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Former Groundsman Chapman Dies
Tuesday, 8th Nov 2016 20:40

Former Town groundsman Winston Chapman died earlier today, aged 76.

Chapman, known as Wiggy, worked for the club for 23 years and was the head groundsman between 1975 and 1996.

Blues legend Kevin Beattie recalled Wiggy, who had been ill for some time, taking a great deal of care over the Portman Road surface during his time in charge.

“He was a great guy, one of the best groundsmen we ever had,” Beattie told TWTD. “The pitch was like his baby, he wouldn’t let anybody on the pitch unless you’d got permission from the boss [Bobby Robson]. He was a lovely man.

“He was a character, all the players loved him. We used to take the Mickey out of him by sneaking on the pitch because we knew he’d always be watching us and you’d hear, ‘Get off, the boss hasn’t given you permission, get on the practice pitch!’.”

Beattie says he and fellow centre-half Allan Hunter spent a lot of time with Chapman in his shed under Churchmans.

“Every day when we went into training, we’d get changed and go straight into Wiggy’s hut because we knew what time they put the kettle on and we’d sit and have a cup of tea and a fag with him.

“Hundreds and hundreds of times Cyril Lea or Charlie Woods would come in because they knew exactly where we were, me and Big Al. ’Come on you two, it’s about time we started training’. So we’d have to put our fags out and drink our tea down.

“I can’t imagine there were a lot of teams where the players would go into the groundsman’s hut to have a fag and a cup of tea.

“He actually put a fence up for me at one of my other houses many years ago. He was always a laugh and a joke. He’ll be sadly missed.”

Photos: Action Images/Contributed

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martin587 added 20:52 - Nov 8
Very sad to hear,our pitch was the envoy of most clubs.R.I.P. Wiggly.My thoughts go out to your family and friends.

Sporall added 20:55 - Nov 8
RIP Winston.

runaround added 21:04 - Nov 8
RIP Wiggy. I used to do pitch treading back in the late eighties

TotalBlue added 21:22 - Nov 8
RIP Wiggy. I worked with his wife at ST Clements for a couple of years lovely lady and he(the very few times I met him) was a true gent if the family ever come on here My deepest sympathies and prayers are with you...

northernblues added 22:13 - Nov 8
Great article,

rgp1 added 22:21 - Nov 8
@ run around i used to do the replacing of divets as well from the late eighties to around 1995. I remember wiggy had a fridge with tinnies in his hut. Proper football days rip wiggy.

stantheman added 22:26 - Nov 8
He was a very good footballer as well. He played centre forward for Charsfield, where he lived in or near, in the S&IFL. Remember watching him play when my father, who was also a centre forward for Charsfield in earlier times, took me to watch games in the area. A thoroughly good bloke.

BlueysNosebag added 23:16 - Nov 8
Sad to hear this. I had to spend a couple of days in hospital in February this year and Wiggy was in the bed next to me. A very nice man who shared a few tales with me from his time at Portman Road. RIP Wiggy.

soapy added 23:48 - Nov 8
I worked with Wiggy as part of the "divot stampers" in the 90's. We got in free each match in return for walking up and down the pitch at half time and full time under Wiggy's direction. We loved working for Wiggy and got used to his rather direct feedback when we didn't do as directed. A true part of Ipswich Town and the wonderful time before the Premier League and corporate takeover. A time when we were part of ITFC. Wiggy was one of the last links to that great time and era. RIP Wiggy. Top man.

Churchmanschild added 00:30 - Nov 9
Sad news, I worked under him for 5 years on the ground staff Rest in Peasemore wiggy

Churchmanschild added 00:31 - Nov 9
Sad news, I worked under him for 5 years on the ground staff Rest in Peasemore wiggy

Churchmanschild added 00:31 - Nov 9

sirmichealmills added 09:51 - Nov 9
I used to work with wiggy as one of the "pitch walkers" at halftime back in the day, really nice bloke. Remember him in the old hut,under the churchmans, as we reported in for duty lol.

Rest in peace.

Pendejo added 19:13 - Nov 9
Best pitch in the country wasn't it?


blueboy1981 added 17:48 - Nov 10
A time of great memories both for Wiggy, and the footballing era - anyone who missed the quality of this man's work really missed something special.

R.I.P. Condolences to all Family and Friends.

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