Debenham Leisure Centre’s fortunes are on the up

DEBENHAM Leisure Centre will officially open a stand in memory of club stalwart Claude Chapman tomorrow as their fortunes improve on-and-off the field.

The Claude Chapman Stand, a covered standing area for more than 100 spectators, will be opened at 2.15pm before the Division One side’s home match against Halstead Town which is being sponsored by members of his family.

Kevin Snell, the club’s vice-chairman, said: “He was a big character and supporter of the club and did a lot of fund-raising on our behalf, and it will be fitting to honour his contribution in this way.”

A traumatic summer followed relegation with the departures of manager Mel Aldis and secretary David Marshall, which coincided with the appointment of new boss Rob Allum from Framlingham Town.

Allum then subsequently resigned due to work commitments in September and was replaced by Dale Vince, who has since steadied the ship and guided Debenham to fifth in the Division One table.

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Snell paid tribute to Allum during his short tenure at the club. He said: “Rob took the job on at a difficult time and attracted several new players to the club, who have stayed with us, so he played a significant role in getting us through a tough period.

“I think that encouraged Dale Vince to take the job on, whereas it would have been less appealing to him in the summer because of the circumstances at the club. Dale and his assistant, Jason Pettitt, are doing very well together.”

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Not long after Vince took over as manager Debenham had to concede their Ridgeons League Cup tie away to Premier Division table-toppers Wroxham due to the unavailability of several players because of work commitments.

Although the club wrote a letter of mitigation Debenham have since been fined the maximum �500 by the Ridgeons League for cancelling the fixture.

Snell, who praised the behind-the-scenes contribution of chairman Stephen Anderson, said: “We have had to take it on the chin and move on. After the uncertainty of the summer people have pulled together and are working really hard and we are doing quite nicely at the moment.

“I believe if you put a lot into something you get a lot out of it, and the club is turning things around.”

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