CHAIRBOYS ON THE NET
20 YEARS ONLINE
December 1995 - December 2015

Chairboys on the Net 'celebrated' 20 years online during December 2015 and looking for a way into a piece about this latest anniversary I noted that former Wanderer Jordon Ibe was born the day before our first report was uploaded (home to Wrexham on Saturday 9th December 1995). I used to think that I was getting old when the players were younger than me. Now some of the players are younger than the website!

A link over on the right takes you to a piece written for the 10th anniversary of COTN. There you can read the quaint nostalgia of running a website via a dial-up connection. That piece ended with the comment: "Here's hoping that some day in the not too distance future we can celebrate an internet first promotion." The first 'internet promotion' took a further three and half-years but the other high and lows during the ten year period from December 2005 to December 2015 once again proves there never seems a dull moment following Wycombe Wanderers.

So briefly, this was Wycombe Wanderers 2005-2015
2 Promotions - The first promotion came in May 2009 under Peter Taylor when despite losing on the final day at home to Notts County, Wanderers squeezed up in third place on goal difference over Bury. Two years later we could celebrate promotion again as victory over Southend United, again on the final day, secured third spot and a return to 'League One' under Gary Waddock.

2 Relegations - Before 2011, Wanderers could never be described as a 'yo-yo' club but promotion in May 2009 followed by relegation from 'League One' in May 2010 under Gary Waddock started a trend. Wycombe were back in 'League One' a year later but the yo-yo went down again in May 2012, relegation being confirmed on the penultimate Saturday of the season when we somehow managed to lose at home to Notts County. A week later we played in front of a 38,000 crowd at promoted Sheffield Wednesday.

5 Managers - John Gorman was Wanderers boss back in December 2005. Events on and off the field later that season led to his depature. Paul Lambert, Peter Taylor, Gary Waddock and Gareth Ainsworth followed. All quite different characters but all likeable people and all bought something different to the Club. Perhaps worth noting that as of December 2015 Gareth Ainsworth was Wanderers second longest serving Manager in the Football League (3 years, 1 month) after Lawrie Sanchez (4 years, 7 months).

2 Play-Off Semi-Final defeats - Play-off semi-final defeats feel a bit of a waste of a season. The first came in May 2006 when we ran out of steam against Cheltenham Town. Two years later Paul Lambert took Wanderers to a play-off showdown with Stockport County. That tie ended in defeat too over two legs. It is a reminder of the changing fortunes of Football Clubs to notice the different paths Wanderers and County have taken since.

1 'dreamland' run to the League Cup Semi-Final - Not quite up there with the FA Cup run of 2001 but hugely memorable never the less. The victory at Charlton in December 2006 will go down as one of those special evenings following the Wanderers. The semi-final against Chelsea ended in defeat but Jermaine Easter's goal at Adams Park in the 1st leg promoted one of the biggest Wycombe goal celebrations seen at the ground.

1 'miracle' escape from relegation from the Football League - The faithful Wycombe fans who turned up at Torquay on Saturday 3rd May 2014 had one eye on facing relegation to the Conference and possible financial oblivion, while the other eye (or perhaps ear) was looking for the set of results that would keep Wanderers in the Football League. I have just checked back again and yes it did happen!

1 'cruel' Play-Off Final defeat at Wembley - As we said in the match report, the football dictionary definition of 'cruel defeats' was re-written at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 23rd May 2015. It was still an amazing achievement to reach Wembley for the first time in 21 years and for many Wycombe fans, their first chance to visit the famous venue to see the mighty Wanderers. One day we will banish the feelings of missing out on promotion.

Like the previous ten seasons, running alongside the football achievements have been the off the field politics and tragedies. I don't intend to go over the politics of the past ten or more years. COTN has been a means of attempting to document these sagas and if nothing else may help end a few arguments. The first significant off the field event following the 10th anniversary came with the death of Mark Philo on 14th January 2006. The circumstances are now well documented but the grief at the time was a reminder that the importance of the game is sometimes exagerrated. Losing our great friend and contributor Steve Maguire in August 2012 brought that point home too. Sometimes you have to remind yourselves that on the field, a simple defeat one week can always be overcome by victory the next. Wanderers recent history is proof of that.

So on finishing this look back at the past ten years of COTN, I thank all the readers, younger and older than the website and look forward to celebrating a 25 Year Silver anniversary in five years time. By my calculations, that should involve at least one promotion and one memorable cup run - plus the other stuff.

Paul Lewis - December 2015

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