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|1993-1994 RETRO INDEX
|Retro - A look back on the 1993/94 season
Jan 1994 - Triallist earns holiday for 'Boot Hill' boys
Wanderers' players went into the home game with Mansfield Town on Tuesday 25th January 1994 with an added incentive to gain three points but this was only revealed after triallist Mark Cooper's goal had given Wycombe a 1-0 victory. Explaining the situation later in the season Martin O'Neill said "You would have honestly thought in the dressing room that we had won the World Cup. But we had in a sense because we had been set a bit of a target by myself and the Chairman - the possibilty of going away for a four or five day break hinged on winning this particular game. We had a target of 21 points to get out of a possible 30. We left ourselves with a lot to do by winning the last four games, culminating in beating Mansfield. That night we had actually taken 22 points out of a possible 30 and the trip was on." O'Neill continued "If the lad Cooper never did another thing, well he didn't at this Football Club, he is forever in the memory of the players because he won a trip for them" Cooper, the 25 year old son of former England and Leeds United full back Terry Cooper, had been signed on a month long contract by O'Neill and had come off the bench to thump home Terry Evans' 74th minute flick-on.
Commenting after the game O'Neill said he astonished to hear some fans booing prior to Wanderers taking the lead. He later wrote in his programme notes "We had just lost possession - for the sixth time in less than a minute, mind you - and jeering broke out from a section of the ground. However, within two minutes we scored and the boos stopped. I obviously assumed the jeering was directed at the team and I was naturally disappointed that, in our first season in the Football League, with us lying in second place, the crowd would choose to turn on us the first time life was a little uncomfortable. Don't get me wrong, I have always said that if you pay your money you are entitled to say anything you want; clap, cheer, jeer, moan or boo. I just didn't expect people to remonstrate so quickly. What chance would we have if we dropped out of the top six I was ruefully thinking to myself."
Before their trip to the sun Wanderers had to negotiate a game at a windy Gay Meadow as they took on 5th placed Shrewbury Town on Saturday 29th January 1994. The game was all-ticket for Wanderers 1,000 travelling fans amongst the 5,967 crowd and they saw Lee Turnbull miss a chance to give Wycombe the lead when he missed a 21st minute penalty following a foul on Steve Guppy by Mark Williams. Then after Terry Evans had seen a header saved early in the second-half it was the home side that began to gain the upper hand. However, there were just six minutes remaining when Dean Spink turned and shot past Paul Hyde from the right side to claim all three points for The Shrews. Wanderers remained 2nd in the table, despite the defeat. However, Shrewsbury moved up to third and were now just two points behind the Wanderers, with two games in hand. The leaders remained Crewe, four points ahead of Wycombe.
Some Wanderers fans spoke to O'Neill prior to the game at Shrewsbury regarding his comments about the booing against Mansfield. They claimed the boos had been directed at Adams Park stewards who had been under orders to 'quell the noise'. O'Neill responded again in his programme notes, saying "Cynically, I could remark that if this is part of the stewards' tasks, they are doing a remarkably good job. Anyway, I was pleased to be put right about the direction at which the crowd's jeering was aimed" O'Neill concluded "All I'll say is that if you are going to wait until we score before you make a bit of din your hands could be in your pockets for an unusually lengthy spell. If Adams Park ever needs renaming at any stage of its history then I suggest 'Boot Hill' as a reasonable alternative."
Martin O'Neill was also stepping his search for more players in order to strengthen the squad ahead of the final push for a place in Division Two. It was revealed that a £70,000 fee had been agreed to bring 27 year old Northampton Town skipper Steve Brown to the Wanderers and he was due to sign on Monday 7th February 1994. Meawhile O'Neill had not given up trying to tempt Simon Garner to the club from West Brom and the 34 year old was also expected to sign for Wycombe ahead of the Autoglass tie at Fulham.
Other news saw Mark West score on his Aylesbury United debut after he joined the Ducks on a month's loan. West had been out of action for four months after breaking his leg whilst playing on loan at Conference side Kidderminster Harriers. Meanwhile, Club skipper Glyn Creaser had joined Yeovil Town for a month long loan spell. Wanderers' Youth Team were crushed 5-0 by Millwall in the replay of their FA Youth Cup Third Round tie. A 600 plus attendance at Adams Park saw The Lions lead 2-0 at the break before sealing the tie in the second period. Wanderers Youth Team players were still part-time at this stage and were generally out fought by the full-timers for South London. Wanderers would introduce their first YTS system in 1994/95.
Off the pitch matters saw Club Secretary John Goldsworthy have a 'right old pop' at the contributors to The Adams Family fanzine. In his 'Behind the Scenes' column in the matchday programme versus Mansfield, he commented "The 'pamphlet' is a clear indication that the so called staff are incapable of any original thought. The name of the game is utilising the thinking and work of others to malign their efforts to obtain cheep (sic) laughs. It is appalling that the genuine and time consuming efforts of contributors, who give freely of their leisure time should be the subject of the inane natterings of a nomad collection."
Goldsworthy had got upset by an article in an Issue of the fanzine that mimicked his regular column where he eulogised the virtues of wine, satellite TV and car mileage gadgets. Goldsworthy concluded by inviting the Adams Family team to take over his column, "I therefore handover this page to the gang of eight (the voice of the fans) who can take it rotation to fill this page with their orginal natterings, if any." However, responding in the local press a TAF spokesman said "Mr Goldsworthy is obviously bitter about the whole fanzine thing. We did not mean our column to cause offence and we don't claim to be the voice of the fans." They claimed the article was a friendly, tongue-in-cheek look at the notes and turned down the offer of writing in the programme, adding "We have no interest in writing for the programme, we write purely for fun." Read the article here.
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