This season has been a rollercoaster ride, much the same ride as last season, but a minority of fans sing Lambert’s praises when we play well then call for him to get sacked after a disappointing result. There will always be disappointment in a season. Look at Chelsea, gunning for the Premier League title. The team is beating contenders like Arsenal comfortably but can’t beat teams like Villa and Crystal Palace.
Paul Lambert has made numerous mistakes this season but which manager hasn’t? David Moyes, Sam Allardyce and Chris Hughton have struggled this season but have seen their clubs back them, while clubs around them have swapped managers and have since seen a decline in form. The relegation places are currently occupied by three teams that have changed their managers during the course of the season, showing that chopping and changing tends to do more harm than good.
Lambert has created a project with Faulkner and Lerner. He will have been told to cut the wage bill and at the moment he is in the process of creating a new team. Despite being given a relatively large sum of money in each the past two summers, he has opted for quantity over quality. He brought in numerous players who have already been frozen out such as Luna, Bowery, Helenius, Lowton and Tonev. They may have been gambles and didn’t demand ridiculous transfer fees but we should still see more of them in and around the first team. Players should only be dropped based on performances. At the moment, Helenius and Tonev haven’t been played enough to show their best attributes. Still, Lambert’s gamble was low risk compared to Manchester United signing Bebe, who played only a handful of games before being sent out on loan, for £7.5 million.
The football hasn’t been the best at times this season but it did bring results on a few occasions. After the Liverpool game, we did start to play some nice football but that brought us good results and also some bad ones. We are very inconsistent: one week we play well and beat Chelsea, showing passion and determination to close their players down, and literally a week later we lose 4-1 to Stoke, allowing them to use the space to create opportunities in contrast to the Chelsea game in which we didn’t allow Chelsea players any room to find the space.
Where would sacking Lambert leave us? Apart from obvious doubts regarding the availability of a suitable, realistic replacement, the Lambert project would be unfinished. Lerner has invested money in Lambert and the Scot has effectively created a new team. He managed to persuade Benteke to stay at least until the end of the current season and brought back Guzan after the goalkeeper was initially released. Which manager out there would, or even could, continue working on the project with a minimal budget?
I would like to see Lambert stay for another year. In December, we can assess the first five months of the 2014-15 season. If we have made significant progress compared to this and last season then I would like him to commit to another two seasons.