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Lambert: I Was Close to Going Into Hospital
Friday, 15th Jan 2021 11:01

Town boss Paul Lambert has revealed he was close to going into hospital as he suffered badly with Covid-19 and reiterated his frustration that football is continuing during the lockdown.

Lambert was one of 11 players and staff at Portman Road to test positive for the virus and was among those hit hardest along with general manager of football operations Lee O’Neill.

“It’s been horrendous, I’ve not felt like that in years and years,” he said at this morning’s press conference.

“Everything was going wrong, my body wasn’t functioning really, I was getting headaches. I’m still getting the headaches at the minute, I still get tired pretty easily. I’m still getting out of breath a little bit.

“It wasn’t nice because as every passing day was going on I was getting worse. I just couldn’t understand it. I got a touch of pneumonia in there as well, which never helped.

“The doc came round and said I was close to going into hospital, which wasn’t nice. I probably wasn’t great at that time but I’m fortunate because there are people dying all over the world.

“I’m 51, I don’t have the same fight in my body as I had when I was 31. It’s a strange thing, this makes you realise what is actually going on.”

Yesterday, Lambert said that he felt there was a strong case for football to be stopped given the current situation.

“Where I come from on it, and it’s just my opinion, is I see football people getting crucified for things they’re doing,” he added. “I get all the idiocy of going to parties and breaking Covid rules, that’s stupid, that’s just ridiculous.

“Where I come from is the sporting side, you’re asked to travel to different tiers and from everybody being in the same tier. We’re mixing with other people, we don’t know what’s going on, we haven’t a clue. Up until the testing twice a week came in, we were getting tested once every few months.

“You’re still going into games not having a clue what you’re up against opponent-wise. The Premier League was being tested twice a week. They’re getting everything done, the protocols were brilliant, everything has gone great, they were stringent about it but the lower leagues were just left there.

“And we’re all the same people, we’re human beings, We’re asked to go and play a sport which is meant to be entertaining. I don’t care what anybody says, without a crowd it’s not entertainment. In my opinion again, it’s not entertainment.

“You can wrap it up how you want to wrap it up and how you want to address it, but as a footballer you want to have joy with the supporters.

“Now they’re saying you can’t celebrate. I’m guaranteeing that you guys [media] when you played football a few years ago, when you scored a goal when you scored a goal your mates would come up and say ‘well done’. It’s a natural instinct to do that as a footballer. And at the same time you’re at a corner you’re asked to pick someone and pull his jersey.

“Where does that make sense? I think there are too many rules on that side of it. But more importantly, other than the sporting side of it, I think life is more important than football. I think there are just too many rules and I think people just want the season to try and finish, try their best to get it over with so they can move on.

“I’ve got friends in different parts of the world and they’re having the same problems we’re having. I just think it’s a horrific virus. I’d have said that even if I’d never had it. That’s my take on it.”

Does he advocate football taking a month off? Should the season be ended now? “I don’t know the solution. I don’t think anybody’s got any of the right answers for this, for what’s going on here. How can you have the answers because it’s never happened in the world before. How do you tackle it?

“Everybody’s tried to do their best to try and get through it and everybody’s got opinions on it. I don’t know the answer, whether you stop it, whether you suspend it, whether you try and carry it through. I really don’t know.

“But I just don’t think you can turn around and say ‘it’s entertainment’ because it’s not. How can tennis and golf get stopped, and they’re kind of distant sports, give or take a few metres, and football is inches apart. How does that work? I don’t understand it, I don’t know how it works.”

Asked whether what he has gone through has given him a different perspective on what’s most important, he reflected: “My life’s more important. As I say, I still feel tired and things like that. That few weeks wasn’t nice to have that sort of thing and the way it is.

“I don’t know how long the virus is in your system for, you’re not infectious or anything like that, but it’s the tiredness that you feel and the headaches. Sometimes the headaches come at certain times which isn’t nice.

“I guess everybody gets it differently, there are a lot worse off than me, people dying with this thing. It’s just one of those things that’s happened.”

Despite being back on the training field, he says he’s not yet doing everything he usually does: “At the minute it’s difficult to be hands-on the way I normally am just because I get tired and the headaches come along.

“I’m getting better, that’s the thing, I’m getting better which is good. I just have to hope that this leaves whenever it leaves.”

Having watched the Swindon game from the stand, he says he is making the trip to the Pirelli Stadium for Saturday’s game against Burton and hopes to return to the dugout.

“Yes, I’ll go to the game and hopefully I’ll be in the technical area,” he said. “Hopefully that will be the case.”

Photo: Matchday Images

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boroughblue added 11:12 - Jan 15
Again, shows how deadly the virus is, a strong reminder. Said on a post the other week, no one I know has really been effected by it, but the way O'Neil and Lambert describe their experiences are scary. I'm only 20, so I'd like to think I could fight it off. But it just shows how bad it is, especially when so many of the players got it and suffered, and they're much fitter than me!

hard to argue with the other points he makes, you'd like to think maybe the twice-a-week testing may help. But if you're gonna have a circuit break in the season, wouldn't it need to be longer than a month? the players will be back in training about 2 weeks before the games start again anyway won't they? But as he says, who really knows the answers, its never happened before...

senduntd added 13:36 - Jan 15
My goodness a sensible and well thought out comment. Well done boroughblue.

Edmundo added 15:56 - Jan 15
Town squad having 2 weeks off over Christmas might be able to show how a break will affect the chances of another outbreak. It's not that simple though as all players have outside contacts. The only real way to continue during a lockdown would be more testing and players forming isolated bubbles, perhaps the squad staying in a hotel. Tough, but it's their job, and like many of us, you have to carry on if you want to keep it.

RobsonWark added 22:36 - Jan 15
What a load of rubbish! (not allowed to say anything stronger about how I really feel) If players took Covid seriously we wouldn't still be in this mess that we are in now. Constantly seeing photos of players in the papers having parties and inviting women back to there pads. Even Mo Salah going to a wedding in Egypt not wearing a mask and mixing with loads of other guests not wearing masks. Players need to be held responsible for their actions.

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