Not since 1957 has Ipswich Town football club found themselves in the third tier of English football, but is it a case of one step back and two steps forward? Well, Blues boss Paul Lambert believes this might just be the kick up the backside the club needs. He explained his thinking after the 1-1 draw with Birmingham City at Portman Road on Saturday and said, ” It might not feel like it at this moment in time, but it will be an incredible learning curve. They’ll come back stronger for it – they really will. My view is that this club could be brilliant again. It might take a little bit of time, but it could be so good here.”
Now if the Scotsman could replicate what he achieved all those years ago across the border, then this might be seen as nothing more than a blip on the football landscape but that was then and this is now. It was on the 8th August 2009, that Lambert was announced as the new manager of Norwich City after he left his post at neighbouring Colchester United. And nine months later led Norwich to promotion back to the Championship as League One Champions, after just a single season in League One! The following season he saw Norwich promoted to the Premier League, finishing second in the table behind QPR, and achieving the first back to back promotions from the third tier to the first since Manchester City did it in the year 2000!
But that was almost a decade ago and football has moved on and the fact that Lambert has only managed three wins in 28 in the Championship is another reason for concern. The job of financing a football club these days relies on major investment – whatever league you happen to find yourself in. The Blues will lose almost ten million quid in lost television revenue and sponsorships, and the club will have to cut its cloth according to the size of its newly defined budget, which is expected to be small. Revenue from gate receipts will also suffer and owner Marcus Evans has apologized to supporters for the predicament the club currently finds itself in. He said frankly after relegation was confirmed that he must take some of the blame. ” Clearly mistakes have been made and, as owner, I have to take overall responsibility for that. Now my responsibility is to take this great club forwards again.”
Perhaps he should have listened a bit more to his two sons who kept telling him to invest more but of course, Evans ploughs into the club around 6 million pounds a year, and he is seen very little for it so far. Sadly, his lack of football knowledge has cost him dear with some very dubious appointments over the years and only now does it seem as if the infrastructure at Ipswich is on the right track.
He has confidence in Paul Lambert to deliver but he will have to make an immediate impact next term if our collective dreams have any chance of reaching fruition. More to the point perhaps, we have to end this season on a high and hope that we can carry this feel-good factor into the new campaign too.
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich