Lambert: I Protected Randy Lerner at Villa For a Long Time, I Can't Do That Again
Wednesday, 17th Feb 2021 12:26
Boss Paul Lambert says he can’t repeat his Aston Villa experience where he feels he protected owner Randy Lerner at Town, adding that he believes the Blue Action members who took part in Monday’s training ground demonstration weren’t “true Ipswich fans”.
Under-fire Lambert spoke on talkSPORT regarding Monday’s protest which saw training suspended for 10 minutes after a flare led to some signage catching fire.
“It was what you can imagine, if you don’t get results, the pressure comes and it comes and it’s normal,” he said.
“The scenes at the training ground the other day, I don’t think it was true Ipswich fans, I think that’s one thing to say. I don’t think that’s the way it should have been dealt with or anything like that.
“We had a young team out last night, we were actually training against a younger team and it’s probably the first time they’ve probably seen things like that and were wondering what’s actually going on, what football is about.
“In a way it can be a good thing for them because they can see the pitfalls of football if things don’t go right for their own careers, they can see a lot of stuff there. But morally it was wrong what they did, but, as I say, I don’t class them as real Ipswich fans.”
Explaining further, he added: “We were training and we were doing shape work the day before the game. It was behind the goal and I didn’t really know about it until I could smell smoke and I thought somebody must be burning something here.
“And I turned around and I’ve seen the flags and the flares and these sorts of thing. It’s never nice, it doesn’t matter how old you are, but we had a lot of young players playing and it might have been their first time experiencing that.
“But, as I said before, I don’t class them as Ipswich fans. I thought it was wrong, what actually happened.”
Reflecting on how the season has progressed and having to use a lot of young players before Christmas, he said: “At one stage of the season we had 10 lads out injured and we were playing academy kids in there. I think that gets swept under the carpet because there were a lot of injuries to bigger players for us, and we found that tough.
“We came through that little period and we got them all back and then the pandemic, we had a few games missing [due to positive Covid tests] so we had to play catch-up.
“You have to adjust to it, I think that’s every manager’s challenge, you have to adjust to things like that. I don’t mind that, if a kid is good enough, you play them, but it’s such a big club that you need a bit of help.”
Asked what’s behind the disharmony at the club which goes back beyond his time as manager, he said: “I think there’s a lot of frustration. The great era with Terry Butcher, who works at the club, who has been great, John Wark, who has been great, Paul Mariner, who has been great. I met Thijssen and Muhren, guys like that. Alan Brazil I’ve spoken to. Great players, what they did for that club has been incredible.
“That was 40 years ago and they’ve got to move on with respect to the history of the club and you have to live up to it. You can’t get away from them because what those lads all achieved.
“But as a football club you have to have a clear plan where you’re going and what you’re doing and structure-wise.
“Marcus Evans has put an incredible amount of money into the football club. I understand that, it’s a hard, hard gig running a football club because of the amount of money they must put in is incredible.
“But you need an infrastructure where everybody at Ipswich Town has to get round a table and say ‘Where are we going here? What are we doing? What’s the infrastructure here?’. Because this needs to stop, this needs to stop.”
Quizzed on whether Evans is open to that, he added: “We have to have dialogue, we have to have a discussion. I’m not going to come here [and criticise him] because he’s always been good with me, he tells me how it is, we have dialogue. But the football club needs him to say what’s going to happen with the structure. I think that’s the way it should be.
“The big thing for me is I did the same at Aston Villa, protected Randy Lerner for a long, long time. It was like a lamb to a slaughter what was happening there.
“I can’t do that again, I can’t go through that again. There’s got to be a structure where everybody gets around a table.
“Everybody’s to blame, everybody, not one person where you can turn around and say you’re blaming that one or that one. Everybody has to look at themselves, look in the mirror and say where it went wrong. And I think that’s the big thing for Ipswich.”
He added: “I’ve not shied away from anything, even the clubs I played with, they were huge clubs with massive success, and the players I’ve played against, the countries I’ve played in and all those sorts of thing.
“I’ve seen what it’s like at the top, I’ve seen how those structures work in football clubs. I’ve taken people from Ipswich over to Dortmund to have a look at it to see how their story went, so it’s not as if I don’t know exactly where it’s fell from. You’re trying to put everything in place but you can only do it so far.”
Photo: Matchday Images
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