Chambers on a 'Town core setting standards' at Colchester
- Credit: Colchester United
Former Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers insists he’s still got plenty to offer after signing a two-year deal with Colchester United.
The 35-year-old moves down the A12 to the Jobserve Community Stadium, linking up once again with friend and team-mate Cole Skuse at a League Two club looking for vast improvement on last season’s disappointing 20th-place finish.
Chambers was let go by Ipswich Town boss Paul Cook after nine years at the club, which saw him make 396 appearances and break into the Blues’ all-time top 10 appearance makers, and had offers from elsewhere before signing with the U’s.
One of those offers is understood to have come from Gillingham in League One but, after speaking with everyone at Colchester, he felt the Essex club was the best place for him to continue his career as he signs a two-year deal.
“Steve Ball (Colchester’s recruitment chief) got my number from players I know here already and, once it was clear I was leaving Ipswich they wanted to get me down for a chat,” the defender said, during his unveiling on Col U TV.
“I came and met Hayden (Mullins, head coach), Jon De Souza (technical director) and Tony Humes (head of youth) and they sold me the vision and their plan for the club and gave their views on why they weren’t where they wanted to be last season, with Covid affecting things so much. But they’re in a good position to have a right good go this year. That really appealed to me.
“It’s a good family club and, the age I’m at now, for them to show willingness to give me two years of playing at a time when I feel like I’ve got so much left in the tank.
“They match my ambition because they want to be challenging and I want to be part of a team which is successful as soon as possible. That lit a fire in me and I want to come down here and play a part.
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“There’s no secret the club wants to bring young players through and, if they’re good enough they will get the chance to come through into the first team.
“That’s something I’ve been used to doing in the last 15 years of my career, helping bring through young players. I’ve played with some really good young players and, hopefully, I’ve had a positive impact on their career.
“If I can bring that to Colchester Untied that will be a bonus.”
As well as being reunited with close friend Skuse, who himself has signed a two-year deal with the U’s, Chambers will also be playing alongside former Ipswich team-mates Tommy Smith, Dean Gerken and Freddie Sears next season.
“Football is like being ships in the night so the chance to play with lads I’ve had relative success with in the past is a massive draw,” Chambers said.
“They know what I'm about and I know what they’re about and, together, I think we can build a really good core at the club to allow the younger players and everyone who joins the club to know where we’re at, what are standards are, day in and day out, and that we’re driving forward.
“If you can’t fit into that it’s not going to be an easy ride for you at Colchester because we’re going to try and drive the club forward and raise the standards as soon as we can.”
On his Ipswich Town exit, Chambers said: “All good things come to an end and I had my eyes open that it would end.
“I didn’t think it would end as abruptly as it did this summer but there’s been massive change at the club with new ownership, new management and new staff and I wish them all the best going forward.
“At the end of the day it opens doors for me and gives me the fresh challenge I maybe needed. I can’t wait to get started.
“I am looking forward to starting pre-season because the pre-pre-season you have to put yourself through, running around fields and seven in the morning, is a lot tougher than when you’ve got your mates there pulling you through.
“I’m looking forward to getting started, to playing my part and to work with Hayden and the staff here.”
On his newest signing, Colchester head coach Mullins said: “Luke Chambers is vastly experienced, plays a lot of games, is very fit and we looked into his character and background.
“He’s a leader and we’re absolutely to secure him. We were chasing him, that was well-documented, but he brings quality and is someone the young lads can definitely learn from.”