Ipswich Town stalwarts Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse reflect on their time and legacy in Suffolk
There can be few players that have had such an impact on those around them both on and off the pitch at Ipswich Town as Luke Chambers and Cole Skuse.
Between them they have they have clocked up almost 700 appearances for the Blues, since arriving from Nottingham Forest and Bristol City respectively in 2012 and 2013.
With manager Paul Cook – backed by the club's new American-based ownership group – looking to end some disappointing years of decline with an exciting new chapter, both 35-year-olds were told on Monday their contracts are not being renewed.
Both have sat down with the club (watch the full interviews below) to give their exit interviews where they reflect on their time at Portman Road and why playing for Town became so special for them.
Chambers, who took over as captain from Carlos Edwards and made almost 400 appearances, admitted he was disappointed to be leaving but said: "It has been a fantastic journey and I have been very proud of my contribution to the football club. And I think most people you speak to would echo that."
He said his biggest regret would be not being able to get the club promoted to the Premier League at the end of the 2014/15 season, having exited the play-offs to East Anglian rivals Norwich City. But he did also reveal that campaign under manager Mick McCarthy provided some of his best memories to take away with him, including the iconic fist-pump winning celebration being born.
"The play-off season was fantastic," he said. "You look at the players we had in that squad and what the manager had been able to put together with what he was allowed to work with was nothing short of fantastic.
"And had we capitalised on our position at Christmas time from a dressing room point-of-view we might not be sitting where we are now."
He picked out the dramatic late winner at Charlton Athletic, from Noel Hunt, as one of many happy memories, as well as speaking about his role off the field helping house young players and set standards throughout the club.
Without a chance to say goodbye in person to the fans he was asked what he would want to say to them as a final message.
"Just thank you for taking to me from day one," he said, also having revealed he would like to return in an off-the-pitch role one day.
"They demanded the fist pump which became quite iconic and it's a shame we didn't see it on better occasions sometimes. But it's been a hell of a ride and I thank everyone that has been a part of it and everyone that has supported me.
"Yes, in football you always have your critics and sometimes you don't appreciate what you've got until it's gone, but thanks to everyone for making me feel at home and allowing me to live my life so well in the area.
"I hope I've been a good guy at this football club and a good player and thank you to everyone because it's something I will never forget."
Skuse, who made more than 275 appearances for Town, recalls how he fell in love with the club and his close relationship with Chambers.
He also paid tribute to the people who work tirelessly behind the scenes at the club and the described what it was like to play under McCarthy.
"What he did during his time at the club, in terms of having quite a small squad, and budget compared to other teams in the Championship, but being able to build a strong group of lads was excellent," he said.
"We did ever so well to finish in the play-offs that season and maybe things could have been slightly different.
"I cannot and will not ever speak highly enough of Mick. I've had a couple of - I wouldn't say heated discussions - but I would come out in random spots like Tesco and someone would be saying 'I'm glad he's gone' and that would get my back up a little bit."
He also recalls the iconic moment he broke his goalscoring duck for the club against Cardiff with a stunning strike.
Chambers and Skuse are among eight players to not have had their expiring contracts renewed ahead of next season along with Alan Judge, Stephen Ward, Freddie Sears, James Wilson, Emyr Huws and Tristan Nydam.
But despite options being taken to extent some contracts, the EADT broke the story that much of the remaining squad have been told they are free to find other clubs this summer as Cook looks to live up to his self-appointed 'demolition man' tag. A big overhaul of the existing squad would mirror what happened at his previous clubs, Chesterfield, Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic, who he all then led to promotion.