The Ryman Football League
Published 21st February 2012
....1,000th time that Micky Chapman has taken charge of the Trawlerboys.
He is the second Ryman League manager to reach that landmark - Wealdstone's Gordon Bartlett did so two years ago, and is still going strong.
Chapman, though, has the edge because he also played 480 first-team games for his club. Of those, fifty-three were as a player-manager so Tuesday's match will be the 1,427th in which he has been involved with the senior team. Add on thirty-six reserve appearances, and he should reach a grand total of 1,500 later this year.
His unbroken involvement with Lowestoft spans thirty seasons during which he has never asked for nor been offered a contract, such is his commitment to the club and the support he has received from successive chairmen.
In January 1981, as a promising young striker with Beccles Town in the Anglian Combination, he attracted the attention of Lowestoft manager Jimmy Moran and he made his debut in a 1-1 Eastern Counties League draw with Braintree on 31st January 1981.
It was a good time for Suffolk football – Ipswich Town were top of the old Division One.
His initial stay would last for just three games but a new manager, Paul Chick, brought him back to Crown Meadow and he made his second ‘debut’ on 29th January 1983, in a 5-0 victory at Ely City. His first goal arrived two matches later, in a 3-2 defeat by March. He was to go on to score 193 times in competitive first-team matches.
Even from those early days his passion and commitment to his home-town club was clearly apparent for all to see and he seemed destined to become the manager at some time in the future. He quickly progressed from promising striker to club captain, assistant manager (1992), caretaker-manager in January 1994 and was finally confirmed as manager in the summer of 1994.
A persistent back injury denied him the chance of taking his appearance record well past 500: he took part in only fifty-three of the club's 175 matches while he was a player-manager.
His final appearance on the pitch was a cameo performance as he came off the bench in the closing minute of an Eastern Counties League game against March on 29th March 1997, but he ended in style by putting in the cross for Alan Barnard to head the final goal in a 10-0 victory.
As a player Chapman’s only trophy success was an Eastern Counties League Cup winners medal in a 2-1 victory over Great Yarmouth Town in season 1983/84, and it was to be the club’s only silverware for over twenty years.
He was close to being sacked as manager early in 1996 and the club even had someone lined up to take temporary charge of the next game. But chairman Roy Harper backed him, threatening to resign if Chapman left, and he remained in charge.
The trophy drought ended when the Suffolk Premier Cup was captured in 2000 and since then success has been almost non-stop, with eight trophies, two promotions and a Wembley appearance in the FA Vase final.
The Trawlerboys joined the Ryman League as Ridgeons League champions in 2009, won the Division One North title at the first attempt and almost made it three successive promotions last season, only to lose 4-3 at Tonbridge in a thrilling play-off final.
Today they are third in the Premier table, seven points behind the leaders with three games in hand.