Boss Lambert and Assistant Taylor Leave Town
Sunday, 28th Feb 2021 21:25
Town have announced that manager Paul Lambert has left the club by mutual consent along with his assistant Stuart Taylor.
“I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Paul and Stuart for their services to Ipswich Town over the last two and a half years,” Town owner Marcus Evans told the club website.
“I have enjoyed a healthy working relationship with Paul in our time together and he has brought a lot of positive aspects to the club.
“It has, however, become clear after holding discussions over the last few days that there are significant differences of opinion as to the order of immediate priorities and we agreed it was best for us to part company. I would like to wish both Paul and Stuart the best in the future.”
TWTD understands first-team coach Matt Gill, who has taken a more prominent role in recent weeks, is set to take charge of Tuesday's game at Accrington as caretaker-manager working alongside other members of the club's existing staff.
Lambert took charge of the Blues in October 2018 following Paul Hurst’s disastrous short time in charge.
In his first season he failed to prevent the club from being relegated to the third tier for the first time since 1956/57.
Despite this, Lambert’s initial moves to heal the rift with fans which had developed during the Mick McCarthy era saw him receive the backing of supporters despite results not having improved.
After a promising start in League One, Town’s season drifted away and the Blues ended the curtailed settled-on-points-per-game campaign 11th.
Midway through that season, with the cracks already beginning to show and fans by now less enthused by his management, Lambert was controversially handed a new five-year contract.
This season also started brightly before the Blues similarly slid into mid-table with relationships breaking down both inside and outside the club.
Jon Nolan and Kayden Jackson were banished to train with the U23s, while TWTD’s Phil Ham was banned from press conferences and relationships with the rest of the media were frosty with Lambert often sending other members of his coaching staff to meet the press.
Fans have become ever more frustrated by his management with demonstrations led by fans’ group Blue Action - who met with Lambert in the early days to discuss improving Portman Road’s atmosphere and whose pin badge the boss wore at a number of press conferences - becoming increasingly frequent and gaining greater media prominence.
Overall, Lambert’s record with the Blues reads played 113, won 37, drew 28, lost 48, a win percentage of 32.74.
Lambert's departure comes as no surprise with the manager himself having said on Saturday that it was 99.9 per cent certain he would leave if the ongoing US-backed takeover went through. We understand he told players Saturday's 2-1 home victory over Doncaster was likely to be his last game in charge prior to kick-off.
Lambert and Evans are understood to have exchanged cross words at a meeting at Portman Road on Thursday and it’s believed that there was a similar mood to a phone call on Friday.
Former Portsmouth, Wigan and Chesterfield boss Paul Cook has been tipped to become the Blues’ boss as part of the takeover and we understand the 54-year-old has indeed been sounded out regarding the role.
Ex-Town winger Gary Roberts is believed to be being eyed for a position on the coaching staff at Cook’s next club. The 36-year-old is currently a player with Tuesday’s opponents Stanley.
When and whether Cook’s appointment is confirmed remains to be seen with the consortium also believed to be keen on Lincoln boss Michael Appleton, although having signed a new four-year deal at Sincil Bank earlier in the week the 45-year-old may now be out of the running.
In January TWTD reported that Cook had been contacted by current owner Evans regarding the vacancy. Evans is also understood to have spoken to a number of other managers in recent months including ex-Millwall and Cardiff boss Neil Harris and former Huddersfield and Lincoln boss Danny Cowley.
As reported towards the end of the week, the incoming consortium is closing in on taking charge of the club in a £30 million deal with some sources suggesting the takeover could be completed within a couple of weeks, although these matters can drag on due to red tape such as EFL ratification.
While Los Angeles-based businessman Brett Johnson, a leading figure at US clubs Phoenix Rising and FC Tucson, has entered the spotlight after following Town’s Twitter account, we understand the 51-year-old is just one of a number of investors with former West Brom chief executive officer Mike O'Leary believed to be the leading figure.
O'Leary is close to Bristol City chief executive Mark Ashton, a former board member at West Brom and one-time goalkeeper with the Baggies, who is understood to have been ear-marked for the same position at Town.
Robins head of operations/club secretary Luke Werhun is also believed to be wanted by the new set-up. However, there is no confirmation that either will be leaving Ashton Gate.
Ashton and O’Leary were previously part of a group which staged a takeover at Oxford United in 2014, with Appleton, a former West Brom player and caretaker-boss, having been manager.
Johnson, O’Leary and Ashton are directors of a company called Gamechanger 20, which was formed last year and is believed to be the vehicle for facilitating the takeover.
Also among the other directors of Gamechanger 20 is Berke Bakay, principal owner, governor and co-chairman of Phoenix Rising, who made his money from Kona Grill, a restaurant chain.
TWTD understands that much of the financial backing for the takeover will come from the pension fund for the fire and police services of a so-far unnamed US state.
Photo: Matchday Images
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