Pelican Colts FC
Over 20 years of dedication to grassroots football has led to Steve ‘Coco’ Chaplin becoming the third Unsung Football Hero. For years Coco, who lives in Bramcote, has dedicated his own time and money to Nottingham’s Pelican Colts FC. On a daily basis he maintains the ground, washes kits, organises matches and inspires the young players at the club.
Name: Steve 'Coco' Chaplin
We went to present Coco with his signed Nottingham Forest football and to ask him a few questions.
Club: Pelican Colts FC
Q: How did you get involved in football?
Coco: My involvement began by playing football at an early age and carried on playing until my late thirties. I had to stop playing due to an ankle injury, and having two kids.
Q: How did you get involved in coaching?
It became apparent that our son was interested in football from a young age. A friend told us about the newly formed Pelican Colts Football Club and mentioned they were also in need of coaches. My son was seven when he joined and now he’s 28 and I’m still at the club.
Q: What was your proudest moment with Pelican Colts?
Coco: My personal proudest moment was winning Nottinghamshire FA's 'Outstanding Contribution to Community Football 2014' award. But if I'm honest it is every weekend seeing a Pelican team with their royal blue kit on running out and enjoying football whilst playing on a fantastic surface, which I try my hardest to maintain to a high standard. It does take all my time up, but it is so worth it.
I’ve also received another award recently from Nottinghamshire FA for 'Groundsman of the Year 2015' and I came fourth in National Finals and I’m going to St George's Park to receive the award.
On the football side, my proudest moment was managing an under 11s team and winning the Young Elizabethan League Cup Final.
Q: Do your family get involved in football too?
My wife has been Club Secretary for the last 15 years and regularly serves refreshments in our ground's clubhouse; our son played his football right through all the age groups for Pelican Colts, then onto the senior sides. He now runs a local men’s team.
Our daughter has always supported the club by 'rallying' her friends’ children into the young teams and helping during tournaments and fund raising events. Her husband kindly sponsors us each year; all our family gets involved!
Q: What's next for Pelican Colts?
Coco: To carry on the great work that's done religiously not only by me, but the great coaches who are on board at the moment and are putting their heart and soul into our fantastic club. Our great footballing reputation has attracted some immense coaches into the club over the years, and I'm eternally grateful to them. They, or their families, know who I mean.
Q: Finally, are you a Forest supporter?
Coco: I have been a Forest fan all my life, and was privileged enough to witness both European Cup Final wins in person, as well as many more fantastic times with the club. Especially seeing many Pelican youngsters go to play for Forest at different levels.