Today, Ellis Chapman turns 18. From the Stacey West, Happy Birthday Ellis.
I remember my 18th like it was 22 years ago. Falling about drunk somewhere, making a clumsy attempt to pull a girl a lot fitter than me before going to bed full of regret, still a little boy now burdened with the responsibility of being able to buy a drink in a pub. I’d say happy days, but I’d probably be lying,
For Ellis, things are different. He’s already had to cope with things that would have ruined me at 18; his spell away at Leicester City, the recent expectation on his shoulders here and the red card at Cambridge. Lincoln City might not be Liverpool, but there’s still a media glare as such. Other players have wilted under such pressure. Leon Mettam, a talented boy in his day, never recovered from being sent off against Hereford.
Ellis has. When he strode onto the Goodison pitch in front of almost 40,000 people you could see where he belonged. 18 or not, for me he became a man on Saturday. Slightly bulkier, sporting that beard to give him the appearance of an older, wiser head. His pass to Shay McCartan was one of the first times he’s taken the lid off his Pandora’s Box of ability too.
Previously, we’ve seen safe Ellis. He’s been a bit like Superman looking to play nicely with the other kids. We’ve heard he’s a special player, we’ve seen him adapt and cope under pressure but on the field he’s kept it very simple. Neat passes ten yards in any direction, great work rate but very much a functional player, That one pass, those ten minutes against Everton we saw our first real look of the player Danny raves about. We saw why he’s going to be such a supreme talent.
What I really like about Ellis, over and above the hype, is the lad underneath. I’ve been lucky enough to interview him twice now for the club programme and on both occasions I’ve found myself chatting to a sports-mad young lad, focused on becoming what I’m sure others tell him he can become with hard work. He’s got supportive parents, Dad Darren was a YTS player with the Imps during the early nineties and his Mum Lesley is fiercely proud of her boy as well. He appreciates that, telling me in the club programme earlier this year:
“The pressure helps me more than anything. It might sound weird; a lot of young players don’t like pressure and they like people to get off their back. Not me, I like to be pushed to the limit and encouraged. More than anything, my family are helping me massively too. I like pressure, it brings the best out of me.”
“There will always be pressure from my Dad because he didn’t quite make it and he knows what it takes to be a success. He would be incredibly disappointed if I didn’t put everything into it, he knows what can happen if you don’t make it. He’s always there for me, so is my Mum.”
On his birthday I wanted to write something that maybe he’d look back on in a few year’s time and recall fondly, but to do that I couldn’t write it alone. For Ellis’ 18th birthday I decided to get the thoughts of some other Lincoln fans too. I wanted their perceptions of young Ellis and his ability, what having ‘one of our own’ on the pitch means to them. Therefore to finish this tribute to our exciting young midfielder I’d like to hand over to Lincoln City fans for some of their thoughts but before all that, his Mum Lesley has also got a few words to say about his debut at Everton.
After the Everton game, stopping for drink and toilet stop on way home at one of the service stations with Ellis, I felt such pride. Everyone, kids and adults alike were shouting him. Even a elderly lady whispered ‘I’m sure that Ellis, it looks like him’. It was unreal for me has his mum, so humbling. I’m so proud to be part of it all and proud of the young man he has become.
When Ellis was very young, not even 18 months old, we were on a beach in Jersey where my sister lived with, him dribbling this ball so well and confidently. An elderly couple were shocked and couldn’t believe a child so young and small doing it so well. They said to say to me ‘think you have the next David Beckham there’.
He maybe isn’t Beckham (yet, Ed) but to me and all his family something he is something very special. There’s 18 years gone in a blink of an eye.
I guess he really does have the world at his feet, in the shape of a football
How lucky we are to have a young, homegrown yellowbelly in our side. Ellis Chapman has amazing awareness with the ball, excellent passing ability and huge amounts of potential to grown into a top class midfielder.
Ellis is a true Imp, with connections to the club built into his DNA. We love to get behind a player that is one of our own. Under the watchful and encouraging eyes of the Cowleys, and the support of senior players such as Lee Frecklington, Ellis has every chance of becoming another Lincoln City legend. His confidence continues to grow and his experience levels are now increasing daily.
Well done on an excellent performance against Everton Ellis, and happy 18th birthday to you!
I think that Ellis’ sending off against Cambridge came at the worst possible time for him, just as he was growing into the game and when it looked like he would get a run in the side.
It will be interesting to see if we bring another central midfielder in this month (I would like to see some more experienced cover to see us over the line), but his cameo against Everton shows how highly regarded he is by the Cowleys.
On the same pitch as Bernard, Richarlison, and Sigurdsson he provided the best pass of the game and looked really comfortable on a massive stage.
Talented left footed midfielders are hard to find (Todd Jordan and Stefan Oakes come to mind), so if he continues to grow in confidence I can see him becoming a big part of the team and attracting a lot of interest from higher levels.
It was quite fitting for Ellis Chapman when he signed his first professional contract alongside Lee Frecklington. Like Frecklington, the age-old cliché about sticks of rock applies to the youngster who you can tell simply wants to impress the supporters.
It’s so refreshing to see a player apply himself so well to the cause but at the same time play with such nonchalance. But not only that, he’s a trailblazer for every other young Lincoln City fan in the crowd. He gives every other kid something to aspire to, a role-model for every young Imp despite being only just eighteen himself.
I think Ellis is a superb talent with a wand of a left foot, he will develop in time into a powerhouse box to box player who can open up defences with passes and runs in behind.
We have a gem in Ellis and should all appreciate him while we have him as he’s going to be a proper talent and we will see more of him in League One with more maturity to his game.
Ellis’ rise from the academy to the first team has been well documented and deservedly so.
For a young professional, he does his talking on the pitch, not on social media like you find other young stars. That’s what creates such a unique bond between the supporters and the player.
In terms of on the pitch, every time I’ve seen him I have been impressed. He is so composed on the ball and isn’t afraid to try something different. His excellent ball through to McCartan at Everton in the dying moments suggested that touch of class that we can become more accustomed to this season.
I have no doubt in my mind that he will go on to achieve great things in the professional game. Hopefully, we are able to see some of the brilliance that this young man possesses in the near future.
I know he is young but I am still yet to be convinced by him. I saw him play for the youth team at SB last season and he didn’t stand out at all. Cowley sees something in him and he has a long way to go in his career but he needs to start turning promise into decent cameo roles and then kick on from there.
Great pass to McCartan at Everton and maybe that’s a sign of the promise he has, the fact Danny brought him on in that game does speak volumes. I hope he emulates Freck and goes on to captain us and becomes a club legend. Where did that beard come from?!
“I remember going to the FA Cup matches to Arsenal and places like that as a fan in the crowd. I was thinking ‘wow, maybe one day I can do all this’.” – Ellis Chapman, September 2018. Exactly four months later he was on the pitch at Goodison Park, Dreams can come true.