‘If the fire still burns within, there is a lot of hope for Town’ - Lambert backed to be a success
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Eastern Daily Press Sports Editor Chris Lakey, who covered Paul Lambert as Norwich boss, gives his thoughts on how he might fare at Ipswich Town.
He’s changed a little since his days at Carrow Road: the face is a little more thick set, the hair more salt and pepper. But I suspect the sharp tongue and active brain is still in full working order.
Lambert isn’t one for soundbites, so if you are expecting a tub-thumping arrival full of vainglorious declarations, forget it.
Weekly media conferences - pre- and post-match – were often repetitious, no matter what he was asked. Lambert likes dealing with football people: the players, other managers.
He was always good with the supporters at Norwich: he knew which buttons to push, but rarely, if ever, over-stepped the mark.
When City did the double over Ipswich in 2010-11, he never boasted about it. Not even off the record. Disrespect was not his bag.
The image he will create is likely to be one of total commitment to the cause. From everyone. Himself, his coaching team, his players, the fans. Because his mantra is, it is all about the players and the fans. It is not him, not his assistant, not even the owner.
It’s a refreshing outlook, but of course it counts for nothing if things don’t happen on the pitch.
At Norwich, he had a squad of under-achievers campaigning in League One. They took it by the scruff of the neck. He had Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan in his team, ripping teams apart. And he supplemented it by bringing in hungry players – rarely did he knock on the doors of Premier League managers begging a loan. Instead, he identified players who would spill blood for the cause.
Lambert’s teams were swashbuckling and engaging, full of heroes: it’s hard to recall a time when you went to a match not thinking they would win. He instilled that sort of confidence in everyone.
His star clearly doesn’t shine as brightly today: he didn’t pull up any trees at Villa, Blackburn, Wolves and Stoke. Maybe the old Paul Lambert has gone. Maybe it was a one-off and maybe Norwich City got lucky.
But if the fire still burns within, then there is a lot of hope for Ipswich Town.