It is all very well showing leadership but you must lead by example and last night, club captain Luke Chambers was a bad example to one and all.
If I came face-to-face with Chambers again, the first thing I would say is that he should ditch those white boots! I could not help but notice he wore them against Rotherham because he stood out like a sore thumb, and no matter how well he took his penalty last night, he is in the team to defend and he was truly woeful. The same can be said for Jonas Knudsen – who after a bright start against Blackburn has suddenly lost the plot.
Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against Chambers as a person, and when I met him a few years since he was both cordial and unassuming but when he puts that shirt on he takes on a whole new persona. Some of it is good, like his after-match fist pump and the way he makes his voice heard on the field but there is another side to his personality that he seriously needs to re-examine.
When I played football as a kid, there was always someone in the team with a big mouth but they were quite often the least gifted players around and it is important that Chambers does not fall into this category. Yes, there is a distinct lack of leadership in the squad at the moment but he should not be the only player with a voice and it is vitally important that manager Paul Hurst addresses this dilemma as soon as possible. He is aware of it and I am sure in the loan window he will look to bring in an ‘old head’ or two.
Hurst is not holding back from telling his players that they must step up to the plate and fast and why shouldn’t he? If they don’t, he could be out of a job – even if to owner Marcus Evans thinks he is the best thing since sliced bread! Moods can change quickly in football and the manager is not afraid to speak his mind. Three games into the new season and still no wins is a serious cause for concern – especially when we look at the forthcoming fixtures which include Aston Villa at home on Saturday; before out trips to Derby County and Sheffield Wednesday. We need some points on the board quickly before panic sets in!
And as for former Blues centre-back Russell Osman wading in with a negative tweet, I think he is way off the mark.: “Got to careful in blaming everybody and everything else since joining the club… if it was all that bad before why did you take the job on??” What was all that about? Nine of his squad never played under McCarthy so what the hell is he talking about!
Of course, some people fear that the blame-game has a damaging effect on squad morale but let us not forget that we pay their wages and for far too long McCarthy had protected his players from criticism when it was often more than justified.
At least now they know that the gaffer means business and if they want him to return to his former ‘Mr Nice Guy’ image, then they all better shut up and buck up!
F.W. – editor of Vital Ipswich