‘From then on it was like bang’ – Story of how the Skuse and Chambers bromance blossomed
- Credit: Picture: Steve Waller
Best mates and a future managerial duo... STUART WATSON spoke to Cole Skuse about his friendship with Ipswich Town skipper Luke Chambers for the latest edition of Kings of Anglia magazine.
Team-mates, best mates and a potential managerial duo of the future. Cole Skuse's eyes light up at the very mention of Luke Chambers.
You have to go back to the summer of 2013 for the start of this bromance. Like many relationships, one of the duo actually started out not being too keen on the other.
"I was the best man at his wedding and I told this story in my speech," says Skuse.
"In the football world you develop relationships with certain players in certain teams. Some you'll just say 'hello, how are you doing?' to and others you'll end up having a longer chat with. That was kind of the script with me and Chambo.
"When I was at Bristol City and he was at Nottingham Forest we were in League One at the same time. It was always a battle between us two to try and get promoted.
"He was always lively on the pitch, loud. He's one of those you play against and just think 'shut up mate, do us a favour, pipe down'.
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"So, anyway, on my first day here I arrived early, because I always like to arrive early, and I didn't really know anybody on a personal level.
"You could hear him coming through the corridor. He doesn't really talk, he just shouts. He doesn't say 'morning', he just shouts 'morning!' I thought 'oh, that must be Luke Chambers'.
"He's come marching over to me and gone 'ahhhh, Skusey, it's about time we signed some s**t players!' Straight away he's broken the ice and from then on it was like 'bang'.
"We're a similar age. His wife is a teacher, my wife is a teacher. His little boy was one then, my little girl was one. So yeah, it just took off from there really."
Both are now fathers of three. At the time of writing, they've played 237 games together for Ipswich Town. Both are hard-working, driven, loyal family men. Personality-wise, though, there are differences.
Luke is, as we've established, loud. He's gregarious and intense. He's the '14-year-old boy trapped in a man's body playing Mario Kart at the back of the coach with the kids', while Cole is on what the players have dubbed 'the boring table' alongside Gwion Edwards and Alan Judge.
Not that Cole is boring. Far from it. Mick McCarthy once said the midfielder's pranks and playful put-downs were like Exocet missiles in that 'you know they are coming, just not when they are going to hit'.
"I'm forever being told I'm very, very dry," he says with a smile. 'I love the banter side of football.
"When the straight face needs to come out then I am very much the ultimate professional, and I'm sure the lads would vouch for that, but as soon as the hard work is done and we're back in the changing room then, yeah, make sure you've got your head on a swivel!
"Luke and I are different in many ways, but the same in many ways too if that makes sense? I wouldn't say we are chalk and cheese, because we have a lot in common.
"I'm very laid back. Not much fazes me really. Not that I'm saying much fazes Chambo, but he is like an emotional sponge. He's a hundred miles an hour going 'I've got to do this, I've got to do that'. I'm like 'mate, just chill!'
"We're going to be friends forever and have got plans for later on in our lives.
"He very much wants to pursue a management career whereas, going back to the differences in our personalities, I don't think I've got that in me.
"I love the game and am forever jotting things down in my notebook at home about coaching sessions. That's the route I'd like to go down.
"We'd love to try and do some bits together. You often hear 'good cop, bad cop' - it wouldn't be sop much like that, it would be... I don't know how to word it really. He'd be very highly-strung and I'd be the relaxed one. It would be a good balance, I think."
He continues: "When Chambo's a manager he'll still be at the back of the coach trying to play Mario Kart. I'll be the sensible one. We do laugh about it, but that's a long way off. We both like to think we've got a lot of playing time left in us."
Skuse, who has started 246 of the 287 league games played by Town since he arrived, added: "I was having a conversation with (Janoi) Donacien the other day and he said 'at what stage did you start to feel the changes in your body?' I thought about it and said 'I haven't'. I don't know if I'm just not consciously aware of it, but I don't think I have got to that stage.
"I've never thought 'today was a real struggle'. I still feel as fresh as I did when I was 20/21. I've clearly not hit that brick wall yet."
- The latest Kings of Anglia magazine, plus all previous editions, can be purchased here for £3.99 (free P&P).