Current Club: Gateshead
Previous Clubs: Darlington, Sunderland
For a player aged only 26, Jamie Chandler has certainly experienced what many professionals would hope to achieve in their whole career. A wembley appearance? Tick. Play for your country? Tick. Win a trophy? Tick.
He joined the Sunderland at a young age staying there before moving on aged 21. During his time at Sunderland, Jamie was successful. Not only did he play for the reserves and train with the first team, that included the likes of Djibril Cisse and Dwight Yorke, he picked up a fair amount of England caps along the way. He played a total of 35 times for the England U-16s up to the U-19s alongside national footballing stars today such as Daniel Sturridge. This also included a place in the 2008 UEFA European Under 19 Championships squad for England, but, typical England, failed to fully deliver and were knocked out in the group stages.
He joined Darlington on loan in August 2009 where he made 16 appearances including his first start professionally in football against Leeds in the League Cup. He later returned to parent club Sunderland in November 2009.
However, after the expiry of his Sunderland contract he joined recently relegated Darlington in the Conference on a two-year deal. He soon became a fans favourite making the holding midfielder position his own following an injury to Paul Terry, the brother of Chelsea defender John. A successful finish to the season included a Wembley appearance, the clubs first in 11 years in the FA Trophy Final. It was here where Chandler stood out on the pitch playing without any nerves despite being only 22 at the time and was rightly award the Man of the Match award. A late injury time winner in extra time meant that he had won his first trophy and Darlington’s first in 20 years. He also scooped the club’s Young Player of the Year award.
The following year things didn’t go as smoothly for the club. Financial constraints meant that players had to be sold or face wage cuts in order to save running costs to help keep the club afloat. As a result Jamie decided to question the chairman’s actions after putting the club in administration affected many jobs. Many fans applauded his willingness to help, but unfortunately he was unable to make the chairman change his mind.
Impressive performances in a Black and White shirt prompted Gateshead to make a move for the player. He was signed for a nominal fee alongside Darlington team mate Liam Hatch.
Since joining the heed in 2012, he has made over 100 appearances for the club and was named the club’s vice-captain in the summer of 2012. He has since played at Wembley for the second time in the Conference playoff final against Cambridge. However unfortunately for Gateshead and Jamie, it wasn’t a day to remember as they were beaten 2-1.
It is fair to say that Jamie Chandler has come a long way since breaking his leg aged just 17 in an FA Youth Cup game for Sunderland against Preston. And the future is definitely bright in what is still a relatively short career despite all of the success achieved.