Chambers: Fans Have Been Tremendous
Thursday, 18th Apr 2019 09:34
Luke Chambers looked back at the amazing scenes at Portman Road last Saturday and despite the fact that Town are heading for League One he claimed the reaction from supporters was better than last season when they finished a comfortable 12th in the Championship.
Chambers said: “It’s absolutely crazy. I don’t know why that is but credit to the guys. It’s their football club at the end of the day and the fans have been tremendous.
“Even the season we made the play-offs and the year after, when we finished seventh, the vibe and the atmosphere around the stadium was very, very different to what it is now.
“They would be well within their rights to be abusing the players because it costs a lot of money to come and watch football, not just at Ipswich but everywhere.
“All we can do as players is try to reward them. Maybe we can go on a journey next season where the applause and the backing is warranted.
“I don’t think we’ve done enough as players to warrant the support we have received. Credit to the fans because it hasn’t just been at home or in the past few weeks, it’s been throughout the season.”
Town’s relegation was confirmed five days ago but the writing had been on the wall for most of the season as first Paul Hurst, then Paul Lambert, found league wins hard to come by.
Chambers added: “It’s always difficult to talk about this because decisions and stuff have been made that have cost us.
“We lost 48 goals out of the 57 we scored last season. Did I think that would be a problem for us even in the summer? I don't think you can strengthen other teams in the Championship the way we did and think everything is going to be okay.
“I don’t think we ever recovered from that, or selling one of the best centre-halves in the league for what we sold him for. It’s pretty plain to see where I think it has gone wrong.
“Lessons need to be learned, 100 per cent they do. If you look at the division we’re going into, Sunderland signed Will Grigg, who scored bundles of goals in League One when he was there before.
“He didn’t do so well in the Championship so he’s ended up back in League One again and they paid £4 million for him in the January window.
“These are things we might have to look at because these are the players who are getting teams to the top of the division.
“They are the lessons we’re going to need to try and learn, that we’re going to need players who have been there and done it in League One.
“We need players who want to be at the club. Maybe in the last few weeks, teams have played against us and players coming out of contract would see Ipswich as a club they’d want to play for.
“If I’d been a visiting player I’d want to come and play for Ipswich because the support we have received has been fantastic.”
Asked if he felt Town will still need to spend money in the transfer market, Chambers added: “Yes, wisely. There are a hell of a lot players out there that I know are out of contract.
“Maybe we don’t need to spend a lot of money but we need to get the right players, at the right price obviously. The draw of Ipswich in League One is going to be bigger than most.”
Chambers’s commitment has never been questioned and it applies as much to his off-the-field role as club captain than it does on the field of play.
It has even been said, most revealingly by his friend and vice-captain Cole Skuse, that he often takes on too much responsibility.
He laughed: “You’re right, I probably do at times. My game has probably even suffered with me trying to patch up every hole.
“It’s easy to say ‘Concentrate on your own game’ but when you’re out there in the thick of it it’s very difficult.
“I’ve had some good games but I’ve also had some poor games this season. No one is free of criticism this season. It has been a very tough time.
“We were 100 per cent behind everything that went on in the summer. There wasn’t one player who stepped out of line and thought ‘No, this isn’t right’. To the very day the previous manager left us we were still fighting every single corner and doing everything that was asked of us.
“There’s not one bad egg in that dressing room, so it hasn’t been for the want of trying that we are going down. I just think we have lacked in areas this season and that’s what has cost us.”
Does Chambers believe Town can make their stay in League One as short as possible and clinch promotion back to the Championship next season?
He said: “I feel we can if we make the right decisions and get the right players in to help the boys that have stepped up a division this season and the young players who have come in – even the experienced players that have taken a lot on.
“I think everyone will be in a position where we can have a clear vision of where we are going to go and I do believe we will be right up there.
“Anyone who thinks it is going to be an easy season needs to have a look in the mirror really. We know it’s going to be very, very difficult.
“There are lads who have played in League One as recently as last season – we even have a young player, Josh Emmanuel, who got promoted when he was on loan at Rotherham – and we just need to marry it all together by bringing in a few more players to help us on our journey.”
Meanwhile, Chambers refused to be drawn on speculation, before he committed his future to Town for a further two years, which linked him to a move to MLS outfit Chicago Fire.
He added: “When you are going to be out of contract, regardless of whether or not there is an option, there are always things going on behind the scenes.
“But it was never really in my mind to do anything else. Maybe I could have signed for another Championship club on a free and played for another couple of years at that level but my aim is to get this club promoted next season and then play again in the Championship the year after. That’s the target.”
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