PAUL Lambert will leave Blackburn Rovers tomorrow with ‘sadness’ after admitting he wanted to go in a different direction to the club.

Lambert made it clear after taking over the Ewood Park hotseat in November that he viewed a play-off place as the minimum of his ambitions for next season.


But last week the former Aston Villa manager activated an escape clause in his contract after failing to receive the assurances he wanted from Venky’s.

This week Rovers director Mike Cheston told the Lancashire Telegraph the club continues to ‘aspire for the Premier League’.

But he added that, with a £6m drop in revenue through the loss of parachute payments, it ‘needs to be achieved via sustainable growth’.

Lambert, who will take charge of his final game as Rovers boss at home to Reading tomorrow (12.30pm), said: “I never wanted to leave but circumstances dictated my decision. It’s sad but we need to try and end on a high.

“Since the day I’ve walked in the door it’s been a great club with great people. It’s very rare you walk into a place and you feel really comfortable.

“It’s just myself and the club have different ideas and different directions to go into. I wish the club every success going forward.

“You always learn from everything that goes on. The good thing about being at Aston Villa was that I wasn’t going to make the same mistake twice. I certainly wasn’t to go through that again and that’s why I knew I had to make things right for myself at this point and for this club.

“You always go on what people say to you and take them at face value. That’s why the clause was there. I knew the situation what could happen. Everyone was comfortable with it.

“It could be easy for me to stand here and say I will keep Blackburn in mid-table, or try to fight above relegation, but I don’t want to be that. I’ve never been that person in my life. I’ve done too many things to just want a job. I want to win things.

“I did my apprenticeship at Wycombe and Colchester and they were great clubs but I came here to get out of the league and to make a fist of it.

“It is what it is. I’m ambitious for my own good but I won’t change that because that’s what’s got me success in my own career. I’ve won massive things and I know what it takes to win things and I’m not going to lower that.

“My vision is probably a little bit different to the club’s.”

After the departure of managing director Derek Shaw in January Lambert called on Rovers to appoint a figurehead at Ewood Park.

Finance director Cheston is now running day-to-day operations from the ground after communication and commercial director Alan Myers followed Shaw out of the door.

And Lambert, speaking at his last pre-match press conference, said: “You’ve got to have a figurehead at the football club who will say something. It can’t all rest on a manager’s shoulders.

“You’ve got to have someone pulling the strings from up above and if Mike’s done that (spoke to the fans) then it’s good for the club and for the supporters to hear it from somebody high up.”

Rovers will be without Tommy Spurr (Achilles) and Hope Akpan (ankle) tomorrow.