'We will be seen as a scalp... we will have to deliver' – Chambers looks ahead to League One
PUBLISHED: 17:12 16 April 2019
© Copyright Stephen Waller
Luke Chambers says Ipswich Town players will have to deal with the pressure of the club being seen as ‘a scalp’ in League One next season.
The Blues' relegation was confirmed at the weekend, bringing to an end a 62-year spell in the top two tiers of English football and an unbroken 17-year stint in the Championship.
“This is the hardest time of my career without a doubt,” said captain Chambers, who was named Supporters' Player of the Year following Saturday's 1-1 home draw with Birmingham City.
“The reality is sinking in now of where we are and what lies ahead.
“I came here seven years ago to get promoted to the Premier League. Those seven years have gone by in a blur and now we will be in League One next season.
“I've never been relegated before and it's hurting like hell.
“It's been a tough year for me generally. My mum has been very ill and in and out of hospital so there are the worries that any family has in that situation. That hurts like hell as well. I guess it's life.”
He continued: “I had a difficult season at Forest, on and off the pitch, but these past 10 months have been really tough. Football wise, everyone will have their opinions on why we are where we are now.
“For me, we lost a lot of experience last summer and a lot of goals and it was always going to be a big ask to replace that.
“We could talk all day about the reasons why we are in the situation we are in but the simple truth is that we haven't been good enough. That's why we are bottom of the league.”
The 33-year-old defender added: “There is a great group of players here though, a lot of good young ones and the challenge for everyone here to go straight back up.
“We have been scrapping around for a few years now but if we get relegated we will start the season as one of the favourites to get promoted.
“We will be seen as a scalp. That will bring pressure because we will have to deliver. That's where the mentality of a footballer comes in. Can you deal with that?
“It's important when you are a player that you learn from every experience. I've been in the game a long time but this season has been a learning curve for me. It will be the same for the other players, especially the young ones. They will be better for the experience in the long run.”