WHAT a month it’s been for Rickie Lambert – an ex-Silkman like me!
We have both played for Macclesfield Town, and though our paths didn’t cross, I know a player who has come across him, and speaks very highly of him.
He scored for England two minutes after coming off the bench on his debut last month, and then again last Friday.
He’s always strived to be better at every club he’s played for, and that’s something everyone should look at.
He’s an inspiration to other players that they can fight their way through the leagues, and even if they don’t make the England team, still play at the highest level.
Any of the young lads here who don’t look at Lambert and think “that could happen to me”, then they’re crazy.
Tuesday night’s game (when England drew 0-0 with the Ukraine) wasn’t great, and I don’t think we’ve been entertaining for a while.
People keep going on about how we’re not as technically gifted as Spain or whoever, but that’s not the only way to play football.
I don’t think that’s our natural style, and a lot of English fans like the things we are good at.
We haven’t got the talent at the moment, but there’s still a demand for us to be playing like Spain, and yet last summer people were saying their style of play was boring.
The likes of Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Cole, and a bit further back John Terry and even David Beckham are all fantastic players and they can play how you want, but I don’t think we’ve got the best use out of them.
Back at home, it hasn’t been such a great week for us, with last Saturday’s defeat to Oxford United.
Since then, we’ve had a day off to try and lick our wounds, and a good week’s training.
We’re disappointed with the defeat, but the lads are always positive.
We were the better team in the first half, or at least until Ian Sharps’ red card.
I’m not sure what the ref has seen there, but that’s football.
There was a foul on Sharpsy to start with, and it would have been defused straight away if the ref had just blown for that.
At first we thought that he’d sent off Dave Kitson, but then we saw Sharpsy walking off.
We were all mystified with the decision and I feel for Sharpsy as I don’t think he did too much wrong – he’s disappointed, as you would be.
The ref said he used common sense, but we play by the rules of the game, not common sense, otherwise you’d just go around awarding goals when you felt like that was common sense.
Sharpsy will miss a couple of weeks now, which is a shame, but it opens the door for someone else to come in.
Phil Edwards has been champing at the bit to play, and he came in and did well on Saturday, and we’ve also got Zander Diamond, who could be fit today.
I thought we gave a good account of ourselves with 10 men.
We’re not going to get too deflated, and although it’s a shame to lose our unbeaten run, we were always going to lose a game eventually.
We don’t get too high when we win and we don’t get too down when we lose – and we hope the fans do the same.
There could be a point this season where we go on a bit of a bad run – although obviously I hope not – and I hope the fans remember this run and don’t get on our back then.
Today we host Portsmouth, who are the biggest team in our league, and were one of the biggest, along with Sheffield United, in League One last season as well.
We have to respect the opposition, but not too much, and they’re not the Premier League Portsmouth, although they’ll be expecting to be challenging at the top this season.
You look at them and then at us, and the difference is like light and dark.
I can’t imagine (chairman) Ben Robinson ever letting this club get into that state.
I don’t understand how someone can let that happen, and the buck has to stop with the chairman, or the owner.
People will always want that little bit more money, whether they’re a player or a manager or whoever, and it’s the chairman’s duty to rein that in.
I was at Mansfield when we got relegated with a very good team, and there were a couple of late payments, and that talk of not getting paid is a bit unsettling.
In theory it can happen to anyone, because there’re too many people in football who don’t know enough about football – but they don’t know enough about business either.
They take chances and plough money into a football club, which isn’t sustainable, and then it turns out the business that was providing the money isn’t sustainable either.
Ben Robinson is very good at what he does in business and that translates into good business on the football side of things.
You look at the infrastructure at Burton Albion, with the training facilities at St George’s Park and the Pirelli, which is eight years old now and still looks brand new.
The youth set-up do a great job and we’re starting to see some great players coming through, while the community trust is fantastic – I don’t think I’ve been at a club that does more.
Hopefully, we can do our job now and produce a result on the pitch and start another unbeaten run.
As told to David Broome