Rickie Lambert was born in Fazakerley Liverpool on 16th February 1982. The tall striker began his career at Blackpool. Lambert made his debut for the Seasiders on 7th August 1999 as a substitute against Wrexham. He would only featured in a further 2 matches at the Bloomfield Road outfit that season however, and was eventually released by the club in November 2000.
After spending a couple of months without a club, Lambert finally returned to football in March 2001 with Macclesfield. He struggled to make an impact during the remainder of 2000/01 season, failing to get on the score sheet in 9 appearances. Things improved for Lambert the following season at the Division 3 club however, as he netted 10 times from 40 matches. He bagged his first 2 goals in an FA Cup match against Forest Green. He went one better on November 24th where he blasted 3 past Luton
Lambert's impressive Macclesfield form saw him move to Division 2 outfit Stockport County in a £300,000 deal in the 2002/03 close season. Lambert had a disappointing first campaign at Edgely Park however, scoring just twice. He did manage a goal against former club Blackpool however. Things got better for him during 2003/04 when he netted 13 goals. Lambert was particularly impressive during a run of 8 games between March and April where he scored 7 times.
Lambert didn't fare quite so well for Stockport during 2004/05 and found himself back in the fourth tier by February 2005, when he signed for Rochdale. He had the best spell of his career up to that point with Dale, scoring 6 goals during the remainder of the season. The following campaign saw Lambert finish with his best goal tally to date, 22 from 50 matches. Lambert would later say his run at Spotland saved his career.
Lambert began the 2006/07 season still a Rochdale player until his transfer to Bristol Rovers on the August 31st deadline. After initially starting slowly at The Memorial Ground, Lambert played a key role in Rovers League 2 play-off promotion that season. He scored in the incredible 5-3 win at Lincoln in the play-off semi final second leg, which put Rovers into the final at Wembley against Shrewsbury. Rovers won that game 3-1, which meant they and Lambert were now back in League 1.
Lambert proved he was more than capable of scoring goals in League 1, after finishing the 2007/08 season with 19. By now he was proving to be a bit of an expert when it came to set pieces, both with penalties and free kicks. One of those free kicks came in the FA Cup 5th round against Southampton in a 1-0 win which sent Rovers to the Quarter Finals. The next season got even better with Lambert netting an incredible 29 times. The highlight of the 2008/09 season came in a match against Southend where he scored all of Rovers goals in a 4-2 win.
During the summer of 2009 speculation began to mount that Lambert was set for a move away from The Pirates. Middlesbrough were rumoured to be interested, but it was Southampton who completed the deal to sign the forward on August 10th. Two days earlier Lambert had played his final match for Rovers, scoring against Leyton Orient. He managed a goal on his Saints debut too, in the Carling Cup against Northampton. He also netted in his first league game at Huddersfield.
Lambert instantly became a fans favourite at St Mary's and a key part of Alan Pardew's side. Often the team was set up in order to bring the best out of the giant front man, and it worked. Lambert scored an incredible 37 goals in all competitions for Southampton in 2009/10. He hit two penalties past Yeovil in Southampton's first victory of the season in September. He proved he could hang with the big boys when he put in a superb performance in the FA Cup defeat to Premiership strugglers and deadly rivals Portsmouth, a match in which he grabbed yet another goal. By this time manager Alan Pardew noted Lambert's improvement from when he had first joined the club. Pardew described him as overweight when he signed, but the Liverpudlian's work rate improved considerably as did his overall game. Lambert scored his first hatrick for The Saints on 20th March at MK Dons. His third goal that day was considered one of the best of the League 1 campaign. Lambert also scored a penalty in the Football League Trophy final victory against Carlisle. He closed the season with two more successful strikes against Southend on the final day. Lambert was deservedly voted player of the season.
Before the start of the 2010/11 season Lambert suffered an injury which kept him out of the opening day defeat to Plymouth. On his return he managed goals against Leyton Orient and Bristol Rovers, but he looked off the pace, possibly suffering the effects of an unfinished pre season. Lambert would then enter the worst run of form at the club to date and didn't score in the next seven games, something that would have been unthinkable in the previous campaign. He did hit four goals in the following five matches, although three of those were penalties. He still wasn't the same player he was previously, and went another seven games without a goal. It wasn't until his superb strike against Huddersfield on December 28th that Saints fans saw the Lambert that they knew and loved from the previous campaign. Indeed Lambert was back to his best in the second half of the season, regularly banging them in. He scored two key goals at Exeter in February as Saints came from a goal down to snatch a late win. Lambert scored a number of vital goals in the final weeks of 2010/11, including his first free kick of the season in a 3-1 win over Bournemouth on 12th March. He also contributed with strikes against Leyton Orient and Hartlepool, and a brace at Plymouth in May, which helped to secure promotion to the Championship.
On 1st July 2011 Southampton announced Rickie Lambert had signed a new three year contract, keeping him at the club until 2014. Some had doubts over Lambert's Championship capabilities before the campaign began. Southampton's goal machine had yet to play above the bottom two divisions, and had it all to prove. Those doubters were silenced very early on. Lambert opened his account for 2011/12 with a free-kick against Torquay on 9th August in the Carling Cup. His first league goals came a week later in a 5-2 win at Ipswich. Lambert had a rare off-day at Leicester on 27th August, scoring an own goal in a 3-2 loss. He battled back to score three days later in the League Cup at Swindon. The goals continued to flow the following month. An impressive hatrick on 10th September saw off Nottingham Forest. Lambert also scored in a 4-1 win over Birmingham on 18th September.
Lambert has never lacked confidence in front of goal. Other aspects of his game were missing on his August 2009 arrival. Not during 2011/12 however. As well as being a great finisher, strong in the air, and great at holding up the ball, Lambert also possessed a great football brain and linked up play expertly. He was just as comfortable playing as an out and out target man as he was in a deeper role, where he needs to be more creative. You'd think someone who scores so many goals must be a quite a selfish player? Not so. Lambert was just as much a team player as everyone else. He provided 14 assists in Championship competition during 2011/12, more than any other Saints player. Only Robert Snodgrass and Chris Burke set up more goals in the division.