Great Escape Looks A Long Way Off

Friday, November 23

Hopes of a Great Escape starting were dashed as Ipswich were beaten 2-1 by Darren Moore's West Brom.

There had been plenty of talk of Town reducing the deficit at the bottom and start their fight to avoid the dreaded drop.

Unfortunately for Town fans all they managed to do was dig themselves into a deeper hole in what is the relegation mire  

A decent crowd just short of 23,000 clearly bought into Paul Lambert's pre-match optimism and plea for a positive atmosphere but it was sadly a case of same old, same old at Portman Road.

Poor defending allowed Jay Rodriquez and Harvey Barnes to give the Baggies a comfortable two goal lead, and the Baggies could easily have had two or three more but for poor finishing.

Hayden Jackson pulled one back for Town with an opportunistic finish five minutes from time, when West Brom uncharacteristically messed up at the back, and that set up a tense finale.

The Portman Road crowd were rocking as they urged their team forward and Jack Lancester came within inches of snatching point with a free kick, which shaved an upright. 

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Stand By For Seat Of The Pants Football

Tuesday, October 30, 11.30

Ipswich Town fans can expect seat of the pants style football as new Blues boss Paul Lambert outlined his plans to avoid relegation. 

Lambert, who was officially unveiled as Paul Hurst’s replacement at Portman road insisted Town will be playing attacking football, just as he his former club Norwich City did.

The Canaries won back to bac promotions under his spell as City went from League One to the Premier League and late goals and dramatic finishes were a hallmark of his style of play.

Fans learnt not to leave Carrow Road early as Lambert’s team’s never say die attitude earnt them many a point or three after coming from behind.

“I don’t really want us to be scoring too many late goals as that means we are chasing the game,” said Lambert who then added. “We have to go on the front foot. We have to play with a tempo and intensity. I don't like slow football and we have our own style, which we will play.

“If we have to score late goals or not we have to keep playing for 90 – 95 minutes. No matter what, as a team we have to play on the front foot.

“I don't know how it was before but, while I’m not promising anything, hopefully the lads will play the way I want them to play.”

Even though Town are bottom of the table, Lambert will not compromise his style of football.

He said: “We have to win games and I don't play any other way.

“We will compete against every team we play against and we try and win every game then I will be satisfied but I won’t change the way I play.”

Lambert opens his reign as Ipswich boss at home on Saturday to Preston, managed by another former Norwich City boss in Alex Neil. 

Old hands such as Luke Chambers, Jonas Knudsen, Bartosz Bialkowski and Cole Skuse, are expected to start but Lambert is not afraid to give Town’s youngsters to be given a chance as he looks to blend youth and experience, which he did so well at Norwich.

 The former Celtic and Champions League winner with Borussia Dortmund, said: “If you look what I have done previously you will see that I have never been afraid to play young players. I had a manager who gave me a chance at 15 so I’m someone who thinks if you are good enough and I feel you can handle it then I will throw them in.”

Lambert was keen to play down his spell at Carrow Road, pointing out that was seven years ago, and is not expecting any hostility, from either side of the border.

“I had three fantastic years at Norwich but I don’t want to harp back,” said Lambert. “I just want to focus on Ipswich and get them away from the bottom of the table.

"I don't want to be judged on past successes, I want to be judged from now on in.

“I saw the supporters at Millwall and for a team at the bottom they were great and I’m sure if we are winning games it won’t matter to them who is in charge they will stay right behind us.”

With two months before the January transfer Lambert has to work with what he has and will spend the time assessing just who he needs and wants to keep and trying to make them better players.

He laughed off suggestions of a reported £10m war chest being made available by owner Marcus Evans

Lambert said: “I will deal with the window when it comes but the first things we need to do is to win football games.

“We will look at that when it comes and add to the squad if we can.”

Something the manager, who also managed Colchester United to a 7-1 win over Norwich City, and left Stoke City in May after failing to keep them in the Premier League is determined to bring the fun element back to Portman Road – on and off the pitch.

The days of fans leaving a home game early could well be over as this latest chapter opens and it promises to be harum-scarum football matches once Lambert is able to get te spirit and tempo going the way he did at both of owns’ East Anglian rivals.

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Lambert Confirmed As New Blues Boss

Saturday, October 27, 09.00

Paul Lambert has been confirmed as Ipswich Town's 17th manager.

Former Colchester United manager Lambert  has signed a deal until the summer of 2021 and will be in the stands as Ipswich take on Millwall today under the stewardship of Bryan Klug.

The 49-year-old Scot, who won successive promotions from League One to the Premier League as Norwich boss, and won a Champions League medal and captained his country as a player. 


Lambert said: “I can’t wait to get going and I’ll be using all my experience and give everything I’ve got for Ipswich Town.

“I know about the history of the club, what a fantastic football club it is, and I’m proud to be the manager here.

“Obviously it’s been a difficult start to the season but to get through this period we need to be pulling together as one – players, staff and supporters.

“I want us to play with tempo, with enthusiasm, with drive. I want the players to enjoy their football and I’m relishing the challenge of helping to take this club forward.”

Town owner Marcus Evans said: “I am delighted that Paul has agreed to become manager of Ipswich Town.

“He made it clear from our first conversation that he would relish the opportunity to come here.

“He is a very knowledgeable manager who has vast experience of the Championship as well as working for a number of years in the Premier League.

“In his time at Aston Villa he showed he could work with and develop young players and his teams have always looked to play exciting football. Those attributes fit our ethos here.

“He obviously enjoyed a lot of success at our local rivals and the aim for Paul and everyone at the club is to see that repeated here – and bettered.

“The first priority though is to start climbing the table and I urge the supporters to get right behind our new manager and the players to strengthen our ability to do that.”

Lambert brings with him three members of his own staff after Paul Hurst and his backroom team left Portman Road after just 149 days in charge.

Stuart Taylor was also his assistant at Stoke City and on his staff at Wolves and Aston Villa. Jim Henry, who was also with them at Stoke, is the fitness coach while Matt Gill leaves his role as Norwich City U23 manager to become first-team coach.

Paul Lambert Linked After Hurst Sacked

Thursday, October 25 18.00

Be careful what you wish for. (Derek Davis gives his thoughts on the Portman Road crisis)

It is easy for football clubs to sack managers, getting the right person in to replace is not so simple as Ipswich Town fans found out when they called for Mick McCarthy to go, and a young, hungry, relatively successful manager in Paul Hurst was appointed amid great expectation. 

Now, those same Ipswich fans have seen Hurst sacked as owner Marcus Evans cracked under the pressure of one win in 15 games and took action.

Paul Lambert is the bookmakers' favourite to replace Hurst, with Mark Warburton seen as a backstop.

Only time will tell if that appointment works and we will never know if Hurst would have been able to turn things around at Portman Road, or even if Town had been relegated, if he could have brought them back bigger and stronger.

Lambert is the antithesis of everything supports, owner and journalists called for during the summer to replace the pragmatic McCarthy.

After  good spell at Colchester United, he was the U's manager when they thumped Norwich City 7-1 on the opening day of the 2009 season. That defeat was enough for the Canaries to poach the Scot, who also had a good working relationship with the Canaries' chief executive David McNally from their Celtic days.

That partnership proved pivotal as Lambert led City to successive promotions from league Two to the Premier League with his seat of the pants style of football. Late goals, fightback, drama and a white hot atmosphere at Carrow Road cemented Lambert's place in Norwich's history.

There was the unique moment at the end of the 2011/12 season when Aston Villa were the visitors and both sets of supporters were chanting Lambert name. City fans because they did not want him to go, Villa fans because they wanted him as their new boss - and the midlanders got their way.

But, just as his relationship with the Norwich board soured, so did his connection with the Villa supporters  though as life at Villa Park never worked out, nor did it at Blackburn, Wolves or Stoke City, although he did save two out of three of those clubs from relegation.

There is no doubt he has vast experience at Championship level but Lambert will face a difficult task at Portman Road, where clearly the problems run deep. He will have to sort out the issues with McCarthy's legacy, senior players who think they are better than they actually are when in reality they are mistake-prone, average footballers great at the fist pump, but not so good at standing up when times got tough. Not the sort you want to be shoulder to shoulder with in the tenches.

Then there are the Hurst signings, good players in the lower leagues, but not able to step up convincingly to Championship level, no doubt she will follow their former manager when he, inevitably, is picked up by another club with vision and ambition.

 The third conundrum will be which of Town's young players should be used to form the foundation of the new Ipswich Town team. Andre Dozzell, Flynn Downes, Jack Lancaster and Tayo Edun, have already impressed and may need to be given more game time. 

Too much of one element in the mix and Lambert will fare no better than his predecessors and it may still be a case of stepping down a level before coming back. 

If he fails to keep Town in the Championship then Lambert will be even more revered in Norfolk, while Ipswich fans will once again rue getting what the manager they wished for.

Hurst Does Not Want Help From More Experienced Coach

Sunday, October 21, 07.00

Paul Hurst insisted he does not need a director of football type figure to help him get Ipswich Town through this difficult period.

Bottom of the Championship Ipswich were beaten 2-0 at home by QPR with both goals coming in the first half.

With just one win all season, 3-2 at Swansea, speculation is rife owner Marcus Evans could consider bringing in an experienced head to support Hurst, with a number of names being bandied about.

George Burley, who took Town back to the Prmeier League in 2000 via a Wembley play-off final, followed by two seasons in the UEFA Cup before they were relegated, is still a regular at Portman Road and lives in the area.

Harry Redknapp, a friend and golfing partner of Evans, has been spotted at the ground, but has been confirmed as going on the next; I’m a Celebrity… Get me out of here…

Although not exactly a rookie manager, this is the first season Hurst has managed at Championship level but dismissed the idea owner Marcus Evans could bring in a more experienced manager support him.

“If it was an experienced manager sat here or upstairs, does he suddenly stop the mistakes happening?” asked Hurst in response. “I think if he did then it would be coincidence, rather than anything else.

“No, I personally don’t really see any reason to do that. I can’t see that happening. 

“I find the level thing not to be what this is about, that’s my personal view, although accept other people have opinions.” 

The former Shrewsbury, Rotherham and Grimsby boss took responsibility for Town’s plight but despite their position and poor run of results Hurst doesn’t believe he is about to be sacked.

Hurst said:: “No, I think we’re kind of past that stage and I know what I’m doing and the effort (being put in).

“We’re working with a group of players that we have to try and get the best out of. Are we managing to do that? Clearly at the minute, no.

“We’re in this together. I’ll take my responsibility but the players have to take theirs as well and a lot of those, if they’re honest, will say they can do better than what they’re doing at the minute. 

“That’s part and parcel of football. You’re reliant as a manager and when things are going well, the lads are playing well. When things are going badly, they’re not playing well.

“It’s trying to give them that confidence and that kick up the backside to do better, because we certainly need to.”

But the determined Yorkshireman admitted he and the players were fortunate to be going through such a rough patch at an understanding and patient Portman Road, despite the boos at half time and the final whistle.

He added: “I’ve heard it a couple of times but nothing that players shouldn’t be able to handle.

“That was mentioned in the dressing room downstairs there that ultimately the lads who have been around a little bit know this crowd is far from the worst they could have in terms of adding pressure and being really disgruntled.

“They show that they are but show it in a certain way, not like where they do at some places. So if they can’t play here then I think they will struggle pretty much anywhere.

“They are willing the team to do well and the players to do well.”

Town go to Leeds on Wednesday, and then face another away trip to Millwall on Saturday.

Bartosz Bialkowski is expected to be recalled after Dean Gerken failed to deal with a corner that went straight in from Luke Freeman and was beaten by a Tomer Hemed penalty conceded by Toto Nsiala.

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Tribute To The Beat

The warm outpouring of love and respect for Kevin Beattie described as the best Ipswich player ever, came in abundance at Portman Road tonight. 

Former teammates including George Burley, Mick Mills, Allan Hunter, Terry Butcher, John Wark, Bran Talbot and Russell Osman were there to show their respects - laying down a number six shirt.

Some of family man Beattie's family led out the team and the minute's applause before the match and in the sixth minute of the game was heartfelt and fulsome.

Beattie's spirit was clearly present as Kayden Jackson headed in an equaliser as Town drew 1-1 with promotion favourites Brentford.

 Derek Davis knew him well and here offers his own personal tribute to the Ipswich and England centre half..

Kevin Beattie was not one for formality.

He called me ‘Del, ‘Del Boy’ or just ‘Pal’ and he liked to be called ‘Beat’.

It was this down to earth approach that made him a warm, genuine, generous and congenial giant of a man.

It was also his no-nonsense approach on the pitch that made him one of the best centre halves this country has ever produced.

Sir Bobby Robson told me in an interview when he was Newcastle manager that The Beat was the best player he ever managed, and that included Brazilian striker Ronaldo who he had at Barcelona.

When I sked him why Sir Bobby put it succinctly: ‘He was physically imposing, he could play, but more than that he read the game as well as anyone.’ 

As a player, I remember the Beat playing for England, having goal disallowed, while Malcolm McDonald scored all five in the 5-0 win over Cyprus.

He was capped by Don Revie who knew a thing or two about defenders.

Although an FA Cup winner with Ipswich where he played more than 300 games, injuries and the constant cortisone injections curtailed his playing career, although he did spend time at Colchester United and a short spell at Middlesbrough.

I got to know him as a person when I worked for the East Anglian Daily Times.

He loved his family, looked after his wife Maggie who suffered from a long term illness, whose charity MiND, he supported along with many others.

He regaled me with many a tale, and his favourite when he found out I was an ex-HMS Ganges boy and now lived in Shotley, was how he was involved in a car accident on the B1456 on his way to training at Ganges. He told me in detail what happened and how he and his team mates had to crawl out the smashed in back window of his Opel to escape. 

This tribute will sit in among many, many others, for the Beat was a man of the people. Incredibly popular with not just Ipswich fans, but football supporters everywhere. 

 He was an infectious man with his warmth and generous spirit.

In public he was full of bonhomie, in private he was a devoted family man with the utmost dedication to his wife who he cared for diligently

That’s not to say he was perfect. Kevin Beattie had his faults and could be something of a rascal and I remember having to go to his house to talk to him about a story we needed to do that did not show him in a particularly good light.

Many would have slammed the door. The Beat invited me in, carried on picking his horses in the paper while watching the racing on TV and we dealt with the issue in his usual frank, honest and direct manner.

It was the mark of the man that he understood what needed to be done, and we stayed pals, and even though I was not as close to  him s many of my press colleagues he always had all the time in the world to chat to me and my lad when he saw him at Portman Road.

But then he always had time for everyone. 

In a world where the word legend is too flippantly used. The Beat genuinely is one. 

His loss will be felt deeply from Suffolk to Cumbria and a statute outside Portman Road is totally deserved, just as his tribute at Portman Road was, and yes, for me, I would like to see Ipswich's number six short retired just as Bobby Moore's at West Ham has been.

Honours Even In Old Farm Derby

Ipswich Town 1 Norwich City 1

Derek Davis at Portman Road

Paul Hurst is still seeking his first win as an Ipswich manager but came mighty close after Gwion Edwards put his side ahead against Old Farm rivals Norwich City.

It was the first time Ipswich had opened the scoring in an East Anglian derby at Portman Road in 20 years and hopes were high their eight-year winless run would come to an end.

However, Norwich equalised after a good spell for Norwich, which also saw Dean Gerken save from Alex Tettey, while another loose ball scrambled away for a corner and Grant Hanley lofted a ball over the bar from eight yards.

Moritz Leitner picked his spot from 23-yards to beat Gerken and find the bottom corner after Ipswich failed to clear their lines effectively.

The point moved Ipswich off the bottom of the table and even though their manager Paul Hurst has yet to experience a victory since taking charge of the Suffolk club, he has no concerns over his team’s form.

“Overall, I’m genuinely not too concerned,” said Hurst. “I desperately want to get that win and we moved closer to that. We are not a bad side.

While we have not won here, (at Portman Road) we have not lost.

“We have to stick with it and hopefully the fans will see how we are improving.”

Hurst sprang a surprise by dropping Poland World Cup squad goalkeeper Bartosz Bialkowski and starting with journeyman Dean Gerken.

He also handed starts to new signing Jon Walters and Matthew Pennington, on loan from Burnley and Everton respectively.

Hurst added: “It felt like a new team. The international break will help as we bed players in and one or two players can improve on their fitness.”

Norwich have now emerged unbeaten in these Old Farm derbies on 11 occasions, with this fifth draw and six wins, so City manager Daniel Farke enjoyed salvaging a point.

“We were the better side in the first half and had the better chances,” said Farke.

“We had to substitute Timm Klose at half time and he is an important player for us.

 “The first 15-20 minutes Ipswich were the better side and went ahead, with a deflected goal.

“We should have equalised earlier but we got one in the end and we felt then we could have won it.

“It showed a lot about our commitment that even though (Louis) Thompson was injured and could not run, and we had used all our substitutes he wanted to stay on to help where he could.

“In general I’m proud and pleased with our players.

“Despite all the good young players we have ahd to sell our future still looks bright.”

Walters had Ipswich best effort in the first half when Tim Krul pushed his powerful shot against a post and wide.

Ipswich Town: 4-4-3-1

Gerken 6; Spence 7, Pennington 7, Chambers 6, Knudsen 6; Skuse 6 (Chalobah, 45+6) Nolan 7, Edwards 8 Graham 6 (Ward 82); Walters 8: Jackson 7 (Harrison, 84).

Subs: Bialkowski, Kenlock, Edun, Downes, Harrison

Norwich City: 4-1-4-1

Krul 6; Aarons 7, Hanley 7, Klose 6 (Godfrey, 46) 5, Lewis 7; Tettey 7; Buendia 5, (Thompson, 64) 6, Leitner 6, Pukki 6, Hernandez 7: Rhodes 6 (Srbeny, 80).Subs: McGovern, Zimmermann, Stiepermann, Trybull, Thompson.

Referee: Robert Jones Attendance: 25,690

Point Made As Blues Find Lots To Build On

Ipswich Town 2 Blackburn Rovers 2

The size of the task laying ahead for Ipswich manager Paul Hurst was laid bare after they snatched a point against newly promoted Blackburn Rovers in their season opener. 

Gwion Edwards got the Blues off to a wonderful start in front of nearly 18,000 Town fans before Tony Mowbray’s Rovers showed their togetherness and experience to hit back with strikes from Danny Graham and Bradley Dack. 

Substitute Tayo Edun, one of five debutants fielded by Hurst, hit a somewhat fortunate late equaliser after his low, left-footed ball into the box evaded everyone before going in off the inside of a post.

An understandably delighted, and somewhat relieved Hurst admitted after the game, how much work Town still have to do as he rebuilds the side.

 “We speak about patience and a work in progress and I feel silly using it because we’re one game in, but it will take time and it’s not an excuse. Anyone with half a brain will see that’s a fact,” said the man who replaced Mick McCarthy.

“A lot of them did well. (Trevoh) Chalobah had been away but came in and showed moments of the real player he can be and, overall there are some who stand out to me as players who need a bit more work to get to the levels I expect from them and what we expect as a staff.”

The Blues crowd clearly appreciated the effort the players made, although chances were few and far between and Rovers appeared to ease up in the final moments.

Hurst said: “I still think we were looking strong overall and were pushing for that equaliser without creating numerous chances. We were certainly pushing Blackburn back and if we were going to get caught it would have been on the break which is something you have to accept.

“Then, the other side of it, I’m disappointed with the goals we conceded because they were soft ones from our point of view.

“It’s the first real test we’ve had because pre-season, as much as we pushed them and asked for their commitment, it doesn’t give you a situation where it really matters.

“I thought the response was good. We asked at half-time for them to be brave and have a go and if it doesn’t come off then so be it, don’t come in thinking ‘I wish I’d done this a bit better.

“Far from a great performance but what I would say is the players showed a lot of character and I thought they kept going.

Former Ipswich centre half, captain and caretaker manager Tony Mowbray heaped praise on Town and
picked out winger Edwards for special praise after his opening goal was followed by some strong running, clever tricks and an assist for Edun’s late leveller.


Mowbray said: “I feel as if the club’s in pretty good hands, but time will tell as the season unfolds how he (Hurst) deals with this league. I’m not sure he’s managed in it before, but I obviously have an Ipswich mind having been here for nine years and want them to do well.

“I think the club has made a good decision with this coach and hopefully we can both have good seasons.

 “I’m just telling you what I felt last year playing Shrewsbury Town, that if they do sign Jon Nolan... and the evidence is there, looking at Edwards today, scored a goal and he was like Billy Whizz on the right wing at times.

“They’ve got some good players. Harrison will score goals. It’s whether he’s effective or not today, he runs, he chases, he’s in the box, he can head a goal, he can shoot off his right foot particularly. He’s a handful for any defender.

“And if he gets the ones I see [he’s after], I’m hearing Kayden Jackson, never stops running, fast as lightning, just keeps chasing the ball, I think they’ll be fine and take no notice of what the bookies might say.”

Reasons To Be Cheerful Despite Pre-Season Loss

Never mind the score, measure the progress.

Paul Hurst's new look Blues went down 2-1 to Premier League West Ham in front of more than 15,000 spectators in their Portman Road bow but Town fans had plenty to cheer about, and the manager had plenty of positives to pluck out in his pitch side post-match press conference. 

"We were against better quality players and a better team." said Hurst. "Were West Ham absolutely flat out? I’m not going to say that was the case, but there were moments where their quality shone through and we had to be organised and on our mettle to read situations

“Most of the time I felt we were, although there were a few situations, which I’ve already highlighted to the players, were we needed to sense danger a little bit quicker.

“Overall I thought we tried to press - although that’s difficult against players who are comfortable on the ball.

“We actually carried a threat today as well. That was probably the most threatening we’ve looked in pre-season actually, which is pleasing when you go up against a better team

“It just whets the appetite even more for that opener against Blackburn.”

The atmosphere was warm, positive and the sense of optimism was tangible. Going a goal down within three minutes when Felipe Anderson burst Ipswich fans' bubble with a dreadful goal for Town to concede.

But Ipswich fans rallied behind the team, that in turn turned on the style in patches.

Ellis Harrison, a £750,000 signing from Bristol Rovers equalised with a nifty finish to a sublime through ball from Andre Dozzell, who when fully fit, promises to be creative diamond in midfield.

A slew of second half substitutions interrupted the game's pattern, but the introduction of on loan Chelsea substitute Trevoh Chalobah gave Ipswich followers another glimpse of what could be lying ahead once all the pieces fit into place, with his strength, technical expertise and eye for  pass - long or short.

Marko Arnautouvic clinched the winner but the final whistle brought only cheers and appreciative applause - a far cry from just three months ago.

Town are expected to sign centre-half Marcus Tilt from Blackpool this week, while Martyn Waghorn is close to leaving as a £6m transfer to Middlesbrough, Derby or Sheffield Wednesday edges ever closer.

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