SANCHEZ DEPARTURE AFTERMATH
(Wednesday 1st October 2003)
The annoucement of the departure of Lawrie Sanchez from his position as Manager of Wycombe Wanderers represents a massive turnaround in the opinion of the Wanderers' Board of Directors. It was as recent as a Supporters Forum in April that Director Alan Parry claimed that Sanchez's position as Manager had never been discussed at Board room level. A dozen or so weeks later, including the close season break, and Sanchez was being shown the door following a run of ten League games without a win.
A comment in the Club's recently issued Financial Statements for the 2002/3 also praised the Manager, saying "The Club continued to be served by a strong, loyal and stable football management team led by Lawrie Sanchez." The statement was signed and approved by the Board of Directors on 1st September 2003.
The sequence of events leading up to the annoucement is also shrouded in mystery. It was literally only 30 minutes after the final whistle of the midweek game at Tranmere on Tuesday 30th September that an official press statement was release. It read "Wycombe Wanderers announce that they have today parted company with their manager, Lawrie Sanchez. The search for a replacement will start immediately. Interim arrangements will be included in a more detailed press statement to be issued within the next 24 hours."
Wanderers had lost by an unfortunate Danny Senda own-goal at Prenton Park but it was clear from the speed of the statement that the decision to get rid of the Manager had already been made well in advance. The previous weekend at Port Vale Wanderers had put in an improved performance to draw 1-1 against a side that had a 100% home record prior to the visit of Wycombe but it's understood that Sanchez was already aware that his time was up. Coincendently, Club Chairman Ivor Beeks had returned from an extened golf holiday in Portugal the previous Thursday especially to attend a Football League EGM. It now appears that wasn't the only business on his return to the UK as he cynically wielded the axe on a Manager that was under critcism from a growing number of Wanderers fans and had allegedly began to upset the apple cart behind the scenes too.
In an extended statement released on the Club's official website on the afternoon of Wednesday 1st October, Ivor Beeks commented "The Club has experienced a long run of poor league form, which started in the second half of last season and has so far continued into the current season. The Board decided this was unacceptable and could not continue. The mood of the fans, the players and all those connected with Club needed a lift and we believed this would be best achieved through the appointment of a new manager. Our plans for the future do not have Division Three football anywhere near the radar screen and it is important we turn things round quickly. Lawrie Sanchez had achieved a few minor miracles during his time at Wycombe Wanderers and we will never forget his achievements in rescuing the Club from the imminent threat of relegation shortly after his appointment and then taking us to the FA Cup semi-final in 2001. More recently, things have not been going so well and the Board were of the opinion that concerted action was needed to halt the slide. Undeniably, our league form has to improve and we were not convinced this would be achieved with Lawrie Sanchez at the helm."
The Chairman then went on to thank Sanchez for his four and a half years of involvement at Wycombe Wanderers and wish him every success in the future. The vacant position will be advertised and interviews will start as soon as possible. A further statement on the morning of Thursday 2nd October revealed that John Gorman, former Swindon Town Manager and assistant to Glen Hoddle at both Southampton and Spurs, will take temporary charge of team affairs up to including the visit to Swindon on Saturday 1st November.
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