Lambert says 'massive thank you' to Ipswich fans in open letter calling for support
Ipswich boss Paul Lambert has written an open letter to Town’s fans, thanking them for their support and urging them to back his side to the very end of their battle against relegation.
The Tractor Boys are still bottom of the Championship table but cut the gap to safety to seven points last weekend when they beat fellow strugglers Rotherham 1-0 at Portman Road.
That was just a second win in 13 games since the former Norwich manager took over in late October, eight of which have been defeats, including to League One side Accrington in the FA Cup third round.
Lambert passed the open letter to sports reporters at the East Anglian Daily Times and Ipswich Star...
To the Blue Army,
On behalf of myself, my staff and the players, I just wanted to say a massive thank you for all the support you have given us over the last few months.
The reception the players were given at the end of the game on Saturday was incredible but it isn’t just that, it’s the support you give us during the games and everything else as well.
I saw some videos taken in the concourses of the stadium that have been going around, of supporters singing, and it just reminded me that this isn’t a normal situation at all. I think I know all the words to the song now which is brilliant and I couldn’t stop whistling it on Sunday morning!
It’s not just that you are turning up in such good numbers but it’s the atmosphere you are generating yourselves in the stands.
We want supporters to be able to come to the stadium and enjoy the football and, while we may not have got the results we wanted at certain times, we have hopefully made sure it is entertaining.
The stadium never really empties before the end of games, which is always a good guide, and the atmosphere is incredible.
Everybody here recognises that – the staff and the players too – and we are all so grateful.
I’ve never known a crowd to be like this when their team is bottom of the league. Whether we’ve generated some of that or how it’s happened, I don’t know, but it is remarkable.
When you have such a vibrant support behind a goal like we do in the North Stand it can be a like a magnet, trying to drag the ball in, and also can help keep it out, just like it did on Saturday.
That is why we all ensure we go to the crowd and thank you for your support, because that’s important.
The rapport between the player and fans is huge and that certainly helps us.
This is us at the very bottom of the table. Goodness me, what will it be like if we were up at the top? If I wasn’t the manager here I would pay to watch a game from the stands.
I’ve only been here a little over two months and the welcome me and my staff have been given has been incredible.
When I first took the job I did wonder how it would go because of my time up the road in the past but I couldn’t be more grateful for the support me and my team have here.
I love it here and it’s a great club.
I remember watching the Middlesbrough game on television in October and thinking to myself ‘dear oh dear, everybody’s asleep’, but nobody can say that now.
The one thing which stuck in my mind when I was watching the team from the stands at Millwall, just after I was appointed, was the supporters. I knew then that this wasn’t a normal situation.
We were bottom of the table and the lads didn’t look like they would be going anywhere because they looked down and shot to pieces. They needed to be led somewhere.
But the support was definitely there and we commented on it while watching the game because it blew us away. It’s just a matter of figuring out what could ignite it.
I’ve met so many of the club’s legends and those meetings, with the likes of Matty Holland, George Burley, John Wark, Russell Osman, Mick Mills and Terry Butcher, have all been brilliant. It was great to hear what they think because Ipswich Town has a wonderful past and we should never, ever, forget that.
I have met with some of the fan groups here at the training ground as well, including Blue Action and some of the drummers in the North Stand, and they have been brilliant.
They pull everyone else along with them and have so much enthusiasm for the club.
It’s not just the North Stand, of course, you can feel something growing all the way around the stadium.
If I had paid £20 or £30 for a ticket then I would want to go in there and enjoy myself, enjoy the atmosphere and get into the emotion of it all. Regardless of what’s happened on the pitch I would make sure I had a good time and that’s exactly what you’ve done.
I was fortunate enough to experience German football during my time at Dortmund and I’ve gone back there since and stood with their fans for games. The connection Ipswich have with Fortuna Dusseldorf is fantastic and it was great to see them here at the weekend. That’s a relationship we need to nurture further.
We also need to do more with the younger generation and kids in schools. We have to get them involved in it and that is really important for this club. We want them to beg their mum and dad to bring them back.
The beauty of Ipswich Town’s situation is that there is only one team in the town and I think the town needs the football club as much as the club needs the town.
As a club we have to reconnect with you, the supporters, and it feels as if everybody is going the same way.
We need you all because without the supporters we don’t have a game.
Our aim was to try and bring everyone together and hopefully we have done that.
We could not be more grateful for the support you have given us. All I’m asking now is for you to stay with us right until the end.
What will happen, will happen, but it will be a great ride that’s for sure.