Chambers: My Lowest Point in Football
Thursday, 18th Apr 2019 09:08
Town skipper Luke Chambers has recalled his emotions at the final whistle of last week’s 1-1 home draw with Birmingham City, a result that confirmed the club’s relegation to the third tier of English football for the first time in 62 years.
A huge number of supporters were not even alive when Town were in the Third Division (South) under the great Alf Ramsey, who later led Town to the Second Division and First Division titles in successive seasons before winning the World Cup for England in 1966, an achievement that led to him being knighted.
Town were on an upward trajectory at the time but although the only way is down at the end of the season Chambers is prepared to meet the challenge head-on and is upbeat about his chances of leading the team back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
Asked about his feelings at around 5.45pm on Saturday, he replied: “It’s difficult, really. Obviously, very, very disappointed but I think it just summed up the whole season really.
‘The possession, the chances we managed to create, but the ball just didn’t want to go in. I suppose it was the realisation – and at that stage I didn’t even know what the other results were.
“But we had kept pushing it to another game, then another game and we were always running out of time.
“But then you come off the pitch and it’s a little bit bizarre that the fans have stayed behind and to give us the reception they gave us, that was amazing.
“Difficult to put into words, but the support is one of the positives to come out of this season – and probably the only positive. The fans have been absolutely tremendous.
“Is it my lowest point in football? Yes, definitely. I had never been relegated before and I tried everything I could to keep the boys going, to stay positive and to help as many as I could along the way. But we’ve fallen short – not just fallen short, we’ve fallen way short.
“We’ve got four games left and we’re still a long, long way from where we wanted to be.
“There was obviously optimism at the start of the season and for whatever reasons decisions have been made that have ended up costing us as a club, and we find ourselves where we are.”
But Chambers insisted the vibe around the training ground remains upbeat, adding: “It’s bizarre; the lads don’t seem to change. They just crack on and work and work and work, but we just haven’t been good enough.
“Maybe the lads have been resigned to that fact. No matter what we’ve tried, and however well we’ve played in games, we just haven’t been able to find that winning formula.
“That’s not been for the past few weeks, that’s been from August, even July time.”
Town have four more games to complete their league programme, starting with tomorrow’s trip to face Preston. “As a player, whatever happens you just have to go out and play the games,” said Chambers.
“That’s the message I will send to the boys and we just have to keep ourselves going and keep ourselves right, because at the end of the day the manager will be making his decisions, not just over the next four games but with an eye on where we are going to be next season.
“He’ll see what people’s characters are like and how they are going to react to this situation.
“It’s not time for a holiday, why don’t we try to finish second from bottom? There are teams in front of us that we can try to catch and if we can win some games between now and the end of the season that will certainly give everyone a bit more of a lift going into next season.”
Club owner Marcus Evans and ex-manager Paul Hurst, axed to make way for Paul Lambert in October, appear to be taking most of the flak from fed-up fans, but Chambers was asked about how much responsibility the players had to take for going down.
He replied: “Everyone should – everyone involved with the football club, players, everyone and there’s no hiding from that fact.
“So anyone that doesn’t think they are responsible for this situation is kidding themselves.
For me, personally, it’s massive. It’s on my shoulders, I’m the captain of the club, captain of the team and I’ve been involved in four wins – just four wins – this season. That’s bizarre and shouldn’t have happened.
“I think we can all say we’ve made mistakes as players, on and off the pitch, but you have to take the rough with the smooth at the end of the day.
“You have to have it in your character to be able to bounce back and be ready to go again.
“We need to look at this three or four month period and make sure we get it right going into next season because we’ll be the big scalp now.
“We’ve always had conversations about money in the Championship – what we’re spending and who we’re signing – and now we’ll be the team that everyone wants to beat.
“They’ll all raise their game when they play us so that will be a big test for people’s characters and for them as players.”
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