Jon Dunham – Sid Chapman, the ultimate stalwart

Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.
Northamptonshire Telegraph's sports writers Jon Dunham, Jim Lyon and Alec Swann.

Every football club has its stalwarts.

You know the type of person I mean. The sort of person who is instantly recognisable when you walk through the door, the sort of person who is immediately associated with a club when you mention its name.

Sid Chapman was just that to Kettering Town.

Back in the ‘good old days’ of Rockingham Road, Sid would generally be one of the first faces you would see as you walked in.

And, whether it would be a brief chunter about the state of the pitch after the players had trained on it during the week (as they always did in those days!) or a quick whisper about a rumour or two, he would always have something to say.

His commitment to the Poppies was almost unparalleled to anything I have seen.

He was groundsman for a number of years, a lifelong fan, a financial contributor and someone who would do whatever he could if it was of benefit to the club he loved.

It was, therefore, no surprise to see some wonderful tributes made to him on social media and internet forums this week after he passed away following a long illness.

Poppies fans were well aware of how important he was to the club. Indeed, how many people still living have a section of a terrace named after them like the Sid Chapman Terrace on Britannia Road was.

And it was fantastic to see former players coming out to pay tribute to him as well.

Sid always had a close relationship with the players throughout his time and sometimes they would feel the full force of his fury after a bad performance!

But when you see the likes of Craig Norman and Lee Harper sharing their memories of him, it only goes to show what impact he had on their times at Kettering.

From a personal point of view, Sid was always brilliant with me. Again, back in the ‘good old days’ of the Northants Telegraph being a daily paper and me primarily covering the Poppies, I would often venture down to Rockingham Road for interviews with managers and players.

And whenever I walked in, there was Sid with a cup of tea and a rumour or two for me to get stuck into!

I have no doubt that all football clubs locally have characters like this and I was fortunate to know Sid well enough to pay this, my own tribute to him.

But it was the Poppies themselves who hit the nail on the head.

Part of their statement following the sad news read: “Sid Chapman, a Poppies hero and legend never to be forgotten.”

And so say all of us. Rest in peace Sid.