Gifted and talented PE students at Ormiston Denes Academy met former students Ady Gallagher and Mick Chapman at a special event organised by academy press officer, Julie Durrant, who is involved in researching the academy’s alumni.
The LTFC managers were greeted by Year 8 student Taran Pledger who has just been selected to represent Suffolk in gymnastics, and Year 9 student Oscar Hall who plays football for Waveney.
The students heard how Ady and Mick attended The Denes as students in the mid seventies. Ady Gallagher later returned to teach maths and was also head of year. Ady recalled his school friendship with Sean Harris, a former Denes drama student who recently won an Oscar for best actor.
Mick Chapman told the students how much he had always loved football and sport and how he remembers being broken-hearted when he was not picked to be part of the school football team. Following this disappointment he had a trial to play rugby and he described how a particularly nasty scrum put him off, ironically forcing him to stick to football.
Click here to read the full article on the Lowestoft Journal’s website.
Q: When you left school did you play at a higher level or coach?
Mick: I played in the first men’s team at Eastern Coach Works, then BecclesTown and then Lowestoft. I have been with the club for 33 years and was fortunate to play for Lowestoft and for Suffolk. I had a trial for Club Djerv 1919 in Norway but I decided to return to Lowestoft. I played as a striker, I was then captain, assistant manager, leading to manager in January 1994. Mick reached his 1000th game as Lowestoft’s manager in 2012
Ady: I played for North Lowestoft which Waveney Youth was originally known as. I was team captain. At the age of 21 due to a knee injury I had to stop playing and returned as a coach for the successful youth team 15 years ago.
Q: What’s the best advice you have ever been given?
Ady: Always judge people for yourself. This is really important in sport and in life. Some people get false ideas about people and misjudge them.
Mick: I played with John Pawsey (Waveney Gymnastics Club chairman and coach) in Lowestoft Youth. John played in my team with Martin Hubble (Ipswich Town FC). John told Mick: “Never give up. Believe in yourself – make that dream come true.” Mick said that was the best bit of advice he has ever had.
Q: Can you describe your diet?
Ady: The group we have now is the most professional we have ever had and do generally watch what they eat; lots of pasta, healty food and lots of fluid.
Mick agreed that they were very disciplined.
Q: What is your best overall achievement so far?
Ady: Taking Lowestoft to Wembley for the FA Vase and to see so many people (15/16,000) in the stadium. It was lovely to hear all the good wishes of support. Everywhere you looked were local people in the stands. We felt we did something for the whole town. It was a great achievement. And getting promoted into conference football – a dream we maybe had a few years back – also a marvellous achievement.
Q: What was the biggest hurdle you overcame to become the person you are today?
Ady: I didn’t work hard enough at school, so when I left school I had to work exceedingly hard to forge out a job to earn money. I had to catch up later on. If you are ambitious and want to do well, school is when it starts. You need to work hard. It will open doors when you leave.
Mick: I found it hard to believe in myself. I was very self-critical and needed people and friends to encourage me.
Q: Do you have any pre-match routines?
Mick: I always have a coffee before I do the talk. At half time Ady will do the talk and the huddle. This routine works well. Also I have to put on my gear in a certain order – socks first followed by shorts and shirt!
Ady: I don’t have too many superstitions. We have a discussion about finalising the team, I write it up on a board along with positions and roles whilst Mick has his chat with the players.
Q: If you weren’t a football manager, what would you be?
Mick: I always wanted to be a footballer. I didn’t get into teaching until quite late. I did have a spell when I wanted to be a policeman. It was when I was in Oriel working with students who had behavioural problems that I enjoyed helping students and seeing them achieve and be successful – so I probably would have gone into teaching.
Ady: I wanted to be a teacher when I was at school. If it wasn’t for football I would have gone into teaching.
Q: What are your biggest challenges?
Mick: Juggling work with managing a football club. All the players have jobs too – it is a massive challenge to juggle and to be happy.
Ady: The higher you go, the harder it becomes; checking players’ wellbing, getting the squad fit, working full-time, travelling greater distances, etc.
Q: Who have been your toughest opponents so far in your career?
Mick: One of our top toughest opponents I can think of was WhitleyBay who we played in the FA Vase semi final. We knew it would be tough.
Ady: There will always be challenges. You shouldn’t allow that to get to you. Local derbys are always tough and at the same time inspirational; we had some great games in the Ryman Premier playing against Leiston and Bury for example.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
Ady: Relax! My fiancé and I like to go out with our dogs and try to keep our days off clear of work to that we can relax.
Mick: I like to spend time with my wife and our new addition – a Bijon Frise called Ralphie. We like to go to the cinema and to go out for lunch.
Q: Do you have a motto or a saying that you live your life by?
Mick: “Think what ever you want to think, because you can’t get into trouble for thinking, but you can for saying it!”
Ady: “Put your trophies on the table.” This acts as a reminder of how successful you really are.
Q: What do you do in your training that lends itself to your success?
Mick: Work hard, stick together and encourage each other.
Ady: Respect your body, make sure you give yourself the best chance to prolong your career. Really look after yourself and practice.
Mick Chapman thanked the students for making him and Ady welcome and invited them to Crown Meadow to watch a future game.
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