‘Absolute disgrace’ – Ex-Stoke City boss comes out fighting on League One saga

Paul Lambert has slammed English football’s decision makers as League One remains in a state of limbo.

The former Stoke City boss had guided Ipswich Town to 10th in the table before the season went into hiatus two-and-a-half months ago.

And it remains alone in hiatus – with League Two’s 2019/20 curtailed and plans to try to complete the Premier League and Championship.

Clubs could not come to a consensus in a meeting last Friday and, following more talks today, a vote is expected next week about whether to follow the model from above or below.

Lambert, who was on punditry duty as the Bundesliga returned at the weekend, told the Daily Mail : “I think it’s an absolute disgrace what’s happening, with League One especially.

“It’s terrible, it’s so wrong that they haven’t told us what is going on. There are so many unanswered questions and it seems there is so much passing the buck here and there.

“Will someone just make a decision? It’s badly lacking leadership. They should be saying, ‘We can’t make everyone happy, but here is the decision that we think is best for now’.

“You might not keep everyone happy but at least we can all get our head around it and make plans, be that playing the season now or ending it and not coming back until September or whenever.

“This in-fighting, what’s happening here or there or who wants what, that’s no good for me, it’s not a nice situation.”

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Promotion hopefuls in League One have formed a collective to try to complete the season, although there are other clubs in the division who insist they simply cannot afford to take players and staff off furlough to play games behind closed doors with no gate receipts.

There is also the major obstacle of hundreds of players’ contracts running out at the end of June.

It is understood that there are now two clear options on the table: complete the remaining fixtures or stop now and let a points per game average decide the top two, bottom three and play-off places.

Lambert said: “The top 10 having a play-off idea, I don’t know who is coming up with these. They must lie in bed at night and come up with another great idea and just put it out there.

“I mean, that one about turning your face away when you tackle, come on?

“What we need here is some clear thinking and decisive decision-making, and we need it now.”

He added: “You can’t take people off furlough (which most of Town’s non-playing staff are on) if no one else in the division is going to do it and games aren’t going to be played. We can’t have a training date if we don’t have a start date.

“Football is one organisation – why are we not singing from the same hymn sheet? What’s different? It’s the same game, the same ball. It should be one organisation saying, ‘This is what we have to do’.

“Personally, I would love to finish, if it is safe to do so. We have five home games left and could finish well. But, looking at it, I don’t see how that’s going to happen now.”

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