The season has ended in a state of suspended animation. We can only blame ourselves for our sad demise. So then, where do we go from here, and who is to blame? Manager Paul Lambert said, ” We were top at the end of January but we lost key players to injury and for whatever reason – and I think it was a culmination of things – we didn’t kick on.”
There is indeed more to it than that. The “culmination of things” I guess refers to a few critical errors on Lambert’s part. Squad rotation is all very well but changing five or six players every game destroys any kind of continuity and momentum, and although we have a large squad and he wanted to keep all his squad members fit, he seriously overplayed this particular card. The “culmination of things” probably also refers to his stubborn refusal to play midweek matches because of international call-ups. We were going well until this policy was enacted, and it had a detrimental effect on the sides propulsion.
Town finished in 11th place in League One and Lambert admitted that the table does not lie. Speaking to Andy Warren in the East Anglian Daily Times, Lambert said, “I’ve looked at things over the last few months myself and thought about what I could have done differently as well as what did and didn’t work. These few months have given me time to think and reflect. I have a lot of things written down which I hope can be corrected.” I hope so too. The Blues have finished in the worst position since way back in 1953, and although the season ended early, who is to say that it might have been even worse if the season had ended naturally?
In an extract from a statement released by owner Marcus Evans, he outlines his disappointment at the season ending prematurely. A decision had to be made though and while we don’t agree with the outcome, we do fully understand that the cost of finishing the season for many clubs was prohibitive. It is a very difficult time for football clubs as it is for a lot of businesses. I’ve read stories that 30 clubs face going out of business and it’s distinctly possible that there will be casualties along the way. Perhaps this shock to the system will enable decisions to be reached to address the sustainability of club finances.
To reflect seriously on this miserable season is a necessity. Evans still backs Lambert but he surely knows he will need another ‘fast out the blocks’ performance at the start of next season if he is to retain any credibility. Lambert is walking on thin ice. He needs to quickly learn from his mistakes and push on. On this topic, Lambert remarked enthusiastically, ” If we can start the season off really well again then maybe we can give people a lift. Fans may be watching games through different avenues, I don’t know. That’s what we will try and do and hopefully, the lads can go out and perform.”
But the sad reality is that we are still going backwards. Our submissive approach to playing football is a damning indictment of all that has gone before. To dream of reaching the higher echelons of football excellence is exactly that. Turning our dream into reality is further away than ever. I will leave the last words to Lambert. ” They say the table never lies. That’s the reality of it.”