More stories

  • in

    Paul Lambert leaves Ipswich with ex-Wigan chief Paul Cook set to take over Tractor Boys

    IPSWICH boss Paul Lambert has parted company with the club by mutual consent.
    Former Portsmouth and Wigan boss Paul Cook, 54, who resigned from the Lactics in July last year, is set to take over.

    Paul Lambert and Ipswich Town have parted company by mutual consentCredit: PA:Press Association

    Ipswich Town has today parted company with manager Paul Lambert by mutual consent.The Club thanks Paul for his efforts while in charge at Portman Road, and wishes him well for the future.👇 #itfc
    — Ipswich Town FC (@IpswichTown) February 28, 2021

    Lambert, 51, was appointed in October 2018 and of his 113 games in charge he only won 37.
    He took charge with the Tractor Boys bottom of the Championship and despite having 31 games to save them, they remained bottom through to the end of the season.
    Last season they looked a good bet to return to the second tier when they were top of the table but a dip in form saw them eventually finish 11th when the programme was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic .
    The current campaign has followed a similar path, with Lambert leading his side to the top of the table early on before results again deteriorated.

    They recently staged a mini revival and Lambert departs with his team suffering just one defeat in their last seven league games.
    But his relationship with supporters deteriorated rapidly in recent months and he leaves with the club at its lowest point in 67 years.
    Lambert, who has recovered after contracting coronavirus, admitted on Saturday after the home defeat of Doncaster that he was 99 per cent certain he would not keep his job if a rumoured £30million takeover went through.
    Lambert also joked about Cook being sat in his office when he arrived at Portman Road on Saturday morning.

    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    Paul Cook is set to take charge at Portman RoadCredit: PA:Press Association

    Ipswich owner Marcus Evans thanked Lambert for his service in a statement on Sunday night.
    He said via the club’s official website: “I would like to put on record my sincere thanks to Paul and Stuart for their services to Ipswich Town over the last two and half years.
    “I have enjoyed a healthy working relationship with Paul in our time together and he has brought a lot of positive aspects to the Club.
    “I know he has his thoughts on what is needed to take Ipswich Town forward and I respect his opinions but this year has – with the pandemic and no real income for the Club –  been the biggest financial challenge we have faced in my time as owner.
    “It has, however, become clear after holding discussions over the last few days that there are significant differences of opinion as to the order of immediate priorities and we agreed it was best for us to part company. 
    “I would like to wish both Paul and Stuart the best in the future.”

    Ipswich vs Northampton ref Darren Drysdale squares up to Town ace Alan Judge in heated clash More

  • in

    Wigan’s Funso Ojo believes US Capitol ‘riot’ may be GOOD for Black Lives Matter

    FUNSO Ojo admits he was thankful when people ‘rioted’ at the US Capitol building as it could be good for his career – by bringing the fight against racism in stark focus.
    However, he can understand why Wilfried Zaha describes taking a knee before matches as ‘degrading.’

    Wigan’s Funso Ojo is a passionate supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement

    The Wigan midfielder has been the victim of monkey chants during his time in Holland and is a passionate believer in the Black Lives Matter movement.
    And when former President Donald Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol building, and the way it was dealt with, he was thankful as it showed why the cause exists in clear vision.
    Ojo, on loan from Aberdeen, said: “What happened in the Capitol was probably the best thing that could’ve happened for us of different nationalities and colours.
    “Now people understand what we were talking and complaining about as there was a massive difference in how that situation got handled.

    “The day after it happened, the physio at Aberdeen said, ‘Now that’s happened, I understand the Black Lives Matter movement. I see what you mean.’

    Ojo believes the Capitol riot may prove a good thing for the Black Lives Matter movementCredit: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
    “He was like, ‘It can’t be that bad,’ but that was a pure riot and nothing happened. That’s when he said, ‘Now I understand.’
    “I’ll still take a knee as racism is still there – if anything it’s not getting better.
    “Tendayi Darikwa here says he won’t do it any more, he’s on the same page as Zaha but it’s a personal matter, I can see where Wilfried is coming from.

    “But I look at where it started with Colin Kaepernick in the NFL and what it stood for at the start. I understand what Wilfried’s saying but it’s a symbol and a message.

    Ojo admits he thinks about Colin Kaepernick taking the knee when people say Black Lives Matter is losing its relevanceCredit: AP:Associated Press
    “Those type of players in the public eye still get a lot of messages, maybe more now as it’s in the public eye. So maybe they think, ‘It’s not doing anything.’”
    Belgian Ojo, 29, swapped life in Aberdeen for crisis club Wigan but the way things operate, he would not know the club is in administration.
    And he is adamant they can still stay in League One, even though they face leaders Peterborough today.
    But while he believes the competition in England’s third tier is stronger and deeper than the Scottish Premiership, the air is worse in Greater Manchester.

    Ojo admits he felt like he was on Peaky Blinders when he mistook a strong Scouse accent at Wigan for a Birmingham oneCredit: BBC
    Some of the accents around the place also take some getting used to.
    Ojo, who himself has a slight Scottish twang, added: “There are too many Scousers here, all I hear is, ‘All right, all right, all right.’
    “I thought our assistant coach had a Birmingham accent at first but apparently it’s a string scouse accent.
    “When he spoke, I felt like I was in Peaky Blinders!” More

  • in

    Salford boss Richie Wellens desperate to get his players in the PUB – but coronavirus restrictions have thwarted him

    RICHIE WELLENS knows one of the best ways to get into a player’s head is to get a drink into him.
    And if he could do that with his whole team, he might be able to break the mental block that he fears could cost him and Salford City promotion.

    How Richie Wellens’ pub sign might look

    Richie Wellens’ Salford are having an inconsistent season in League TwoCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    But the normal getting–to–know-you exercise he and most managers use to build team spirit and understanding is still impossible because of Covid restrictions.
    Wellens, who quit Swindon for the Ammies on November 4, would by now have had a few nights  out with his squad and staff.
    He declared: “Getting the lads out for a bite and a bit of a bevvy is a great way to find out what makes each individual tick.
    “Nobody is talking about throwing loads of alcohol down necks.

    “But it’s amazing how people start relaxing and letting themselves go a little when they’ve had a couple.
    “Having a good time is great for team bonding.
    “Not only do you get to know your players better, but they get a better picture of who you are.
    “But with the lockdown that hasn’t happened.

    Salford are owned by Man Utd’s ‘Class of ’92’Credit: Getty Images – Getty
    “By now I should have a far better understanding of what makes each player tick than I do.
    “It’s crucial that a new manager finds out who he is dealing with in the dressing room and what the best approach is to get the best out of each individual.
    “And, of course, after 23 games I have a good idea.
    “But in a way, some of them are still like strangers to me because of the Covid restrictions.
    “They show up for training on their own — socially distanced from each other — then go home to shower and change.
    “The players travel to away games on the team bus but me and my coaches have to go separately.
    “Things are complicated enough for all of the managers in these times — but more difficult still when you are taking over a new set of players.”
    Wellens worries about that lack of communication more because he can’t work out why his side keep throwing away points at the end of games.
    He said: “Since I got here we have lost 12 points from winning positions in the 90th minute.
    “That has to be about some psychological block — maybe it’s to do with the fact that this club has come so far, so fast.

    “We are the best footballing team in the division but that means  nothing if you don’t make it pay.”
    Wellens was brought in by Gary Neville and the rest of the members of Manchester United’s Class of ’92 to replace Graham Alexander.
    The 40-year-old, who last season took Swindon out of League Two, is charged with continuing the climb that has seen four promotions since Neville and Co took over seven years ago.
    He said: “My job was made clear from the start and it’s a challenge I gladly accepted.
    “Promotion is the target this  season without question.
    “But every time we look like  getting on a run we stumble — when we win two in a row, we can’t make it three.

    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    “I’d love the chance to just sit around, have a meal, let the lads relax and really dig into what the problem is.
    “Pubs and restaurants will be fully open on May 17 but our season ends on May 8.
    “That’s too late for me to do what I’d normally do with a new bunch of players.
    “So I’m going to have to think up another way to find out what’s going on in their heads — socially  distanced, of course.” More

  • in

    McCarthy ‘wants to p*** off’ ex-Cardiff boss Warnock after revealing he cleaned Middlesbrough chief’s boots 44 YEARS ago

    MICK McCARTHY has counted Neil Warnock as a close friend for 44 years.
    Today they will go head-to-head yet again both hoping to p*** each other off.

    Neil Warnock (then Cardiff manager) and Mick McCarthy (then Ipswich boss) shake handsCredit: Rex Features

    Cardiff boss McCarthy and Middlesbrough gaffer Warnock were team-mates at Barnsley.
    McCarthy even used to clean Warnock’s boots as he came through the ranks at Oakwell.
    The pair first met in 1977 and have gone on to have top careers in management. Both are in with a chance of promotion to the Premier League this season.
    Warnock will always be a Cardiff hero for taking the Bluebirds to the top-flight in 2018.

    Now his Boro team are rivalling the Welsh side for a Championship play-off spot.
    McCarthy said: “I have been in football a long time, but I still have that desire to get the best out of people. I’m 62. Neil is 72, so maybe I have got him in my sights!
    “I’ve gone up against him many times and he’s a good friend of mine. For 90 minutes on Saturday he won’t be. It will be the same for him. He’s always been bright and innovative.
    “His teams are likewise. If we come off the pitch on Saturday and I say to him ‘That was a nice game Neil, you were really nice to play against’ I think he’d be as p***** off as I would be.

    NEW CUSTOMER OFFER: GET £20 IN FREE BETS WITH BETFAIR

    McCarthy (top left) and Warnock (front row, second left) in their Barnsley daysCredit: Rex Features
    “That’s not going to be the case. We’ll be expecting a tough game because they’ll be wanting a reaction after their result against Bristol City.
    “If I can be half as successful as Neil here, I will be delighted.”
    Veteran Warnock worked wonders at Cardiff to take them to the Premier League.
    But he was sacked in November 2019 before bouncing back at Boro.
    McCarthy was parachuted in by Cardiff in January to replace Neil Harris after the Bluebirds lost six straight games to leave them facing a relegation battle.
    But the former Republic of Ireland manager’s impact in the Welsh capital has been astonishing.

    In-form Kieffer Moore has been a crucial part of Cardiff’s great recent runCredit: Getty Images – Getty
    McCarthy has won six in a row and taken 20 points from his first eight games in charge.
    Cardiff have risen to sixth against all the odds and McCarthy said: “Now we’re there to be shot at, but I’d prefer to be here than be in the bottom six and hunted by those teams.
    “We don’t want to drop out of it. Let’s see what happens. We’re looking forward to Boro because we’re winning. Let’s hope it continues, but when we have a bit of adversity that’s when we’ll see what the team is made of. If they keep playing like this there is no reason why we should get beat.”
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds
    McCarthy has made a giant, physical Cardiff team a nightmare opposition since taking charge.
     “It’s a tough time at the moment with the games coming thick and fast, but we’re managing as best we can and we were never under any pressure to get in the top six.
    “That might have been said when I came in, but to target the top six? Come on, do me a favour. Did I think we were going to get 20 points from eight games? No.

    “Did anybody at the hierarchy of the club? No. Everybody hoped for it. I’m not that stupid to say I expected it, because I didn’t. There was no pressure, but now I’m not getting carried away.”
    Warnock added: “It’ll be purgatory playing them, but I’m looking forward to it to see if we can stand up to the challenge. Not many teams can beat Cardiff at the moment with the way they’re playing.
    “It doesn’t bother Mick, he doesn’t want to please anybody. He wants his team to be horrible and why not? They’ve got some good players and they defend for their lives. It’s a great recipe so he’ll be loving it.”

    Britain’s greenest football club Forest Green Rovers create eco-friendly kit made from coffee beans More

  • in

    Joey Barton and Ched Evans clashed at Fleetwood over striker’s comedy skit – now Bristol Rovers boss looks to future

    NIGEL PEARSON has never been a man to suffer fools.
    So when he pays someone like Joey Barton warm compliments, as he did this week, they should be taken very seriously.

    Joey Barton took charge of Bristol Rovers this week just a month after leaving FleetwoodCredit: Rex Features

    The new Pirates boss had a dressing room bust–up with Ched EvansCredit: Rex Features

    The pair arrived in Bristol on the same day, Pearson taking over his eighth club at City, Barton moving into his second job as a manager with Rovers.
    Once the ink was dry on their contracts Pearson found he had been messaged by Barton,  who he worked with at Newcastle.
    He said: “Me and Joey exchanged a few messages. I have a lot of time and respect for him. He’s a very intelligent man. I think he’s got a bright future.
    “People have preconceived ideas but the reality can be different.”

    Those pre-conceived ideas that the 57-year-old talks about are created by the baggage Barton carries around with him.
    In keeping with a life of controversy he headed out of Fleetwood under a cloud.
    Cod Army chairman Andy Pilley who, on appointing him two-and-a-half years earlier described him as a potential great in management, dumped him.
    The decision came after a dressing room bust–up with Ched Evans and clashes with other senior players.

    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    The pair are understood to have come to blows over a comedy skit created by the striker that Barton did not find funny and he was dispatched to Preston.
    After he left, Barton revealed he   had fallen out with the man who gave him his first chance as a boss, the day after a ban for betting on matches ended.
    Their relationship, like that between him and some of the players, had soured while some members of staff also left during Barton’s reign.
    The 38-year-old is currently awaiting trial over an alleged clash with former Barnsley boss Daniel Stendel following a match at Oakwell in April 2019.
    Barton previously pleaded not guilty to assault occasioning actual bodily harm and proceedings are due to begin in June.
    Yet for all of the controversy, Barton’s first job suggested many of those who believe him to be one of the brightest young bosses in the game could just be right.
    Having taken control of Rovers, he now has to prove the hype has not all been just hot air.

    Nigel Pearson was appointed Bristol City boss this weekCredit: Rex Features

    Evans and Barton both left Fleetwood within days of each otherCredit: Rex Features
    As a music lover — he has even appeared in a Morrissey video — he will know all about one–hit wonders.
    And if he does not get it right and fast at the Memorial Stadium, a career in management might never make the top of the charts.
    For while club president Wael al-Qadi joined in the welcoming praise, he has already sacked two managers this season in Ben Garner and Paul Tisdale.
    Barton lost his first game, 2–1  at home to Wigan, 24 hours after his appointment.
    He hosts Shrewsbury today with the club only above the League One relegation zone on goal difference.
    His team have lost eight of their last 11 games, winning only once.
    Barton, on a contract until 2023, is determined to prove he is the real deal and certainly talks a good game.
    He did, after all, take Fleetwood into last season’s play-offs.

    Luke McCormick, SkyBet’s Goal of the Month winner, is delighted to have Barton as bossCredit: Instagram / @official_brfc
    He said: “Somebody, at some point, is going to get Rovers right. Mobilise that passionate fan base and get the supporters travelling across the country, pushing their team onto bigger and better things.
    “I think I’m the man for it. I’m absolutely convinced it’s going to be this group of players we’ve got here and this group of coaches.”
    One of those players, Luke McCormick, is delighted to have Barton as his new boss.
    The 22-year-old won SkyBet’s Goal of the Month trophy for his superb January strike against Crewe.
    The box–to-box midfielder, on loan from Chelsea, insisted: “I’m sure to benefit from having someone of Joey’s experience as my manager.
    “He was a Premier League midfielder, that’s where I am aiming for and he can help me get there.”
    Barton might get there himself one day in his new career and prove that life is a gas as a    manager. Instead of it all blowing up in his face.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Joey Barton says QPR were the least favourite of his ex-clubs More

  • in

    Joey Barton confirmed as Bristol Rovers manager as he makes swift return to dugout a month after ugly Fleetwood sacking

    JOEY BARTON is the new Bristol Rovers manager.
    The former midfielder, 38, replaces Paul Tisdale at the Memorial Stadium on a contract until 2023.

    Joey Barton is back in management after taking the Bristol Rovers jobCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    Barton spent two-and-a-half years as Fleetwood boss between June 2018 and his ugly departure last month.
    He won 51 of his 128 games in charge with the Cod Army.
    Now the one-cap England international is tasked with keeping Rovers in League One.
    The Gas are currently 18th in the table, one of three teams on 27 points and just two clear of the relegation zone.

    Barton has been joined by assistant manager Clint Hill and first-team coach Andy Mangan.
    They will take charge of their first game when Wigan travel to the Mem tomorrow night.
    Speaking about Barton’s appointment, Bristol Rovers president Wael Al Qadi said, “We are delighted to welcome Joey to Bristol Rovers and look forward to working closely with him to progress our football club forward.
    “Joey’s experience in the game is matched by his passion for coaching and delivering results, which made him a standout candidate for the role.

    FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE

    “He’s got a good knowledge of the league already thanks to his spell at Fleetwood and has shown his credentials at delivering results and getting the best out of the players he works with.
    “We are confident that he will be able to continue the ongoing development of the younger players coming through the ranks at the club and speaking to him, I know his ambitions align with what we want to achieve as a football club.
    “I want to wish Joey, the staff and the players the very best of luck for the coming games, as we look to cement our safety in Sky Bet League One and build for the future.”
    Barton was axed by Fleetwood on January 4 following a fall-out with striker Ched Evans.
    SunSport revealed Barton let the forward join Preston after alleged disciplinary breaches despite chairman Andy Pilley remaining a fan.

    The former Newcastle man also revealed the ‘disconnect’ with the League One side’s owner that led to him leaving Highbury.
    Speaking on Robbie Fowler’s podcast, Barton felt Pilley wanted to dictate transfers and admitted the pair didn’t speak for ten days before his sacking.
    In the same interview, he lifted the lid on the training ground fight with Ousmane Dabo at Manchester City – and offered the Frenchman a shot at ‘revenge’ in a charity match.
    Barton, who has served time in prison and also landed himself in hot water for stubbing a cigar out in a youth team player’s eye, was hit with a six-match ban by the Football Association in 2008 for assaulting his then Etihad team-mate on May 1, 2007.
    He was also given a four-month suspended sentence after admitting assault occasioning actual bodily harm after Dabo was left with cuts and bruises as well as a detached retina.

    Joey Barton reveals he left Fleetwood after bust-up with chairman More

  • in

    Watch Mark Wright score stunning goal on Soccer AM as star shows off his skills following Crawley debut humiliation

    MARK WRIGHT stole the show on his return to Soccer AM as the former reality star showed off his stunning skills.
    The TOWIE star joined League Two side Crawley in December and made his full debut last weekend against Harrogate.

    Former TOWIE star Mark Wright wowed fans with his skills on Soccer AM

    The Crawley defender hit a top corner piledriver in the practice arena

    But the 34-year-old endured a disastrous opening 45 minutes and was hooked off at half-time with his side 3-0 behind.
    To add insult to literal injury, Wright missed Crawley’s 1-0 defeat to Stevenage on Tuesday with a hip problem.
    However the defender gave fans a reminder of what he can do with his performance on Soccer AM.
    Wright shared a series of clips from his time on the show on Instagram that included one rocket that found its way into the top corner.

    Another saw the left-back expertly chip the keeper in a one-on-one and fans on social media appreciated the skill.
    One tweeted: “Fantastic shoot out with the legend.”
    Another said: “Fair play but what was that keeper doing ?”
    A third added: “He’s taking liberties.”

    ONLINE CASINO OFFERS: CLAIM OVER £800 IN BONUS CASH

    Wright, who played for Tottenham in his youth, had been semi-pro at Crawley in 2006-07 before shooting to fame on The Only Way Is Essex.
    He left the game after becoming a household name as the Reds went on to achieve promotion to the EFL.
    But his desire to play football never diminished and he has starred at Soccer Aid, with John Terry encouraging him to go professional.

    Mark Wright comes on for Crawley vs Leeds FA Cup tie after reality TV star reveals he cried over Spurs axe as kid More

  • in

    Nile Ranger returns to Southend on month-to-month contract after impressing boss with ‘attitude’ in training

    SOUTHEND have re-signed Nile Ranger after a trial period with the League Two club.
    The striker, 29, spent time in non-League football after being dumped by the Shrimpers over discipline issues in 2018.

    Nile Ranger is back in the Football League with a second spell at SouthendCredit: Getty Images – Getty

    On Thursday, Southend confirmed the deal to sign Ranger as a free agent on a month-to-month contract.
    The terms are ‘incentivised’ as he looks to help out the side in their fight against relegation.
    Southend boss Mark Molesley praised the former Newcastle player’s attitude since he joined up for training.
    Molesley said: “Nile has been in training for two months, getting fit before integrating into the first team training and he’s shown the right attitude ever since he walked through the door. He’s worked hard to get his fitness up.

    “He came in originally on his own away from the group to work on his fitness and we have slowly integrated him into the first team sessions.
    “Nile has still got to earn the right to play for this club and he knows that himself. Everyone has to earn the right.

    Welcome back, @NilePowerRanger 👊We’re pleased to announce the signing of 𝗡𝗶𝗹𝗲 𝗥𝗮𝗻𝗴𝗲𝗿! 🔵
    — Southend United (@SUFCRootsHall) February 18, 2021

    “He has got to repay the faith I have shown him on the pitch, and I am excited to see a fully fit Nile play for this football club.
    “His desire to play football again is clear and he is very passionate about Southend United, as long as he continues to work as hard as he has been over this period then he will play a part for the remainder of the season.”

    Ranger still has time to revive a career that has been dogged by off-field issues.
    After a stint in a young offenders’ institute at the age of 15, he progressed through the Newcastle setup and made over 50 appearances for the Toon.
    ONLINE CASINO OFFERS: CLAIM OVER £800 IN BONUS CASH

    Problems have also arisen over homophobic comments on social media and a picture of him posing with a replica gun, before he was fined £1,000 for criminal damage after a taxi incident in 2014.
    Ranger was also charged for criminal damage following an incident during his time with Swindon, and he served ten weeks of an eight-month sentence for conspiracy to defraud in 2017.
    On his last spell with Southend, the forward hit 10 goals in 49 appearances.
    And he was most recently seen with non-league Spalding United, working under former Peterborough defender Gabriel Zakuani.
    ⚽ Read our Football live blog for the very latest news from around the grounds

    Nile Ranger scores penalty for Southend United then takes boot off before pretending to use it as a gun More