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Lambert: Chambers and Skuse Have a Massive Part to Play
Thursday, 21st Feb 2019 17:22

Blues boss Paul Lambert says Luke Chambers and fellow veteran Cole Skuse will continue to have a “massive part to play” at the club, believing their careers still have a few years left to run and confirming that talks regarding the skipper’s contract have started.

“They’re paramount, those lads,” Lambert said. “I don’t think there are better role models anywhere than those two for the way they are as guys, first and foremost, but as professional footballers.

“They conduct themselves brilliantly, they train really well. They’re at the later stages of their careers and it’s not nice when you get a bit older, you have to look over your shoulder at what’s coming because you know something’s coming.

“I’ve been there and seen it, done it and the biggest decision those lads have to make whenever they do stop, if they ever stop, is what they do next with their own careers.

“There’s one thing you’ll never beat and what does erode is time, you never beat time, time always catches you at some point.

“But as lads around about the club and still playing for me, they’ve got a massive part play in that.

“They won’t always play every single game because age or injury does get you at some stage but as role models and as guys to look up to then I wouldn’t swap them for anybody.”

Chambers has previously said he wants to be a manager and Skuse has suggested he might be his long-time captain and close friend’s assistant once they end their playing days

Lambert says when they do hang up their boots he’d like them to stay at Town: “They’re two lads who have done brilliantly for the football club, whether they remain part of the club I think it’s a great idea. Whether it’s as young coaches or in ambassador roles or whatever the case may be, I think it’s important for the club to look at that.”

Chambers is out of contract at the end of the season but with the club having an option to extend his current deal for a further year and Lambert says he has talked to the former Nottingham Forest and Northampton man about his situation.

“We’ve spoken about it. I think [owner] Marcus [Evans] is going to speak to Luke as well, which is good, I think that’s important,” he added.

“Luke knows everything that’s going on. I know most of the things that are going on. Marcus knows, [general manager of football operations] Lee [O’Neill] knows, everybody knows what’s going on, so I think Marcus will speak to him. I know they’ve had discussions of what’s going on moving forward, which is good.”

He says the experience Chambers and Skuse bring is crucial: “It’s vital, absolutely. You’ve got to have that experience around the club.

“They’ve been great, I can’t think of two better lads to have around the place to help the younger ones.

“It’s impossible [for the youngsters to do it on their own], you need everybody. Whether there is youth there or not, you need that little calming head at certain times.

“Whether the lads start games or whether they’re on the bench or whether they’re round about the place, it’s paramount.

“Young players might think they know everything that goes on in the game and you tend to find there’s a little bit more to it than just playing football at times.

“They have to learn how live right and do the right things and keep their feet on the ground, and those lads have had unbelievable careers. That’s why I say there are no better role models than them to look at.

“My thing is that time at 33 [which they both will be next season], nobody knows how long the lads can go but you’ll never beat time, it always catches you, it doesn’t matter who you are.

“That’s the difficulty as you get older. When your career is coming to an end and you know it’s coming to an end or it’s a few years down the line, you think, ‘What am I going to do next? Do I go into management or do I go into youth coaching or go into an ambassador role or whatever?’. But the club has got two great guys there, I think, which is important.”

Lambert says the senior players were very important to his development as a youngster at St Mirren.

“I played with guys that were unbelievable, unbelievably hard, battled-hardened. Incredible things I saw in dressing rooms that were unbelievable for a young player to see.

“But what it did do for me was make me unbelievably hard and really strong in the head and thankfully I did play with those guys, Brian Gallacher, Jimmy Rooney, Billy Abercromby, Tony Fitzpatrick, Frank McAvennie was there, Frank was just leaving for West Ham, Jim Stewart, Campbell Murray, Neal Cooper.

“Really hardened guys, they were really good players and I also knew if I messed around I was getting a back-hander, ‘Take that!’. But I wouldn’t change it for the world.

“Their boots had to be spotless, the dressing rooms had to be spotless, unbelievable jobs we had compared to today but what an upbringing it was, it gave me great discipline, which was great, as well as great respect for the older players and I’m so glad that that was the group of players that I got brought up with, they were a big part in my career.”

At the other end of his career, he says he knew when the time to move on was getting near.

“I knew I was going to retire, I had a little problem with my ankle,” he recalled. “One or two guys who went by me and I thought they wouldn’t have done it a year previously and I knew then it was time to go.

“The big thing you’ve got is that you’ve got to make that decision, ‘OK, that’s enough’, or I can keep going.

“At 35 I thought it was enough. I had a great career, a great playing career, great times, great success, won some of the biggest things in Europe. I couldn’t ask any more from myself really.

“But I think that all stemmed from my upbringing. When your career is coming to an end you think what you’ll do next, do you go into management or coaching or television or journalism? It’s difficult for a player, really, really difficult.”

But he says Chambers and Skuse have a little while to go before they have to make those decisions.

“Easily, they could go on for another few years, 100 per cent they could,” he insisted. “The way they live, that’s why I think they’re great role models, the way they live, the way they conduct themselves, they train every day, they very rarely miss training unless it’s something like illness.

“They’re really fit guys, they could play for a few years yet but the end is a lot nearer than when they started at 17, 18 or 19, whatever age they were. As I say, you can never beat time, time always catches you.”

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TimmyH added 17:35 - Feb 21
Sounds like the first statement from Lambert that we won't be spending any money in the summer and will have to make do with some of the old guard...what interests me more will the potential of players like Bishop, Dozzell and Nydam be sold?

therein61 added 18:08 - Feb 21
In my opinion neither would be up to speed next season which ever division we are in (while I can see Chambers as a motivator behind the scenes and possibly with younger players) I cannot see value in keeping mr negative any longer there is no way these two should be on the park every week they have been fortunate that they were both rewarded with lucrative contracts by the departing new Irish manager.

cat added 18:29 - Feb 21
It’s one thing being a great proper bloke around the club but can someone explain what either of these two offer on the pitch????? They clearly don’t fit into a team playing out from the back and with pace through the middle. Carrying these 2 will ruin the system and pace of the game whilst stifling the youths development. Massive part of our downfall, get rid.

Elto added 18:46 - Feb 21

Berts_chin added 18:51 - Feb 21
I honestly believe that we look a better team without these two. I guess that Chambers is one of the higher earners at the club and so I see his being out of contract as a golden opportunity to reshape what, for me, is the Achilles heel of the team - the defence.
PS How do I get rid of these adverts on the website that obscure the article?

Terry_Nutkins added 18:52 - Feb 21
If you dont know what Skuse offers on the pitch you basically have zero clue about football. And not up to speed? Skuse would be top 10 players in that division comfortably. Chambers would be perfect captain in that division and very capable centre half there.

We have some genius fans.

afcfee added 18:56 - Feb 21
Chambers is hit and miss but you know what you'll get this season with Skuse. Just like Norwich 1st minute head it to a Norwich player in the box nice1! Please don't bring Skuse back into the team we play so so much better without. Next season will be as long as this one in league one if these 2 are starting every week.

afcfee added 19:05 - Feb 21
If you think Skuse offers something this season you haven't watched him or YOU have zero clue about football, he has been absolutely shocking he would not get into another League 1 team let alone another Championship team! I don't care what He offers off the ball (which is mainly poor positioning) you can't be giving away as many easy passes in his area for a player of his experience. In my option he's not up to the pace of the championship that's why he gives away so many, he can't actually be that bad at passing I've seen Sunday league players more able.

ITFCsince73 added 19:15 - Feb 21
They had a massive part to play last August. Bit late to start changing from the norm now.
We’ve just had arguably our best two performances of the season, with Chambo and his best mate off the pitch.
The 2 most senior players at the club have been a non starter since 1st game of the season.
We needed both to really step up last August, both failed miserably.

cat added 19:19 - Feb 21
Terry_Nutkins - whilst I confess to not playing in a holding midfield role, I was involved in playing the game for the best part of forty odd years, so I would say I know a little bit about football. In all honesty I’ve probably forgotten more than you know!!! but please go ahead and explain what you have seen ‘RECENTLY’ in Skuse which I have clearly missed.

oldelsworthyfan added 19:24 - Feb 21
They do everything round the club well, except when they get on the pitch and become only average. Sadly. we are a better team without them.

ITFCsince73 added 19:32 - Feb 21
Upto very very recent. Persisting with Chambo and Skuse, regardless of ability or form.
Has taken us to 9 points plus goal difference, cast away at the bottom.
One is club captain, both the clubs most senior players. Both very accountable. Both more so than any other players because of their club status.
You don’t need to know anything about football to see those bare facts.

ITFCsince73 added 19:57 - Feb 21
#Cat. “Recently” I’m struggling to think of anything since Skuse first walked into the club.
Which incidentally was after being relegated from the Championship with Bristol City.
Doesn’t offer any goals. Doesn’t offer anything going forward. Doesn’t offer any confidence to the players around him. But ok at putting an occasional foot in. And ok at passing side ways and back.

TraktorBoyz added 20:27 - Feb 21
He only fit into the team under MM because the ball went over the midfield most the time. I find it quite patronising when people say 'you must not know football' just because they like someone as a person. Nowhere near.good enough.

braveblue added 20:35 - Feb 21
They are very bad players.

heathen66 added 20:36 - Feb 21
Cannot argue with most of the comments on here tbh
Both are too old and too far off the pace offering very little for the future.
I agree that we need experience, but we all saw what a real leader on the pitch Collins is / was. That is the type of player that we need (albeit less injury prone).
Leave Chambers to sort the players match day tickets and the players nights out (and perhaps Skuse can help him). however as for the footballing side they really do offer very little plus we surely cannot afford them in L1. The money would be better spent elsewhere imo. My first priority would be to try and convince Chalobah his future was here at least for one more season, that same would be for Judge.

heathen66 added 20:54 - Feb 21
I should also ensure Will Keane is signed up too, as he will complement Harrison and Jackson well

cat added 21:10 - Feb 21
ITFCsince73 - Skuse had a wee sniff of a purple patch or something that resembled it a couple of month ago when he put in a couple of decent performances. Other than that I cannot disagree with any other of your good points.
Those involved in football who used to attend the end of season awards night will be quite well aware that the players who picked up the managers player of year or clubman was usually the player who could kiss ass the best. I get that selection ain’t always about ability, but there comes a point when you have to try something different.
Heathen - quality post ref Chambos organisation skills (Lol) not only can he get tickets and arrange drinks, he can also put them up in the annex at the end of the night, what a top proper bloke!

midastouch added 21:32 - Feb 21
Skuse is a bit like Marmite! He certainly divides opinion. What I would say is I don't think he'd be anywhere near the starting line up of any team looking to get promoted from the Championship. However, in defence of Skuse, every manager we've had from McCarthy through to Lambert (I've forgotten that one in between, can somebody remind me again!) seems to have rated him so it's hard for me to argue against the combined wisdom of all 2.5 of them, however, I'm still not quite a Skuse convert (although he's grown on me a bit) but I doubt they sell too many shirts in the club shop with Skuse on the back. I don't know what his wages are but if they are above average I'd be tempted to ship him out next season but if he's not too expensive then he's not a bad player to have in the squad. Anyway, if Lambert thinks Skuse is up to the job in League One then I'll go along with that. However, if we aren't pulling up trees next season then Skuse shouldn't be a default starter by any means and Lambert should be prepared to try other options rather than sticking with the same formula. When we have a winning XI then Skuse shouldn't walk straight back into the team if the team won the week before without him starting. He should have to earn his place on merit and not be a preferred choice just because he is a more senior experienced player. The same goes for Chambers and obviously all the senior players. The young guns are in Town now and if you don't perform week in and week then they should be prepared to be benched for one of the young Town starlets who I have extremely high hopes for next season.

midastouch added 21:37 - Feb 21
And I never brought that nonsense that Skuse was good enough for a Premier League team. If he had of ever been good enough to play for a Premier League team guess where he'd of ended up playing. It never happened and it never will. And if it did happen (which I really can't see) I'd bet a lot of money he'd be a one season only edition too!

ITFCsince73 added 21:54 - Feb 21
Midastouch. Agreed to an extent. And in defence of the 2.5 you mention.
They, it would appear, didn’t have a better option. And no funds to get a better option.
Doing the best with what we’ve had/got, is the reason we’re so far behind everyone else.
If he was looked on at being a goodish Championship midfielder, he would have left last summer, if not before. Can never recall any interest from any Championship club for his services, in all the time he’s been with us.


ITFCsince73 added 22:03 - Feb 21
Midastouch. That report is nearly 6 years ago. He’s gone downhill every season since.
And it was MM making the comment.

ITFCsince73 added 22:07 - Feb 21
I have more of a chance of playing premier league football than Cole Skuse #midastouch. Past or future.

midastouch added 22:30 - Feb 21
I loved the "I Was There When Cole Skuse Scored" T-Shirt that got knocked up a few years back. It was a cracking goal. To be fair to Skuse he had a picture taken holding it up near the North Stand so he clearly has a sense of humour. Am I right in thinking he has 2 goals for us now? If so he can't be too far behind Lukey Varney now lol!

therein61 added 08:23 - Feb 22
The opening shot in the Blackburn away highlights when Skuse thought he was Pirilo and lost the ball and couldn't get back sums him up, this type of thing happens far too often all he knows is giving side and backward passes putting team mates in trouble when he does get over the 1/2 way line and things break down he is not quick enough to get back and do his job which is protecting the back 4!!!!!

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