We all know that management survival is about winning games but sadly, although he has won supporters over, so far Paul Lambert has failed in this regard. His record to date is barely any better than former boss Paul Hurst and yet he has had considerably longer to improve those initial disappointing stats.
In 30 league games, Lambert has won but three and this should sound a few alarm bells. There are mitigating circumstances for his poor record to date and one of them is a spate of unforeseen injuries to key players, but let us not forget that Paul Hurst was also blighted with injuries – especially in the striking department and even though performances have improved under Lambert, results have not. The majority of those Championship matches ended in defeats and the wins ratio of both managers is virtually identical and very, very, poor.
The trouble with Lambert is that it is not just at Ipswich Town where he has struggled. Prior to this post, he was the manager at Stoke City in the Premier League, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract with the Potters, but he was unable to prevent Stoke’s continued decline and relegation from the Premier League, and he left the club by mutual consent after just four months in the job.
His curriculum vitae is also open to further scrutiny because, before the Stoke appointment, he was in charge at high-flying Wolverhampton Wanderers. In those days they were in the Championship but under Lambert’s watch they finished a disappointing 15th in the 2016/17 season and the club agreed that they should go their own ways after just six months at the helm after an internal review.
In fact, we have to go back almost a decade to see the last time Lambert actually achieved anything of significance, with back to back promotions with Norwich which began to succeed in 2010 so his current predicament is a serious cause for concern.
The question I suppose we must all ask is whether a serial loser can become a serial winner again? I genuinely hope so and that is why it would be good for the squad’s morale to end on a winning note in our last game of the season against Leeds United at Portman Road on Sunday. The Yorkshire side might be in the mood to be generous, as they have not made automatic promotion and their thoughts will surely be focused on the playoffs.
They say that timing is everything in life and in football there is no exception. An end of season victory could just give the squad a renewed sense of purpose and rebuild some lost confidence too, as we come to terms with life in a whole new world.
I like Paul Lambert and sincerely want him to succeed, but it how we start next season that will ultimately determine his fate and perhaps ours as well?
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich