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Sons View Special

October 27, 2010

A special edition of Lennox Herald sports correspondent Andy Galloway’s usual programme column.

HIS first full season will live long in the memory. His second was satisfactory. All the while, his intentions were completely honourable.

But this season has proven a bridge too far for the Jim Chapman revolution at Dumbarton, which ends two months short of its third birthday. In this day and age in Scottish football, that’s not a bad innings for a manager. Bosses with the longevity of Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United are becoming a thing of the past, if they aren’t already.

Jim came to the club when it was at its lowest ebb for many years, around the bottom of the Third Division. Somewhere nobody thought it would ever go again after promotion in 2002. As his time as a player for the club ended after only 11 games, Jim’s tenure as manager was something he was determined to make a success of. Over its 34 months, that never changed.

A promotion chase was beyond pursuit at that point, so it was a matter of getting the club ready for a tilt at doing so the following season. He was given the resources and assembled the squad in plenty time to look to bring the club its first national silverware for 17 years.

A Sonstrust board colleague frequently told me during the title-winning campaign: “It’s not about what other teams do, it’s about what WE do.” How right he was. Cowdenbeath may have imploded from March to May to hand Sons the title, but the season is played for nine months, not two and a bit. Over those nine months, Dumbarton had the best record over 36 games, and won the league on their own merits.

Then a month later came the worst that football can do to you – much worse than anything on the pitch. ‘My friend, my captain, my champion’. Gordon Lennon was all those things to Jim (whose written tribute was the aforementioned sentence), and his death aged just 26 seared the manager to his soul. Naturally, a difficult start to the following season ensued.

However, gradually Sons adjusted to life back in the Second Division, and easily secured their place back there for this season. It was difficult at times, but newly-promoted teams often find it that way.

And then there was this season, which nobody can pretend has been acceptable so far. Alan Adamson, at least in the interim, takes on a difficult task in lifting the team from its current position. Ironically, he begins on Saturday against another team that has changed manager.

Despite it, there was an element of surprise about Jim’s departure from the hotseat. My last interview with him as manager, on Monday, gave very little away as to what was about to happen. But he will continue to have a role in the development of the club, which has still to be announced.

There is plenty more to say on this matter. However, that is another story which you will be able to read, elsewhere, in the fullness of time.

In the meantime, remember Jim’s tenure for the good times, instead of what has been experienced recently. There is much of it.

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