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Leader Luke puts his body on the line and wears his heart on his sleeve - why Chambers still has a vital role to play

PUBLISHED: 06:00 26 March 2019

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers recently signed a new contract. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers recently signed a new contract. Picture: STEVE WALLER

Archant

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers has signed a new two-year deal. STUART WATSON looks at why the 33-year-old defender still has a vital role to play.

Luke Chambers has a laugh with Declan Rice after the final whistle of the summer pre-season game between Ipswich and West Ham.    Picture: Steve Waller    www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers has a laugh with Declan Rice after the final whistle of the summer pre-season game between Ipswich and West Ham. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

THE LEADER

What Luke Chambers brings to the party in terms of leadership is said best by those who have worked with him.

Mick McCarthy: “He’s one of the best captains I’ve ever had. He is a leader, the lads call him ‘skip’ and they all look up to him. I think he’s been an inspiration to a lot of players. He drives them on.

“You want a captain who leads by example – and that’s not necessarily shouting and screaming on the pitch. It’s how you conduct yourself on a daily basis.”

A fist pumping Luke Chambers after Town's 2-0 victory over Reading last season.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMA fist pumping Luke Chambers after Town's 2-0 victory over Reading last season. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Stephen Hunt: “Chambers is the best skipper I played under. When I got to Ipswich, I’d played for my country and played five or six years in the Premier League. This kid, who hadn’t achieved anything like that – and still hasn’t – was my captain. Yet from the moment I met him, I looked up to him.”

MORE: Captain Chambers signs new Ipswich contract... and he’s already eyeing another century of Town games

Luke Varney: “He’s the best I’ve had in my career in terms of the demands he puts on players and his attention to detail. It ranges from little things, like sorting tickets out for everyone and helping new signings settle, to being there for younger players. I’ve been at clubs where senior captains can be confrontational, but he is so approachable.

“He really helped me after my (long-term Achilles) injury to the point where he organised a bit of a whip round for me when my contract expired. That was a nice touch, something he didn’t need to do and something I’ll not forget.”

Speaking in 2015, Chambers said: “If someone is not doing things right here they get shut down by the rest of us pretty sharpish. They don’t last very long.

“There were obviously nuggets here before where you heard more about what they were doing away from football. Not any more.”

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THE ORGANISER

Luke Chambers wipes his face with his shirt following a draw with Millwall.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMLuke Chambers wipes his face with his shirt following a draw with Millwall. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

If anyone knows Luke Chambers then it is Cole Skuse. The pair quickly struck up a firm friendship when the latter joined the club in 2013, with Skuse best man at Chambers’ wedding in 2015.

He painted a good picture of the Town skipper’s organisational skills when concurring with boss Paul Lambert’s view that Chambers had ‘probably taken too much on his shoulders’ in recent times.

“He’s one of those guys, constantly on the go, and I’ve often said to him that he needs to relax himself and let other people take care of things,” said Skuse, smiling.

“If I ring him to see if he and his wife fancy going out for a bite to eat with me and my wife he’ll immediately say ‘yes, no problem, I’ll sort that out’. He’ll take it upon himself to book the table and decide the time – he’ll even decide who’s driving there and back.

Chambers salutes the Ipswich fans during the players' lap of honour at the end of last season.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMChambers salutes the Ipswich fans during the players' lap of honour at the end of last season. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

“If I say to him ‘what about going on holiday in the summer, the two families’ he’ll say ‘I’ll sort it’. He’ll arrange everything, the transportation from the airport to the hotel, even getting the bags upstairs to our rooms.

“Basically, he wants to sort out everything to the last detail. That’s just him as a person so you can imagine what he’s like in a football environment.”

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THE LISTENER

Luke Chambers screaming after Town had conceded their third in the 3-2 defeat by Bristol City.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMLuke Chambers screaming after Town had conceded their third in the 3-2 defeat by Bristol City. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

Six young Town players live in an annex on the side of Chamber’s house.

One of them, Jack Lankester, explains: “We’ve built a great relationship with Chambo’s family. There are times in football where you might need someone to talk to, so to just be able to go around the back and say to a figure like Luke, ‘can I talk?’ is great for us. It’s done a lot of things for me. “

Chambers, speaking in 2015, said: “I think I’m pretty good at telling when something is wrong with someone. I can see it straight away in the way they are training or how they are being. One of the young lads is about to have their first kid, one of the player’s dad isn’t very well; it’s about making people comfortable to speak about stuff like that.”

Skipper Luke Chambers celebrates with Freddie Sears after the latter put the Blues 2-1 up against Bristol City.    Picture: STEVE WALLER     WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMSkipper Luke Chambers celebrates with Freddie Sears after the latter put the Blues 2-1 up against Bristol City. Picture: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

HEART ON THE SLEEVE

He feels what you feel after wins – we’ve seen that with the fired up fist-pumps and swearing on live TV following Noel Hunt’s dramatic winner at Charlton.

And he feels what you feel after defeat – the post-defeat body language and impassioned interviews throughout this horrible season are proof of the hurt.

He’s spoken honestly about owner Marcus Evans’ spending, his own contract frustrations, almost rejoining former club Nottingham Forest, managerial changes, as well as discussing referees, agents and the media.

Luke Chambers playing to the crowd after Towns 2-0 victory over Bolton.    PICTURE: STEVE WALLER    WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMLuke Chambers playing to the crowd after Towns 2-0 victory over Bolton. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

What you see is what you get.

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BODY ON THE LINE

Chambers has started 313 of the 338 games Town have played since his arrival on a Bosman free transfer from Forest.

The Luke Chambers fist pumps were back at the end of the Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers match last season.    PICTURE: STEVE WALLER    WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COMThe Luke Chambers fist pumps were back at the end of the Ipswich Town v Bolton Wanderers match last season. PICTURE: STEVE WALLER WWW.STEPHENWALLER.COM

So many times he has played through the pain to be out there.

He’s been on the field with bad headaches, blurred vision and cracked ribs.

Last year, he joked he would be back ‘within a couple of weeks’ after dislocating his shoulder and fracturing his sternum.

Most recently he has been having blood drained from his foot and playing with a broken wrist.

Luke Chambers celebrates Daryl Murphy's goal against Wolves in 2015.      
Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers celebrates Daryl Murphy's goal against Wolves in 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

He said: “At the end of the day we’re paid a helluva lot of money for the job that we do and you have to do whatever’s required of you to get out on that pitch and show a bit of bottle.”

MR SELFLESS

Chambers formed a rock-solid central defensive partnership alongside Tommy Smith in 2012/13, the Blues keeping 12 clean sheets in their final 22 matches, then Christophe Berra’s arrival saw him shifted to right-back.

Luke Chambers at the end of the Ipswich Town v Preston North End game in 2016.   Picture: Steve Waller   www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers at the end of the Ipswich Town v Preston North End game in 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Some players would have sulked. He didn’t.

Did he have some tough days against tricky wingers? Yes. Did he get better and better in the role? Absolutely.

“I’ve never been one of the best players in the teams I’ve played for, in my opinion, but I’ll always give everything,” he said.

“I’ll always be honest and I’ll do anything for the team. If we won 20 games in a row and I was out of the team then no-one would be happier than me. That’s the way I’ve always been as a person.”

Injury time goal scorer Luke Chambers celebrates Town's victory over QPR on Boxing Day 2015.      
Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comInjury time goal scorer Luke Chambers celebrates Town's victory over QPR on Boxing Day 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

MORE: Former Town favourite Walters announces retirement

PART OF THE FABRIC

He’s always had time for the fans. He’s settled in the area. He’s made it clear that, one day, he would love to be manager.

“The lads say ‘what you doing this weekend, are you going home?’ And I say ‘this is my home’,” he said.

Luke Chambers celebrates his injury time winner as Town beat QPR 2-1 at Portman Road on Boxing Day in 2015Luke Chambers celebrates his injury time winner as Town beat QPR 2-1 at Portman Road on Boxing Day in 2015

“I could happily finish my career here. In fact, I could see us living in our house for the rest of my life.”

Luke Chambers scores his injury time winner for Town in the Ipswich Town v Queens Park Rangers (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 26 December 2015.      
Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers scores his injury time winner for Town in the Ipswich Town v Queens Park Rangers (Championship) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 26 December 2015. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Luke Chambers on the pitch with his family after the Blues' final home game of 2015/16.      
Picture: Steve Waller       
www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers on the pitch with his family after the Blues' final home game of 2015/16. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Luke Chambers about to take a throw-in during the Ipswich Town V Burnley match at Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 18 August 2015   Picture: Steve Waller   www.stephenwaller.comLuke Chambers about to take a throw-in during the Ipswich Town V Burnley match at Portman Road, Ipswich, Suffolk, UK on 18 August 2015 Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com

Skipper Luke Chambers celebrates after Tom Lawrence had scored to give the home side a 3-0 lead against QPR in 2016.Skipper Luke Chambers celebrates after Tom Lawrence had scored to give the home side a 3-0 lead against QPR in 2016.

Chambers gets the crowd going against Doncaster in 2014.Chambers gets the crowd going against Doncaster in 2014.

Luke Chambers at the final whistle at Wigan Picture PagepixLuke Chambers at the final whistle at Wigan Picture Pagepix

Fist-pumping for the first time this season - Ipswich captain Luke Chambers at Swansea. Picture PagepixFist-pumping for the first time this season - Ipswich captain Luke Chambers at Swansea. Picture Pagepix

Luke Chambers reacts to the defeat at Forest after the final whistle Picture PagepixLuke Chambers reacts to the defeat at Forest after the final whistle Picture Pagepix

Luke Chambers is frustrated at The City Ground during the first half against Nottingham Forest. Picture PagepixLuke Chambers is frustrated at The City Ground during the first half against Nottingham Forest. Picture Pagepix

Luke Chambers jumps to celebrate after scoring a late goal at Norwich Picture PagepixLuke Chambers jumps to celebrate after scoring a late goal at Norwich Picture Pagepix

Town skipper Luke Chambers is disappointed after the narrow defeat at Leeds Picture PagepixTown skipper Luke Chambers is disappointed after the narrow defeat at Leeds Picture Pagepix

Luke Chambers leaves the pitch at the final whistle after the defeat against Derby CountyLuke Chambers leaves the pitch at the final whistle after the defeat against Derby County

Luke Chambers points to Teddy Bishop after the youngster's thrilling run to the Blackpool bye-line had set up Daryl Murphy's goal at Blackpool in the 2014/15 season.Luke Chambers points to Teddy Bishop after the youngster's thrilling run to the Blackpool bye-line had set up Daryl Murphy's goal at Blackpool in the 2014/15 season.

Things turn ugly between Millwall's Nicky Bailey and Luke Chambers after Carlos Edwards had the ball kicked at his face whilst on the floor at The New Den in 2012/13.Things turn ugly between Millwall's Nicky Bailey and Luke Chambers after Carlos Edwards had the ball kicked at his face whilst on the floor at The New Den in 2012/13.

Luke Chambers with the Town fans after the final whistle at Burnley after Ipswich's play-off hopes for the 2013/14 season. Picture: PAGEPIXLuke Chambers with the Town fans after the final whistle at Burnley after Ipswich's play-off hopes for the 2013/14 season. Picture: PAGEPIX

Chambers has been playing with a broken wrist this season, suffered in the win over Rotherham.    Picture: STEVE WALLERChambers has been playing with a broken wrist this season, suffered in the win over Rotherham. Picture: STEVE WALLER

New Ipswich Town signing Luke Chambers is unveiled in July 2012.New Ipswich Town signing Luke Chambers is unveiled in July 2012.

Chambers poses with the Ipswich shirt after signing for the club in 2012.  EADT 10.7.12Chambers poses with the Ipswich shirt after signing for the club in 2012. EADT 10.7.12

Luke Chambers, pictured on the Blues' trip to Holland in 2012. Picture: Gregg BrownLuke Chambers, pictured on the Blues' trip to Holland in 2012. Picture: Gregg Brown

Ipswich Town captain Luke Chambers reflects on play-off defeat at Norwich City. Photo: ArchantIpswich Town captain Luke Chambers reflects on play-off defeat at Norwich City. Photo: Archant

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