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Frank Adams was born in the village of Downley, near High Wycombe on 5th September 1891. He left Priory Road School at the age of 12 and after completing his photographic apprenticeship he was soon playing with Wycombe Wanderers in the Great Western Suburban League.
In 1912 Frank joined the Isthmian League club, Shepherds Bush, who then played at Loftus Road, now QPR's ground. This proved a good move and a successful season ended with a tour overseas with matches against Cologne, Essen, Duisburg and Bilbao Athletic where Frank scored the only goal of the match before the King and Queen of Spain.
Despite these successes Frank Adams returned to his beloved Wycombe Wanderers and was elected Captain for the 1914-15 season. War broke out however, and being a territorial soldier Frank was sent to France with 1st Bucks Battalion. During the war he transferred to the Royal Flying Corps and at the end of hostilities he played a number of matches for the RAF team. On demobilisation Frank returned home to lead a club revival which brought the Spartan League Championship home twice and saw Wycombe (and Wimbledon) gain acceptance for membership of the Isthmian League.
Before his retirement in 1928 Frank Adams won representative honours with F.A. XI, Isthmian League, Berks & Bucks F,A. and Middlesex Wanderers. Following his playing retirement, Frank was appointed a member of the Club Committee and had the satisfaction of seeing the Wanderers enjoy probably their finest season, 1931, when they won the Amateur Cup.
Away from the football field Frank was also proving himself a success in the worid of business with his sports goods and photographic business operating from a shop on Oxford Road, High Wycombe. This success was to be to the benefit of Wycombe Wanderers too.
Since 1897 Wycombe Wanderers tenure of Loakes Park had been by virtue of a leasehold interest from Lord Carrington, The underlying insecurity of this situation had troubled the Club and, in particular, Frank Adams and as the Second World War was coming to a close in 1945, he began negotiating with Lord Carrington for the purchase on his own account of the freehold of Loakes Park. Two years later, having acquired the freehold, Frank Adams generously gifted Loakes Park to Wycombe Wanderers. The deeds were formally presented to the Club on 19th April 1947, before the Isthmian League match versus Corinthian Casuals, and Frank declared in his speech; "If future generations obtain the same enjoyment out of Loakes Park as it has given me in the past, then this gift will have been worthwhile". Frank Adams had the honour of Patron bestowed upon him in gratitude for this act. The only condition to the gift of Loakes Park was that it be held "in trust" for the purpose of playing amateur football so long as Wycombe Wanderers were in existence and that if the club dissolved, then the land would be vested in the Local Authority for sporting activities.
The Trustees' role was a passive one until 1968 when the Health Authority sought discussions with the club for the expansion of Wycombe Hospital, Two years later, a consultative document showing plans of the extension over the whole of Loakes Park was produced and was strongly opposed by the Trustees who realised the difficulty of finding another site for the football club. The Trustees felt it prudent, however, to seek out possible sites and over the course of the next decade discussions were held with several developers with planning application being submitted (and refused) for a site at Four Ashes, Terriers. Eventually, at the suggestion of the Planning Officer, Hillbottom Road was considered and despite a number of setbacks along the way, the Trustees negotiated a deal with developers which has led Wycombe Wanderers to Adams Park - named after our benefactor. Frank Adams. Sadly, Frank Adams died shortly after his 90th birthday in 1981 but he knew his fellow Trustees would secure the future of the club at Loakes Park or elsewhere. Frank was survived by two sons - Don who was a rugby enthusiast and who played for the Harlequins, and Jack, a lifelong Wycombe supporter who as a baby, was regularly pushed to Loakes Park in his pram by his mother, Jack succeeded Bill Hayter as Trustee in 1970 and, as a Chartered Surveyor, became heavily involved with the ground relocation negotiations until the dissolution of the Trustees when Wycombe Wanderers was formed as a limited company. Subsequently, Jack Adams had the honour of Patron bestowed upon him in which position he still remains with the Club today.
The Adams family name will remain in the Club for the forseeable future by virtue of its new home - Adams Park.
Above first published 1990 in an official brochure to commemorate the closure of Loakes Park.
Frank Adams' 90th birthday on 5th September 1981 brought several tributes, including one from Sir Stanley Rous who wrote the following in the Wycombe matchday programme,
"Heartiest congratulations to Frank Adams on reaching his 90th birthday. Frank is a Life Member of the Football Association and is one of the stalwarts of the Amateur football era. His contributions to the Wycombe Wanderers Football Club are legendary and I am sure are dutifully recorded.
"I first met Frank when he was a player for Wycombe Wanderers in the Isthmian League and I was a referee. As a member of the Football Association selection committee for many years Frank travelled abroad with England representative teams and was always an affable companion. On his various trips he collected souvenirs, photographs and press cuttings which are his treasured possessions."
Club Secretary John Goldsworthy added to the tribute in the same matchday programme dated 8th September 1981
"The Club owes a great debt of gratitude to Frank, firstly as a player, then as a Coucillor of the Football Association where amongst his many duties he looked after the interests of the Club. Shortly after the War Frank assured the future of the Club by presenting Loakes Park to the Club under a Trust Deed.
To Frank we would say congratulations on your birthday and we pay tribute to what you have done for this Club and more particularly to a life-time spent in the furtherance of the game we all love - football."
Jack Adams passed away in April 2002 but before his death he wrote the following piece about his father in the “Out of the Blue” book by Pete Lansley published in 1992.
“Since moving to Adams Park, I am sometimes asked what Frank would think of all this.
My late father Frank was passionately fond of football and, in particular, football at Loakes Park where he played for 12 years. It was this that prompted him to acquire the ground and donate it to the club in 1947. He wanted to ensure future generations would have the continued opportunity to play for Wycombe. At that time it seemed Loakes Park was secure forever.
The first indications that the club might have to move appeared in about 1970 when the hospital authorities published a glossy discussion document showing a new hospital on the neighbouring football ground. Frank was in total opposition.
During the early years of the discussion, Frank maintained his opposition to the scheme as he did not want the club to move away from the town centre. But by the time of his death in 1981, Frank, more reconciled, was aware of the various options on offer.
To answer the question, I think I can say without doubt that Frank would have been very well satisfied with the extraordinary success of Adams Park."
Jack also wrote the following for the Wanderers programme published on 19th April 1997
"Fifty years ago to the day, Frank Adams presented the deeds of Loakes Park to the Trustees of the club. He did this because he wanted to ensure that Wycombe Wanderers could maintain its position as a leading amateur football club, and give local young men the incentive to play football at a level which him himself had enjoyed.
He was aware that apart from the building at Loakes Park, the club had no assets, neither did it have any security of tenure on the land. This was a precarious position for any football club to be in.
Little did he know at the time how vital his generous gift would become when in 1985, just four years after his death, the club decided to move from Loakes Park. Without the sale of the assets he had provided, the club as know it today might never have existed.
So it is fitting that we should remember with gratitude this important date in the history of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club.
On a personal note I would like to pay tribute to the memory of my father who over 70 years with the club as a player, official and later a Patron, gave me an interest in Wycombe Wanderers - something which I have treasured from a very early age.
I have been privileged to witness and play a small part in the development of the club over the years to its proud position in the Football League today.
The award winning Adams Park, named after my father, is a worthy memorial to the past and present members of the club, in whatever capacity, who have contributed to the success of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club and long may it continue."
Loakes Park presented as gift to Club by Frank Adams
The move to Adams Park in August 1990 - what they said
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