|Luke Chambers Will Be a Town Legend|
Written by Pickersblue22 on Friday, 5th Feb 2016 09:27
As one of the greatest leaders in Premier League history announces he is leaving English football a the end of the season, I think it appropriate to pay tribute to our very own Captain Fantastic.
Luke Chambers arrived at Town in July 2012, and I think we can safely say his signing is the best thing Paul Jewell did for our club. He had already been a consistent performer for Northampton and Nottingham Forest and had won promotions at both clubs.
Of course, that first season for him at Town won't be remembered too fondly, as it started horrifically and Mick McCarthy was then rebuilding and playing catch-up for the rest of the term. But there were signs immediately that Chambers' leadership qualities were being recognised. He captained the side in Carlos Edwards' absence against Huddersfield in only his fifth game for Town.
Mick's first game in charge was hugely significant for a number of reasons. Obviously it ended the terrible run we had been on, but it saw the birth of that wonderful, iconic ritual that we now see from Luke every time we win - the Chambo fist-pump. He was so overjoyed and relieved that we had finally won a game that he poured out all his emotion and showed just how much the club truly meant to him.
That moment endeared him to all our fans, and that warmth has grown and grown ever since. His care for the club was shown further when he swore on live TV at the Valley, clearly overcome with emotion at winning such a dramatic and important game.
Chambers epitomises everything Mick wants from his players. He works extremely hard, gives his all in every single game, and just gets on with the job. He has made it abundantly clear that he would rather play in the centre, but that doesn't stop him giving his all at right-back. The team is far more important that individuals, and nowhere is that clearer than with Luke.
I confess to having always been strongly against having him at right-back, as I feel it wastes a part of the pitch we can be effective in, but this season my mind has changed. Luke has grown into the role and has improved significantly from when he first played there. He is very occasionally torn to shreds by pacy left wingers, but more often than not he keeps them in his pocket. He has started to get forward more, and has provided assists as well as arriving late in the box to wreak havoc with his aerial prowess.
I want to paint a picture of what Luke is like on a match day. As he comes out for the warm-up, there is plenty of vigorous clapping to the enthusiastic fans who are in the ground bright and early, and the same when he leaves the pitch at the end. His face in the tunnel is always a picture of focus, determination and hunger.
As he comes out onto the pitch, there is a small clap to his loved ones, and then he strides across the turf with his hand on the hero-worshipping mascot's shoulder. Following the handshakes, he whips up the SBRL with his enthusiastic applause. There is always such an infectious energy about Luke; perhaps sometimes he seems over-psyched, but he just cant help it, as he cares so much about the team doing well.
Assuming we win, there is a bear hug for each and every one of the players and staff as Luke bides his time while the other players give the fans a clap, before he zooms towards the Sir Bobby Robson Stand. The fans oooohhh in anticipation often for minutes. Luke comes forward and explodes into his trademark fist-pump, and with every pump comes a huge cheer from the supporters.
It is hard to exaggerate the importance of this fist-pump. Not only is Luke showing just how much the result means to him, he is establishing an emotional connection with the fans, something that has been sorely lacking at the club for the past several years.
There is a further fist-pump at the other end of the ground, before the manager gets the biggest embrace of everyone, and the two of them disappear down the tunnel together with the job done.
He just sets a magnificent example to our young fans especially about how the game should be played - with your heart on your sleeve, and giving everything for the team and not for yourself. As a leader he is inspirational for the other players, leaving absolutely everything out on the pitch, and never asking anyone to do something he wouldn't do.
It might seem strange to some people that I am lavishing so much praise on just one player, but it is such a great feeling to see someone honestly proud to have the Ipswich Town badge on their chest.
So there you have it, my tribute to our outstanding leader, Luke Chambers. A player who gives everything wherever he plays, and without whom our team would be so much poorer. He is our Captain, Leader, soon-to-be Legend.
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