‘Shocked’ Lambe on redemption mission
We knew something was up when Reggie Lambe committed to Bermuda for an international friendly against Jamaica in Montego Bay in March when there was no international window and no obligation for his club, Cambridge United, to release him.
Confirmation came weeks later when the midfield player was among those let go after two seasons with the mid-table Sky Bet League Two club.
“It was a bit of a shock, but to be fair I haven't played in my proper position consistently at all this season due to many of our players picking up injuries,” said Lambe of the news. “I was required to play more defensive, which is an aspect of my game that I wouldn't say is my best attribute.”
The former Bermuda captain added that he had been given an early insight into the thinking of manager Mark Bonner weeks before the official announcement was made, which informed his plans to go on international duty on March 11.
“It was a conversation I had with the manager and, as I wasn't involved in his plans, I made the decision to travel with the squad to Jamaica to at least get some playing time,” Lambe explained.
By the time he returned, Covid-19 had put a stop to the season, and he had played his last match for Cambridge. That match was a 2-1 home defeat by former club Carlisle United in which Lambe scored a consolation goal, his second of the season in 27 league appearances.
“I believe that the season could've gone better, especially by the way we started it,” said Lambe of Cambridge, who won two of their first four in an unbeaten opening before the wheels came off.
“But, of course, a lot of injuries and changes to the team due to these injuries caused our momentum to shift and we were not able to pick up the points that we had expected to pick up. It was a bit upsetting but these things happen in football and you can never really plan for those scenarios.”
Lambe, who is approaching his tenth year in the English leagues, has been released before but there is no template for a 29-year-old from the lower leagues trying to latch on to a new club in the middle of a global pandemic.
“I am staying positive,” he said. “It will be a tough task this summer to find a club due to many good players being available after being released from their clubs. With that being said, I believe in my ability and work ethic, so I'm pretty confident I could find a club that I'd be suited to and get an opportunity to showcase my talent.”
Covid-19 has changed so much of the world and Lambe, who has already admitted to deficiencies tracking back and defending on the football field, is protective of his young family amid a scourge that has claimed almost 37,000 lives in Britain — comfortably the most in Europe and second worldwide only to the United States.
“The situation that we all find ourselves in because of this pandemic is unfortunate and it has affected lots of people, even those not involved in sport, so first I'd like to applaud the doctors and nurses and all other people working tirelessly to get things back to livable conditions for everyone,” Lambe said.
“For myself, it has been tough to go from training and doing something I really enjoy to being at home every day. It's bittersweet because I would love to be out on the field kicking the ball around, but at the same time it has allowed me more time to be with my family, which is something that can be hard to do given my profession.”
Whatever happens, whether he is picked up or not, Lambe plans to pull on the Bermuda shirt for as long as he is wanted.
He was consistently among Bermuda's top performers during the heady heights of last summer when coach Kyle Lightbourne's outfit covered themselves in glory during the Concacaf Gold Cup, and no less influential in the Nations League, culminating in the gut-wrenching late defeat by Mexico that confirmed relegation to League B.
“I'm going to play for the squad until I am unable to physically keep up with the game,” he said.
“I enjoy putting on the Bermuda shirt and it's always with pride and honour that I step out on to the field among my fellow countrymen and play the game that we all love.”