RICKIE LAMBERT was at Melwood on Friday to sign for his boyhood club, the club he left as a teenager, in a deal reportedly costing Liverpool £4m plus add-ons. He was delighted to say the least.
The deal wasn’t officially announced until this morning, after some minor administrative hold-ups, by which time Lambert was out of the country with the England squad. Luckily the club organised some interviews and photoshoots with him on Friday, when he was still here and it was still sunny in Liverpool.
Lambert said it was all still sinking in, that he was going to play for the team he supported as a kid. “It’s mad – I can’t believe it!” he added.
Lambert also sent a message to his former club Southampton, full of thanks for the time he’d had on the south coast:
Open letter from Rickie Lambert to Southampton:
What can I say…?
Southampton has been my life for the past five years, in which we have achieved all of our dreams and more.
First I have to thank Markus Liebherr for saving Southampton then Alan Pardew for bringing me to the club.
Thank you to all the staff involved in making me the player I am today. Without your knowledge and commitment I would not be here right now at a World Cup with England.
Thank you to all the players, past and present, who I have had nothing but good times and success with driven by our club captain, Kelvin Davis. I love every last one of you.
Thank you to the managers I have worked with – Alan, Nigel and Mauricio – and their teams for helping me and Southampton step up and adapt to every challenge that has come our way the past five years.
When I grew up there was only one club I loved. I can honestly say now I have two clubs which will always be in my heart and that is thanks to the Saints fans.
The people who support this club have been nothing short of amazing towards me and, when I look back in years to come, it will be the relationship I had with the fans here which will stand out the most.
Southampton have allowed me to realise a lifelong ambition by joining Liverpool FC and taking my family home. The five-year plan when I arrived was to get this club from League 1 to the top half of the Premier League. Against all the odds we have achieved that.
Now, under Katharina Liebherr’s leadership, the club has the chance for a new plan, a new chapter, and I wish them all the success in the world.
Asked what his favourite moment was as a Liverpool fan, Lambert remembered a certain night nine years ago: “It’s easily Istanbul,” he said. “I wasn’t able to go, but I went to all of the home games. The Chelsea game still stands out for me. I was on holiday with my mates and we watched it [Istanbul] – it was one of the best nights of my life, without a doubt. I think every Liverpool fan would say the same.”
Lambert joins new LFC team-mates Steven Gerrard, Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling, Jordan Henderson and Glen Johnson in the England squad for the World Cup finals in Brazil, with Jon Flanagan in the standby squad. Former Southampton team-mate Adam Lallana, also in the England squad, is still being priced out of a move to Liverpool by his club. According to reports the Reds have made a final bid of £25m for the attacking player, with Southampton holding out for £30m.
For full interview, visit LFCTV: www.liverpoolfc.com/video.
Images / video: Liverpool FC