NEW manager Jim Chapman is desperate to be a success at Annan in order to repay the Galabank club for the support and sensitivity they showed following the tragic death of his former player Gordon Lennon.
It was confirmed just minutes after Annan’s 2-1 victory over Montrose on Saturday that the former Albion Rovers and Dumbarton manager, who has been out the game for just over two years, would take the reins.
The 47-year-old beat off stiff competition from Scott Severin, David Hannah, Rowan Alexander, Jim Weir and caretaker Euan Brydson, who left the ground devastated after being told that a third win in five games at the helm hadn’t been enough to land him the job.
Chapman recalls only too well how Annan led the tributes to his former Sons captain Lennon, who died in a car accident just weeks after lifting the Third Division trophy at Galabank in 2009.
He said: “I’ve been out of the game for a while and this is a fantastic opportunity. Annan are on an exciting journey just now and I feel this club is the perfect match for me. They’ve been a breath of fresh air to the SFL and that’s because of the people at Annan.
“They were great when my Dumbarton team lifted the trophy down there and then, more importantly, a few weeks later when we were struck by tragedy, Annan opened their arms to us and helped comfort us as a club. The way Annan in particular supported us at that time spoke volumes for them as a club and that’s something that’s always stuck in my mind. The opportunity to be part of a group of people like that really excites me.
“It’s all about the bigger picture and the long-term project, but in the short-term, making the play-offs this season has got to be a realistic aim. I’ve got every respect for Harry Cairney and his coaching staff and if they’ve deemed the current group of players competent enough to take the club forward then I’ve got every faith that we’ll be inheriting a squad good enough to make the play-offs.”
Chapman admitted he was thrilled to get the nod at a time when many SFL clubs are appointing young ex-players.
He added: “I’ve been desperate to get back into it but you do start to wonder if you’ll ever get that chance when a lot of clubs are going for younger guys. I still had the itch to scratch and felt I had unfinished business in management, but this feels like the right opportunity at the right club.”