Tuesday, 8 June 2010
36. Les Chapman
Position : Left back (also played in midfield)
Played : 1983-4 to 1984-5
Appearances : 88
Goals : 0
Les was nearly 35 when he signed for us after a long career with Oldham (two spells), Huddersfield (partly in the top division), San Jose Earthquakes, Stockport and Bradford City.
He had primarily been a left sided midfield player but usually played at left back for us. There’s no doubt he had been a useful player but there wasn’t much left in the tank when he came to us. It was often left to him to bring the ball out of defence and it was particularly aggravating to see him dithering on the halfway line, afraid of being caught for pace if he took it any further, after the raiding of Eric Snookes. Les was given the job of caretaker manager after Greenhoff’s sacking but if anything things got worse culminating in the worst Dale performance of my time watching them, the 5-0 thrashing at Halifax. Despite all this he got another contract from the incoming manager Vic Halom an ex-team mate from Oldham. He finished the season in midfield after Dave Grant was signed.
Halom released him in 1985 saying he should look to move into management which he promptly did, returning to Stockport as player-manager. He played against us in the infamous game when Barry Diamond got Joe Cooke sent off which killed off any lingering affection for him at Dale. A year later he left them (in a dire state) to become John McGrath’s assistant at Preston. Amazingly, he made another 53 League appearances for them even after they went up and the Preston fans of my acquaintance thought he was a useful player. He eventually succeeded McGrath as manager and lasted two years before being sacked. He moved on to coach at Manchester City where, apart from a brief spell coaching at Huddersfield, he’s been ever since, currently working as kit man.