Verdict on Paul Lambert's first press conference as Ipswich Town boss
PUBLISHED: 14:14 30 October 2018
Reassured - that was my overwhelming emotion following Paul Lambert's first press conference as Ipswich Town manager.
It was like an emergency services worker who calms everyone down with kind words and a smile, while also exuding a sense of authority, experience and control. Within minutes all in the room have willingly put their trust in him.
This was a man who, quite clearly, knew what he wanted to say and would not deviate from it.
Thoughts that the Glaswegian, often wrongly portrayed to be all shade and no light, would come in thumping the desk and breathing fire from day one instantly dissipated. He’s been here before. He knows that’s not what this situation requires.
The buzz words were ‘fun’ and ‘unity’. He wants both the players and fans to derive more enjoyment from the game going forwards. That’s music to everybody’s ears.
It’s striking, given the position Town find themselves in, that he managed to avoid uttering the ‘R’ word (relegation) once.
“I can’t promise anything”, was consciously vague, as was leaving the phrase “f you get on a little run, who knows where that can take you” hanging in the air.
The word ‘win’ was used a lot. How about that for some Derren Brown mind manipulation? Very clever.
Repeated assurances he’d “give everything” injected some humbleness, though references to “all his experience” and “I don’t feel pressure” were self-assured. Treading the fine line between confidence and arrogance is tricky, but this was textbook.
It was classy too. Before a question had been asked, he offered his condolences to those affected by the Leicester helicopter tragedy as well as thoughts to Glenn Hoddle following the latter’s heart attack.
Then, very swiftly, he dealt with the elephant in the room – his Norwich City past.
He acknowledged the good times he had with the Canaries, but repeatedly said that was seven years ago and that he was now proud to be in charge of Ipswich Town. Again, classily done.
And when the heavy hints to drop the subject were not taken, we saw a glimpse of the steel. “You’re winding me up aren’t you?”
Despite the increased press pack, it was all over in little more than 20 minutes – shorter than many standard pre-match press conferences – and Lambert was out the door to take his first training session at a wet and windy Playford Road.
Calm, controlled and measured; it was the equivalent of handing over a blanket and cup of tea with an extra sugar for the shock before quickly moving on to the real job in hand. Emergency, what emergency?
Sometimes the trick is not to say too much.
Lambert knows it will be actions, not words, that ultimately define his time at Town.