Football

EFL League One Playoff Decision Puts Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Position at Risk

EFL League One Playoff Decision Puts Paul Lambert’s Ipswich Position at Risk

The English Football League (EFL) has published an official statement confirming that a proposed extension to the League One playoffs is off the table when it comes to resolving the 2019/20 campaign. Ipswich Town were one of eight top-half clubs supporting the extension of the traditional four-team playoff structure to eight in a bid to increase the fairness and
integrity of the season’s end. It would have given the Tractor Boys and their boss, Paul Lambert, a major lifeline having bombed out of the top six in March.

The decision at EFL boardroom level to reject such a move leaves just two options on the table – resuming the season or curtailing the campaign early, promoting the current top two and staging the playoffs in their original format. On the face of it, most League One clubs below the top ten look set to vote to end the season immediately.

Should an official League One vote take place and the season is curtailed early, Ipswich will be condemned to a second season in the third tier. Paul Lambert, the former boss of Town’s arch-rivals Norwich City, was tasked with keeping the Suffolk side in the Championship – he failed. He was tasked with guiding Ipswich to an immediate return to the second tier – he
failed.

It’s unsurprising that the Glaswegian is on borrowed time with many Ipswich supporters, despite bringing a sense of unity on the terraces and the training ground. Many long-suffering Ipswich fans would dearly love the return of former boss, George Burley. The one-time Scotland boss was recently mentioned on talkingbaws.com by Ally McCoist and Alan Brazil regarding his Glaswegian allegiances, but there’s no doubt Burley’s heart lies firmly at Portman Road.

Many Ipswich fans were left scratching their heads in the New Year following the announcement of Lambert’s new five-year contract tying him to Portman Road until the end of the 2024/25 campaign. At this point, the Blues were already on a downward trajectory, but owner Marcus Evans continued to reward Lambert for a solid start to the season which saw Town look red-hot favourites to bounce back at the first time of asking.

Murmurings within the local media suggested that the new deal had a clause inserted enabling Evans to fire Lambert on the cheap if they missed out on the playoffs. Lo and behold, the League One vote by all 24 clubs could hammer the final nail in Lambert’s coffin.

A second year in the third tier will be damaging for Ipswich’s long-term future too. Vultures were already circling around hot prospects, Luke Woolfenden and Flynn Downes, while TWTD reports that Championship clubs are interested in Kayden Jackson following a breakdown in talks over a new deal.

Germany’s Bundesliga and Bundesliga II leagues are leading the way for a ‘new normal’ in professional football this summer. The return of one of Europe’s biggest leagues has captured the imagination of the leading UK bookmakers, with sbo.net pinpointing a spate of free bet and deposit bonuses from sites licensed by the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) of late.

However, behind-closed-doors action is something that lower league clubs in Leagues 1 and 2 simply cannot countenance, given that most of their income is generated on a matchday.

When the future of the 2019/20 League One campaign is finally decided, Lambert’s neck could be the first on the managerial chopping board.

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