Chambers: Player of the Year Award Not One for Mantelpiece
Thursday, 18th Apr 2019 11:03
Crowned the supporters’ Player of the Year for the first time in his seven seasons at Portman Road, skipper Luke Chambers has admitted the famous trophy won’t exactly occupy pride of place at his home.
It was a bittersweet moment for the experienced defender when last Saturday’s 1-1 home draw, which sealed the club’s relegation to League One, was followed by the annual Supporters’ Club event at which he collected the Harwich Rosebowl from club sponsor Damian Anderson (pictured above) as well as the Ultimate Supporters Award (previously the Away Match Passport Holders Award).
Chambers said: “Obviously it’s nice to have support because at the end of the day everybody goes through patches at football clubs where they are not good enough and they get criticised for making mistakes. That’s part of football so to have the backing of the fans is great.
“I think they have possibly seen what I’ve been trying to do for the club and to keep us going. Obviously it’s a nice thing to pick up but that won’t be one that I’ll be sticking on my mantelpiece because ultimately we’ve dropped down a division.
“I was very surprised and it didn’t even cross my mind that I might win. I’m not in it for personal gain, I’m in it create a winning mentality.
“I’ve said previously that I came here seven years ago with the aim of making it to the Premier League and I thought that was the plan.
“But, slowly but surely, we’ve found ourselves dropping down to where we are now. It should be something that galvanises the squad.
“Personally, it is going to drive me even more now to try and get this fantastic club, with its fantastic support, where everyone in the area we live in is behind the club, back at the earliest opportunity. Hopefully, we can have that at the start of next season and beyond.
“As a football club we all need to stick together and we all need to have a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve.
“I think the powers that be will have their opinions on players, who they will want to stay and who they will want to promote from the youth team and the U23s because there are certainly players there who can be added to the squad.
“There are also players who have been out injured and other players who have been on loan, like Luke Woolfenden, who have done very well and it will have helped him massively.
“There are players who can definitely step into the team but I imagine there will be quite a big change around in the playing staff, so that’s a big job for the manager to take on. I think he’s looking forward to it.”
Chambers revealed that boss Paul Lambert has spoken to him about his vision for Town. “He has spoken to me loads, especially early on in his reign when he was trying to pick everyone up,” said the captain.
“He’s got his vision for the club and I think Marcus [Evans] is buying into it all as well. I think everything he has asked for so far, he has received, and the support from the fans has been great.
“He came in here with a little bit of a question mark against him, having previously managed up the road, but the fans seem to have taken to him brilliantly.
“Like I say, if we can have everyone in the same boat moving forward, which we have over the last few weeks, it’s going to be a strong club.”
Chambers’s future has also been resolved in recent weeks, with the club awarding him a new two-year deal to keep him at the club until the end of the 2020-21 season.
The player added: “It was obviously ideal that I spoke to the manager and he told me his plans for me and that he wanted me around. I’m not just signing to sort of see out my days; I’m signing to play and be successful, especially next season and beyond.
“I spoke to Marcus personally and he was of the same view that he wanted me around as well.
“It’s obviously nice to have that backing and topped off with the fans’ giving me their support, which has been nothing short of fantastic for me because it has been a tough time.
“There will be questions about my age and one thing or another but that’s just a number if you look after yourself the way I have done.
“Also, if you look at the number of games I’ve played in my career, I’ve averaged 40-plus every season and I don’t think that’s going to change moving forward.”
Asked if he felt he could play on such a regular basis over the remainder of his Town deal, Chambers replied: “I think you know me well enough by now. Whatever it takes to get on the pitch, I’ll be trying to do that.”
Town must soon decide whether to offer deals to Hull loanee Will Keane and veteran ex-West Ham United defender James Collins, the Welsh international having arrived in January on a short-term deal through to the end of the current season.
Chambers said: “Keano is a great lad to have around. He’s got tremendous ability but it’s about getting him fit, which he knows better than anyone.
“He probably hasn’t played as many games as he would have wanted at any of his clubs. He was doing well here, scoring goals and feeling very comfortable, when he got injured.
“I’ve said to a couple of lads, including Judgey, ‘You can chase moves, you can chase different clubs and different opportunities, but there aren’t many clubs where you are valued by the supporters, your team-mates and your manager’.
“We’ve had Martyn Waghorn and Joe Garner, who were in and out at Rangers, come to Ipswich and perform tremendously.
“I’ve said to Will that this is a club where, potentially, you can find your home for the next two or three years.
“The club has shown faith in him by bringing him in when he’d only played one game all season. I’d love him to stay here but I’m not making the decisions.
“As for James, my feelings towards him are that after playing so many games in his career, to be out for six months and expect to hit the ground running is always going to be difficult.
“But if we can keep him here I feel that over the summer, when he’s had a proper pre-season with us really looking after him, he will be a massive asset for the football club to have, both on and off the pitch.
“He takes a hell of a lot of the pressure off me when I’m playing and I’ve enjoyed it when we’ve played alongside each other.
“I think we’ve had a fairly decent record together but he needs to have the chat with the gaffer and make his decision. I’d imagine that most people who have seen him play would want him around the club.”
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