Chapman is up for the night of his life
PUBLISHED: 12:55 14 July 2007 | UPDATED: 10:24 14 September 2010
Mick Chapman is preparing for one of his proudest moments in more than a quarter of a century with Lowestoft Town - by managing them against the team he supported as a youngster. Chapman’s Blues take on Norwich City in Tuesday’s Roy Harper Memorial Shield match at Crown Meadow (7.45pm).
Mick Chapman is preparing for one of his proudest moments in more than a quarter of a century with Lowestoft Town - by managing them against the team he supported as a youngster.
Chapman's Blues take on Norwich City in Tuesday's Roy Harper Memorial Shield match at Crown Meadow (7.45pm).
And the man who is blue and white through and through - after 27 years with Lowestoft as player then boss - also admits there is a yellow and green streak running through him.
Chapman, who made his debut for his home town club as a 19-year-old in 1980, grew up following the Canaries. He was thrilled to get the chance to play for Lowestoft against Ken Brown's City side in the 80s, and now he and joint manager Adie Gallagher are preparing their troops to take on Peter Grant's men. It will make it a very special night for one of non-League football's great one-club men.
Said Chapman: "I was born in Blackpool, but moved to Lowestoft as a baby, so the town is in my blood. I've always been loyal to the club and they have been loyal to me.
"I followed Norwich as a kid when John Bond was a manager. I know there are Norwich and Ipswich fans in the town because Lowestoft is in Suffolk, but I've always followed Norwich and it's just a shame I can't get to see more of them.
"It's such a great gesture by Norwich City to send a first team squad down here and we really appreciate it. To be able to have players here of this quality from the highest level, it will be a great occasion for everyone at the club, the backroom staff, Adie and me as managers, for the players, the fans and the town.
"I can remember playing for Lowestoft against Norwich when I played against Steve Bruce and Dave Watson and that was a great memory.
"It gives you such a lift to be on the same pitch as players like that and if we put up a good show on Tuesday, it will really boost our confidence before the start of the season.
"It will give us a platform to build on as we look forward to the first Ridgeons League game on August 11. If it doesn't go so well, well, they're professional players and you would expect them to do well against us.
"But this is mainly about preparing for our first league game. It will be great to see some of our young lads on the pitch even if it's for a short period. We're looking at using 18 to 20 players against Norwich. We will start with a strong side and see how it goes."
Chapman played for Lowestoft for 17 years and was player of the season five times, retiring in 1997 because of a back injury. He has managed the club since 1994.
Lowestoft, now going under the more modern nickname of Trawlerboys, won the Ridgeons League title in 2005-06 - one of several trophies under Chapman's guidance.
They were in a perilous financial position at one stage last season but lived to fight another day.
Goalkeeper Adam Rix, signed from Kirkley, is set to make his Lowestoft debut against City as Andy Reynolds is in Sweden managing the successful Town youth team in an international tournament. The Blues have also snapped up 18-year-old midfielder Adam Mills, originally from Yarmouth, after he was released by Football League club AFC Bournemouth.
There is room for a crowd of up to 2,000 at Crown Meadow on Tuesday. Tickets are still available from the club at £8 for adults, £5 for OAPs and £3 for children.