There are many attributes required to be a captain. Leadership abilities, communication skills, and arguably the more important, to be able to shoulder responsibility when it’s clear to see, that you were at fault.
All of these, Luke Chambers has failed miserably at for Nottingham Forest this season.
When Chambers was appointed captain by Steve McClaren ahead of the 2011/12 season, it was met mostly, with positive responses. After receiving the Player of the Season accolade in the 2010/11 season, and playing well in the heart of the defence, it seemed like the obvious move.
McClaren’s aim was to not disrupt the dressing room, and by appointing a man who was at Forest under Billy Davies and Colin Calderwood, McClaren hoped to send the message to the rest of the squad that continuity was crucial, and he wasn’t intent on changing the squad around to a large extent.
Events couldn’t have transpired more differently, though. Playing in the important central defensive position, it was vital his captaincy attributes came to the fore, but the armband was proving to be a curse for Chambers. A captain needs to be the one who leads by example, someone who could bellow instructions out, and have a positive effect on those around him, pulling them in the same direction.
With Chambers, everything that went wrong with the defence, was largely down to him, meaning his cries of desperation when events unfolding were unpleasant, fell on deaf ears, as he no longer possessed the right to be able to tell a fellow player how to do something, when he wasn’t leading by example in the first place. For ‘Chambo’, it was starting to become a matter of when he threw his toys out of the pram, rather than if.
Additionally, his post-match interviews have been embarrassing, to say the least. Blasting the fans saying, “Your negativity is not helping”, as the Forest contingent grew impatient of his dreadful performances. Furthermore, expressing his intention to not stick around if new owners aren’t in place for the 2012/13 season.
“I do not want to be playing down at the bottom of the division. I am used to playing in big, important matches where there are far more positive things at stake.” These comments taken from his recent outburst to the local press.
It’s obvious to the majority, Luke Chambers needs quite a few media lessons to help himself out. If he wants to be playing at the top level, I’d recommend one little thing to him. He has to actually put performances in that are worthy of being praised, rather than having shockers, and pointing the blame at others.
One person thinks Luke Chambers is good enough for the Premier League, and that’s Luke Chambers himself.
Contrast Luke Chambers’s attitude, to that of fellow centre half, and widely praised, Joel Lynch. There are many memories that stand out in the season just gone, that I’d rather forget. One that’s immovable, is the sight of Chris Wood as he marches past a resigned Luke Chambers, to slot past Camp.
Luke Chambers, a man who talked frequently about remaining postive, watched Chris Wood score. He doesn’t run, nor does he jog. He stands and looks on, as Guy Moussi gallops past him desperately, clinging on to the slim hope Camp saves Wood’s shot, and there’s a follow up to battle for. Not Chambers however, who remained unmoved on the halfway line.
Following the dismal display against Birmingham that day, which led to McClaren’s departure, one man came out to face the media. Joel Lynch, respected for his heart, desire and passion, faced it up, as he explained how the players had let McClaren down. Lynch, in that sole radio interview, demonstrated something Chambers had never shown, and that’s bottle.
Chambers was then effectively dumped as captain later in the season, although not publically, as Danny Higginbotham arrived. The chief organiser, and the one everyone looked to for guidance, Higginbotham showed in one game more than Chambers had shown all season.
Chambers has done little to encourage potential interest in him, as according to some newspapers, he’s on the radar of many clubs. More fool them, is all that can be said.
With ownership issues present, Chambers may be sliding out of the door, and if the club are wise, they shouldn’t attempt to stand in his way. Forest starlet Jamaal Lascelles is performing admirably for Stevenage in League One, and the 2012/13 season may be the ideal time to blood him, and make him a regular feature. Having attracted interest from Arsenal and Tottenham, Lascelles is a player with plenty of potential, that is waiting to be fulfilled.
He’s started that process with Stevenage, and it should be at Forest where he continues it, at Luke Chambers’s expense.