Lowestoft Town’s Micky Chapman ‘a manager’s dream’
The man who kindled Micky Chapman’s Lowestoft Town love affair has described him as “a manager’s dream” as a player and said it is no surprise that he has turned into the club’s 1,000 game dream manager.
Chapman, who celebrated his 1,000th game as Trawlerboys’ boss at Bury on Tuesday night, was a curly-haired kid with dynamite in his boots when Paul Chick signed him from Beccles in 1983 – two years after his first Crown Meadow stint under Jimmy Moran ended after three games.
The current Norwich United boss recalled: “He formed a great partnership with Mick Money and over three years they must have scored somewhere in the region of 150 goals between them. Micky was a top-drawer player and a top-drawer guy. He was totally committed to Lowestoft. Many managers have tried to get him away from there over the years, myself included, but there was never any doubt that he was going to play for one club and one club only.”
Chapman won his only trophy as a player in Chick’s Blues team which beat Yarmouth 2-1 in the 1984 ECL League Cup final.
Chick commented: “He was a manager’s dream. He always wanted to learn and work and even when he we was having an off-day he never gave less than 100 per cent. Those are qualities which have served him well as a manager and I am not at all surprised that he has been such a success – he is totally committed to the cause.”
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Chapman’s commitment to the Blues was tested to the limit in the early days when Yarmouth Town boss Bill Punton came a-calling.
At one stage Punton even thought he had got his man – but Chappo slipped through the net after a change of heart. Chapman, who was to plunder 193 goals in 480 appearances for the Blues, actually signed for Yarmouth but changed his mind after a sleepless night of soul-searching. “I think he bullied me into signing,” joked Chapman, 50, who started out as player-manager in 1994 and, aided by sidekick Adie Gallagher, has inspired the team to ECL and Ryman League success as well as reaching the 2008 Wembley FA Vase final. Reflecting on his near-change of allegiance, he said: “I didn’t really want to but I was a young lad and come the next morning I rung Bill straight back and said ‘can you rip it up?
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“He said that he would rip up the forms but he told me years later that he never did rip it up. How true that is I don’t know.”
Punton recalled yesterday. “I wanted to sign him because he was such a good player. He played inside forward but was versatile and scored a lot of goals. I was very disappointed not to get him. I think Paul Chick talked him out of it. I had a very good team at the time and he would have been a very good addition.” Punton spent 21 years as Yarmouth manager and seven at Diss, winning the FA Vase with the Tangerines at Wembley in 1994, when he was named national Non League manager of the year.
“You have got to admire what Micky has done at Lowestoft. He is a one-club man as a player and a manager and you don’t find that too often these days. He is the one that got away from me but he is a nice lad and he has done well at Lowestoft.”
• Micky Chapman didn’t mark the moment as he would have liked on Tuesday night – Lowestoft losing 2-0 in the Suffolk Premier Cup semi-final.