Thursday, August 08, 1985

Wycombe Wanderers FC

Wycombe Wanderers 3 Tottenham Hotspur 3 - Friendly

High Wycombe, often referred to as just Wycombe, is a large town in Buckinghamshire. It is 29 miles west-northwest of Charing Cross in London; this information is also engraved on the Corn Market building in the centre of the town. High Wycombe is the second largest town in the county of Buckinghamshire after Milton Keynes. The name Wycombe comes from the river Wye and the old English word for a wooded valley, combe. Wycombe appears in the Doomsday Book and was noted for having six mills. The town once featured a Roman villa (built 150–170 AD) which was excavated three times, most recently in 1954. Mosaics and a bathhouse were unearthed at the site on what is now the Rye parkland. High Wycombe was the home of Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. High Wycombe remained a mill town through Medieval and Tudor times, manufacturing lace and linen cloth. It was also a stopping point on the way from Oxford to London, with many travellers staying in the town's taverns and inns. From 1940 to 1968 High Wycombe was the seat of the RAF Bomber Command. Moreover, during World War II, from May 1942 to July 1945, the U.S. Army Air Force's 8th Air Force Bomber Command, codenamed "Pinetree", was based at former girls' school at High Wycombe. This formally became Headquarters, 8th Air Force, on 22 February 1944. Since 1968 all commands of the Royal Air Force have been housed at RAF High Wycombe.

Loakes Park

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. In 1895 the club moved to Loakes Park. 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.

Loakes Park

This Pieman visited High Wycombe by catching the train from London Marylebone station the walk from the station to Loakes Park taking around 15 minutes. The stadium is situated very close to the town centre next to the hospital. An entertaining pre-season draw with visitors Tottenham Hotspur was witnessed with the teams sharing six goals.

Programme: 25p


Subsequent visit to Loakes Park

10 October 1989 - Wycombe Wanderers Tottenham Hotspur - Gary Lester Testimonial

No comments: