Wycombe Wanderers F.C.
|Full name||Wycombe Wanderers Football Club|
|Owner||Wycombe Wanderers Trust|
|2017–18||League Two, 3rd of 24 (promoted)|
Wycombe Wanderers Football Club // is a professional association football club based in the town of High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England. The team play in League One, the third tier of English football.
The club plays at Adams Park, which is situated on the western outskirts of High Wycombe, and they traditionally play in quartered shirts of navy (Oxford blue) and pale blue (Cambridge blue). The club's nicknames are "the Chairboys" and "the Blues".
The current manager of the club is Gareth Ainsworth, who was appointed as player/manager following a period during which he served as caretaker manager, after Gary Waddock was relieved of his duties following a 1–0 defeat at home to Wimbledon on 22 September 2012. Ainsworth retired from playing at the end of the 2012–13 season. He is assisted by Richard Dobson.
The club was awarded the Family Club of the Year award twice in a row in 2006–07 and 2007–08. This is the only time that the award has been given to the same club in consecutive seasons. The club received a Football League Family Excellence Award after the 2009–10, 2011–12 and 2013–14 seasons.
Formation and early years (1887–1921)
The exact details of the formation of Wycombe Wanderers F.C. have largely been lost to history. A group of young furniture trade workers started a team to play matches in 1884. This team was called North Town Wanderers.
In 1887, a meeting held at the Steam Engine public house in Station Road, High Wycombe saw the formation of Wycombe Wanderers F.C. It is highly likely the club was named Wanderers after the famous Wanderers, winners of the first F.A. Cup in 1872. The club played friendly matches between 1887 and 1896. It first entered the F.A. Amateur Cup in 1894 and the F.A. Cup in 1895. In 1895 the club moved to Loakes Park, which would become its home for the next 95 years. In 1896 the club joined the Southern League and competed in the Second Division until 1908.
In the summer of 1908 the club declined the invitation to retain their membership of the Southern League. The club decided to pursue amateur instead of professional football and joined the Great Western Suburban League and remained there until the outbreak of the First World War. After the hostilities had ended the club joined the Spartan League in 1919 and were Champions in successive years. In March 1921 the club's application to join the Isthmian League was accepted.
Amateur years (1921–1974)
The club remained a member of the Isthmian League until 1985, when they finally accepted promotion to the Alliance Premier League. For over sixty years the Wanderers sought to be the greatest amateur club in the country. One of the club's greatest achievements came in April 1931 when the F.A. Amateur Cup was won for the only time. The Wanderers beat Hayes 1–0 in the final at Highbury, home of Arsenal. The club also reached the first round proper of the F.A. Cup for the first time in November 1932, losing to Gillingham in a replay at Loakes Park.
The club remained active during the Second World War, competing in the Great Western Combination, which was won in 1945. In 1947 Frank Adams, who had captained the club to its double Championship victories in the Spartan League and made 331 appearances for the Wanderers, scoring 104 goals, made arguably his greatest contribution when he gave Loakes Park to the club. It provided the basis for a period of unprecedented success in 1950s.
The club appointed Sid Cann as coach in 1952 and he led the Wanderers to their first Isthmian League title in 1956. The title was successfully defended the following season, and the club also reached Wembley for the first time in their history. They were beaten 3–1 by Bishop Auckland in the final of the F.A. Amateur Cup in April 1957. Their North-East rivals were something of a nemesis having also beaten the Chairboys at the semi-final stage in both 1950 and 1955. The second round proper of the F.A. Cup was reached in December 1959 when the club was defeated 5–1 by Watford at Vicarage Road. The stars of the team included winger Len Worley and striker Paul Bates.
Cann left the club to join Norwich City in 1961 and the club's fortunes took something of a downturn during the 1960s. That changed in December 1968 when Brian Lee was appointed as the club's first conventional manager. He changed several aspects of the club including team selection, which up to that point had been chosen by committee. He led the Wanderers to a third Isthmian League title in 1971 and it was again defended successfully in 1972. The club suffered yet more F.A. Amateur Cup disappointment at the semi-final stage, losing 2–1 to Hendon at Griffin Park, Brentford.
A fifth Isthmian League title was won in 1974 and the following season it was defended yet again, this time by the narrowest of margins, a superior goal difference of 0–1 to Enfield. In the same season the club created history by reaching the third round proper of the F.A. Cup for the first time, losing 1–0 to First Division Middlesbrough in a replay at Ayresome Park having drawn 0–0 at Loakes Park.
Loss of purpose (1974–1984)
Lee retired as manager in 1976 and again the Wanderers suffered a decline. A significant factor was the abolition of amateur football by the F.A. in 1974 which left the club without a sense of purpose. The Wanderers rejected the invitation to join the Alliance Premier League on its formation in 1979 and again in 1981 with concern over the increased travelling costs. The club reached the semi-finals of the F.A. Trophy for the first time in 1982 but lost out to Altrincham. A seventh Isthmian League title was won in 1983 but promotion to the Alliance Premier League was again turned down.
Football League dream (1984–1993)
As a consequence crowds at Loakes Park dropped to record lows and the club finally decided to bite the bullet in 1985, accepting promotion to the Gola League, having finished third in the Isthmian League Premier Division. The club's first season in a national league ended in disappointment, with the Wanderers relegated on goal difference. They soon returned after romping to an eighth Isthmian League title in 1987 after a battle with Yeovil Town. The club consolidated their place in the newly named GM Vauxhall Conference and under manager Jim Kelman they finished in fourth place in 1989. The following season would be the club's last at their Loakes Park home. It was a disappointing season on the field with Kelman being asked to resign following an ignominious defeat to the Metropolitan Police in the F.A. Trophy.
The club appointed Martin O'Neill as his successor and he went on to lead the Wanderers to unprecedented success. The club moved to its new Adams Park home in 1990 and it was marked by a glorious return to Wembley. Kidderminster Harriers were beaten 2–1 by the Blues in the final of the F.A. Trophy in May 1991 in front of a then-record crowd. The following season ended in bitter disappointment after finishing second to Colchester United on goal difference with both clubs level on 94 points, consequently missing out on promotion to the Football League.
Football League (1993–2004)
The club recovered to become only the third in history to do the Non-League double. The Wanderers claimed the Football Conference title before winning the F.A. Trophy again, beating Runcorn 4–1 in the final at Wembley in May 1993. O'Neill rejected the chance to manage Nottingham Forest that summer and much to the Wanderers' delight he led the club on to even greater glory. In their inaugural season in the Football League they finished fourth in the Third Division to qualify for the play-offs. Carlisle United were beaten in the two-legged semi-final and a wonderful performance saw Preston North End beaten 4–2 in the final at Wembley in May 1994.
Due to league re-organisation the club missed out on a play-off place in their first season in the Second Division, finishing in sixth place in the table. It proved to be the end of an era as O'Neill accepted the offer to become manager of Norwich City in June 1995. Former Crystal Palace manager Alan Smith was appointed as his successor but he failed to win over either the players or the supporters and was sacked in September 1996. John Gregory took over the hot-seat and steered the club to safety on the penultimate weekend of the 1996/97 season. He left to manage Aston Villa in February 1998 and youth team boss Neil Smillie was given the job.
Smillie was sacked in January 1999 with the team looking destined for the drop. Lawrie Sanchez was given the task of keeping the club in the Second Division and a miraculous escape was achieved on the final day of the season when Paul Emblen headed home the winner seven minutes from time to beat Lincoln City 1–0. As a result of this result, the club acquired a new mascot, in the form of the Wycombe Comanche. A fairytale season followed in 2000–01 as the club reached the semi-finals of the F.A. Cup. First Division sides Grimsby Town, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Wimbledon were all beaten before a memorable quarter-final with Premier League Leicester City. Striker Roy Essandoh headed an injury-time winner to seal a 2–1 win at Filbert Street. The semi-final at Villa Park saw Liverpool pushed all the way before claiming a 2–1 victory.
The following season promised much but results tailed off and the season after that was one of struggle. Sanchez was eventually sacked in September 2003 and his successor Tony Adams failed to save the club from suffering only its second ever relegation. At the time the Wanderers were English football's last members' club but at an EGM in July 2004 the members voted by a narrow margin to restructure the club as a Public Limited Company. Chairman Ivor Beeks, Director Brian Kane and sponsor Steve Hayes all subsequently invested in the club, with an approximate total value of £750,000.
Post-modern era (2004–2012)
Adams remained in the manager's job for just a year, resigning in November 2004, and John Gorman was appointed as his successor. He established an entertaining side which set a record of 21 league games unbeaten at the start of the 2005–06 season. A double tragedy hit the club with midfielder Mark Philo passing away following a road accident in January 2006 and Gorman's wife Myra losing her battle with cancer in March. Subsequently the team's form slipped and they fell from top spot to eventually finish in sixth place. Cheltenham Town won the two-legged play-off semi-final 2–1 and Gorman was relieved of his duties in May 2006.
Paul Lambert was appointed manager in June 2006 and led the club to glory in the League Cup. Having never passed the second round, the club defeated Fulham away, and then knocked out the then Premier League side Charlton Athletic in the quarter-finals. They faced the then Premier League champions Chelsea in the two-legged semi-finals and drew the first leg 1–1 at Adams Park before being beaten 4–0 in the second leg at Stamford Bridge. The side's league form subsequently suffered and a number of changes were made in the summer of 2007. The team reached the League Two play-offs in 2008 but were beaten 2–1 on aggregate by Stockport County. Lambert resigned shortly afterwards.
Peter Taylor was appointed as his successor in May 2008 and he led the side to another lengthy unbeaten start which lasted 18 games. The side was nine points clear at the top at Christmas but results soon tailed off and the team crawled over the line, finishing in the last automatic promotion place, ahead of Bury by virtue of a superior goal difference of just one. The summer of 2009 saw Steve Hayes become the first sole owner of the club, converting £3m of loans into equity. He also announced his intention to move the club into a community stadium based on the site of the Wycombe Air Park.
Taylor was sacked in October 2009 after a poor start to the season and was replaced by Gary Waddock who was unable to save the club from relegation back to League Two. Waddock did however guide the Wanderers straight back to League One at the first attempt. He led the side to a third-place finish, and achieved a points total of 80, the highest the club had recorded since its promotion to the Football League. In July 2011, after much argument and debate, Wycombe District Council announced that work on the community stadium proposed at Wycombe Air Park would stop.
Wycombe Wanderers kicked off their 2011–12 League One season on 6 August 2011, with a 1–1 draw against Scunthorpe United at home. However, after a long battle against relegation, Wycombe were relegated back to League Two on 28 April 2012, after a 4–3 home defeat to Notts County.
Supporters' Trust buys the club (2012–) and promotion to League 1 (2017–18)
On 30 June 2012, the Wycombe Wanderers Supporters' Trust formally took over the club. This financial stabilisation ended a transfer embargo. Gary Waddock took advantage of this immediately and signed several new players for the 2012–13 season. The season also included their 125th anniversary, and the shirt design was an adaptation of their first-ever kit, in Oxford and Cambridge Blue halves (instead of quarters).
Wycombe kicked off their new season in League Two with a 3–1 victory away at York City. Despite this strong start, Wycombe went through a bad period soon after and for a while sat just above the relegation zone in League Two. On 22 September 2012, after Wycombe's third successive defeat, Waddock was sacked as manager with immediate effect.
Former club captain, Gareth Ainsworth was immediately named as the caretaker manager in Waddock's absence. Just over a month later, on 8 November 2012, Ainsworth was named as Wycombe's permanent manager. He signed a contract, lasting for the rest of the season. Ainsworth revitalised the squad and the club as a whole, and steered Wycombe safely away from the relegation threat. Wycombe eventually ended the season in 15th place, nine points clear of relegation. At the end of the season, Wycombe's player-manager Gareth Ainsworth announced his retirement from professional football (after an 18-year career), although he signed a new two-year contract as Wycombe manager.
The 2013–14 season was a disappointing one for Wycombe, although it did end in a positive way. On the final day of the season, 3 May 2014, Wycombe were three points adrift of safety in the relegation zone of League Two. However, after a 3–0 win away at Torquay, and Bristol Rovers losing to Mansfield Town, Wycombe achieved dramatic survival in the Football League, finishing above Bristol on goal difference, in 22nd place.
Following the near relegation of the previous season, Gareth Ainsworth released seven players from the club, including defender Leon Johnson who had made 200 appearances in 7 years. During the summer break, Ainsworth rebuilt his squad, with the notable addition of Paul Hayes for a second spell at the club. The 2014–15 season was a huge improvement for Wycombe, as they spent the majority of the season in the automatic promotion places. However, two costly home defeats to Morecambe and local rivals Oxford United led to a finishing position of 4th, setting up a play-off fixture against Plymouth Argyle.The play-off final took place on 23 May and within five seconds of kick-off Wycombe midfielder Sam Saunders pulled his calf muscle and had to be substituted for Matt Bloomfield in the fourth minute. During the regular 90 minutes both teams had a goal disallowed, but neither managed to score. Four minutes into extra time Wycombe were awarded a free kick just outside the Southend penalty area, Joe Jacobson took the free kick and the ball hit the cross bar bounced off the ground before colliding with keeper Daniel Bentley and into the net. Southend continued to put pressure on Wycombe until Joe Pigott scored in the 122nd minute to tie the game at 1–1 and send it to a penalty shoot out. Southend won the shoot out 7–6 when Sam Wood's effort was saved by Bentley.
The 2017–18 season was one better than the 2014–15 season: Exeter and Notts County both losing respectively combined with Wycombe winning their penultimate game of the season ensured promotion to EFL League One, joining Luton Town and EFL League Two champions Accrington Stanley.
Wycombe's stadium is known as Adams Park, and is located on the edge of an industrial estate in the Sands area of High Wycombe. The stadium was named Adams Park in honour of benefactor and former captain Frank Adams. The club has played at the stadium for over two decades, since 1990 when the stadium was built. During the 2003–04 and 2004–05 seasons, the stadium went under the name the "Causeway Stadium" for sponsorship reasons. The move was financed almost solely by the sale of the club's former stadium Loakes Park to the health authorities to facilitate the expansion of Wycombe General Hospital.
The stadium has a capacity of 9,350 with four stands. The original Main Stand (Beechdean Stand) is on the north side of the stadium, with a capacity of 1,267. The largest stand in the stadium is the Woodlands Stand on the south side of the ground, which was built in 1996, replacing a covered terrace. It has two tiers, the upper tier being known as the Frank Adams Stand (like the stadium, named after former captain Frank Adams); the lower tier is the (Origin) Family Stand. The stand has a total capacity of 4,838. The away section of the ground, on the east side, is the Hillbottom Stand (Lords Builders Merchants Stand) with a usable capacity of 1,816 (although the physical seating capacity is actually 2,059). This stand was rebuilt in 2001, almost doubling its previous size. The stadium also has one terrace, on the west side, which is the Valley Terrace (BMI Healthcare Terrace) and is the home supporters' end. It has a capacity of 1,429.
The new club shop was built in 2006, replacing the portakabins that used to serve as the shop. Wycombe Wanderers also shared the stadium with Aviva Premiership Rugby union team Wasps between 2002 and 2014.
The club's average home league attendances since 1980/1981 (* = approximate figure).
- As of 30 August 2018.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.
- See also:Category:Wycombe Wanderers F.C. players – a list of all Wycombe Wanderers players with a Wikipedia article.
- See also:List Of Wycombe Wanderers F.C. Players – a list of all Wycombe Wanderers players with over 100 appearances for the club.
Footballing and medical staff
- 1896–97 – Joined Southern League Division Two.
- 1908–09 – Joined Great Western Suburban League.
- 1919–20 – Joined Spartan League.
- 1921–22 – Joined Isthmian League after two successive Spartan League titles.
- 1930–31 – FA Amateur Cup Winners.
- 1953–54 – Missed runner-up spot in Isthmian League on goal average.
- 1955–56 – Isthmian League Champions.
- 1956–57 – Isthmian League Champions (2nd time); FA Amateur Cup runner-up.
- 1957–58 – Isthmian League runner-up.
- 1959–60 – Isthmian League runner-up.
- 1969–70 – Isthmian League runner-up.
- 1970–71 – Isthmian League Champions (3rd time).
- 1971–72 – Isthmian League Champions (4th time).
- 1973–74 – Isthmian League Champions (5th time).
- 1974–75 – Isthmian League Champions (6th time) (on goal average).
- 1975–76 – Isthmian League runner-up.
- 1976–77 – Isthmian League runner-up.
- 1978–79 – Rejected invitation to join the Alliance Premier League.
- 1980–81 – Rejected invitation to join the Alliance Premier League.
- 1981–82 – FA Trophy semi-finalists.
- 1982–83 – Isthmian League Champions (7th time) rejected promotion to the Alliance Premier League.
- 1985–86 – Joined Alliance Premier League, relegated after one season.
- 1986–87 – Rejoined Isthmian League; Isthmian League Champions (8th time).
- 1987–88 – Rejoined Conference (ex-Alliance Premier League).
- 1990–91 – FA Trophy Winners.
- 1991–92 – Conference runner-up (missed title and promotion to Football League on goal difference).
- 1992–93 – Conference Champions; FA Trophy Winners (2nd time); Promoted to Football League Division Three.
- 1993–94 – Promoted to Division Two after play-offs (Final – Wycombe Wanderers 4 Preston North End 2 at Wembley Stadium).
- 2000–01 – FA Cup semi-finalists.
- 2003–04 – Relegated to Division Three, which was then renamed "League Two".
- 2005–06 – Not promoted after play-offs (SF Wycombe Wanderers 1 Cheltenham Town 2, Cheltenham Town 0 Wycombe Wanderers 0 – Aggregate 1–2).
- 2006–07 – League Cup semi-finalists, beating Premiership Charlton Athletic and Fulham away from home, and finally falling 5–1 to Champions Chelsea on aggregate, following a 1–1 draw at Adams Park.
- 2007–08 – Not promoted after play-offs (SF Wycombe Wanderers 1 Stockport County 1, Stockport County 1 Wycombe Wanderers 0 – Aggregate 1–2).
- 2008–09 – Promoted to League One after finishing in third place (above fourth-placed Bury on goal difference by a single goal).
- 2009–10 – Relegated to League Two.
- 2009–10 – Football League Family Excellence Award.
- 2010–11 – Promoted to League One after finishing in third place (above fourth-placed Shrewsbury Town by one point).
- 2011–12 – Relegated to League Two.
- 2011–12 – Football League Family Excellence Award.
- 2013–14 – Escaped relegation to Conference on goal difference.
- 2014–15 – Not promoted after play-offs (SF Plymouth Argyle 2 Wycombe Wanderers 3, Wycombe Wanderers 2 Plymouth Argyle 1 – Aggregate 5–3, F Southend United 1 Wycombe Wanderers 1 at Wembley Stadium, Southend United won 7–6 on penalties).
- 2017–18 – Promoted to League One a week before their final game against Stevenage after winning against Chesterfield combined with losses for both Exeter City and Notts County in the two places immediately below them.
Source: Wycombe Wanderers at the Football Club History Database
Coaches (until 1968) and managers
|Gareth Ainsworth||2012–present (player/manager 2012–2013)|
- Football League Two/Football League Third Division
- Football Conference
- Isthmian League
- Spartan League
- Champions: 1919–20, 1920–21
- London Fives
- Champions: 1994, 1995
- FA Cup
- Semi-finalists 2000–01
- FA Cup Giant Killers Award: 2000–01
- Football League Cup
- Semi-finalists: 2006–07
- Football League Trophy
- Southern Area finalists: 1993–94
- FA Trophy
- Winners: 1991, 1993
- Football Conference Shield
- Winners: 1991–1992, 1992–1993, 1993–1994
- Football Conference Charity Shield
- Winners: 1987–1988
- FA Amateur Cup
- Winners: 1930–31
- Runners Up: 1956–57
- Youth Alliance Cup
- Winners: 2010–11
TV & film appearances
- In an episode of Impractical Jokers entitled "British Invasion", the two losers were target practice in front of a large audience.
- "Wycombe Wanderers Stadium Plan". Wycombe Wanderers.
- "Andrew Howard moves into Sporting Director role as Trevor Stroud becomes Chairman". Wycombe Wanderers.
- "Ainsworth appointed permanent manager". Wycombe Wanderers.
- "Family Excellence Award". The Football League website. The Football League Limited. Archived from the original on 30 March 2013. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Blues rewarded by Football League". Wycombe Wanderers.
- Adams, Duncan (2004). Essential Football Fan: The Definitive Guide to Premier and Football League Grounds. Aesculus Press Ltd. p. 209. ISBN 1904328229.
- Goldstein, Dan (2000). The rough guide to English football: a fans' handbook 2000–2001. Rough Guides. p. 604. ISBN 1858285577.
- Walters, Mike. "Wally meets... John Gorman". Mirror Online. Trinity Mirror plc. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Lambert named new Wycombe manager". BBC website. BBC. 30 June 2006. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Peters, Dave (20 May 2008). "Search begins for fifth boss in five years". Bucks Free Press.
- "Hayes becomes new Wycombe owner". BBC website. BBC. 7 July 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Dunhill, Lawrence. "Wanderers and Wasps owner: 'We want new stadium to be in Booker'". Basingstoke Gazette. Newsquest Media (Southern) Ltd. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- "Wycombe and Taylor part company". BBC website. BBC. 9 October 2009. Retrieved 12 March 2013.
- Wycombe Wanderers Trust complete club takeover
- "Gary Doherty & Matthew Spring head five Wycombe signings". BBC Sport. 3 July 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
- "York 1–3 Wycombe". BBC. 18 August 2012. Retrieved 18 August 2012.
- "Statement: Waddock relieved of duties". Wycombe Wanderers. 22 September 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2012.
- "Gareth Ainsworth gets Wycombe Wanderers job for season". BBC Sport. 8 November 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2013.
- "Gareth Ainsworth commits to the Chairboys". Wycombe Wanderers. 22 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2013.
- "Torquay 0–3 Wycombe". BBC Sport. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Bristol Rovers 0–1 Mansfield". BBC Sport. 3 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Wycombe Wanderers release Leon Johnson and eight others". BBC Sport. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 14 May 2014.
- "Wycombe Wanderers sign Paul Hayes from Scunthorpe United". BBC Sport. 15 May 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
- "Southend United 1–1 Wycombe Wanderers (7–6 pens)".
- "Chesterfield 1–2 Wycombe Wanderers". BBC Sport. 28 April 2018. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
- Official website
- Supporters Trust website
- Official Wycombe Wanderers Supporters Association website
- Chairboys On The Net (includes season by season archive)
- Gasroom 2.0 (fans' forum)
- Chairboys Archive (1959–2006)
- Wycombe Wanderers since 2006 (complementary to the above)
- Wycombe Wanderers F.C. on BBC Sport: Club news – Recent results and fixtures
- Every match result and League table since they joined the Football League