new season earlier by cancelling the Euros.

Murphys_Law added 11:18 - Jan 14
I think you also have to consider the people who have had a positive benefit from watching the games. My father is in a care home and thankfully they’ve done an amazing job with COVID, but without the games to look forward to and no visiting I’m certain his mental health and wellbeing would have suffered. There are always two sides to every story!

aas1010 added 11:18 - Jan 14
Christ sake shut up and pack your bags and take your puppet evans with you 🤬🤬🤬

inghamspur added 11:19 - Jan 14
Erm, that's not football mate

Reusersgreasymop added 11:19 - Jan 14
We stopped playing months ago

6niland3missedpens added 11:22 - Jan 14
Obviously the argument of whether to play , or not , is justified , but what is clear , when fundamental skills , such as , attitude , honesty , integrity and application , are currently not being applied on the pitch , on a regular basis , or arguably , at all , then remarks such as these , from the Man in charge of motivation , is definitely not going to improve the situation .
You are a Professional , and get handsomely rewarded , unlike the guy in aisle three of Sainsburys , on minimum wage , who won't get tackled ( but he might receive a Glasgow kiss ) so get your bottom lip out of the mud , and get back to the job that you applied for , until someone tells you otherwise .

BettyBlue added 11:26 - Jan 14
he's right, cancel this season now.

Suffolkboy added 11:37 - Jan 14
I’m really sorry that PL obviously suffered ; but he’s a job to do ! When and where does he think we should draw the line in the sand ? How can we decide if Supermarkets, and their staff can give up providing service and food etc ?
Most of us I think are pretty desperate to see and experience a return to normality , in whatever shape or form : being able to watch football , feeding in to the sporting ethos, the spirited efforts , the successes and the failures ,and the emotional highs and lows DOES enable a semblance of the real world to continue for lots of us !
Not sure what leadership courses PL will have been on , but obstacles,challenges and difficulties have to be faced ,and mostly overcome though risks are evident ! Every problem present an opportunity !
We’re all worried , but doing the best in adverse conditions ; so please get on with the job , pass feelings to the influencers but cut out the downbeat , emphasise the good , lead from the front , try to inspire , or otherwise simply quit and disappear from our radar quickly : pretty sure our squad and everyone will really want an up beat approach ,and driven enthusiasm .
ITFC and it’s supporters expect !

Lightningboy added 11:49 - Jan 14
You have to ask yourselves how much more of your life are you going to let Boris Johnson & this absolute sh1tshow of a government take away?


blues1 added 11:52 - Jan 14
My God, there are some really crap fans on here. Have to turn every story posted into an excuse for having a go at him. As much as I'd like him to go, theres no way I'd criticise him or turn this into an excuse to slag him off. Get a grip people. Everything hes said here, is 100% spot on. It is absolutely ridiculous that we are all being told not to go outside our local area for exercise, and basically to stay at home, yet footballers are travelling all over the country to play football. Fact is, that regardless of the fact that they are being tested regularly, cases among footballers are increasing all the time. It's time for football to be stopped, give the lockdown the maximum chance of succeeding in bringing the cases down. Then hopefully with the vaccine too, next season can get back to some kind of normality.

cromwellblue added 11:53 - Jan 14
Perhaps if the players stopped spitting on the playing surface it might not spread as much🤔

Nobbysnuts added 11:55 - Jan 14
Well your conscience should be clear Mr lambert as we have definitely not been playing football....

Menton added 11:56 - Jan 14
Bore off

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