(Friday 7th February 2020)
Gareth Ainsworth hits another landmark in his Managerial career when he takes control of Wycombe Wanderers for the 400th time in a competitive First Team fixture as Bristol Rovers visit Adams Park on Saturday 8th February 2020.

Ainsworth has already become the longest serving Manager in Wanderersí Football League history and in October 2019 became the current longest serving boss in the top four tiers of English football.

The former QPR player took over as Caretaker Manager of Wanderers in September 2012, following the departure of Gary Waddock Ė taking charge for the first time in Wycombeís 3-0 defeat at Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday 29th September 2012.

This is some of what a then 39 year-old Ainsworth said following his appointment as Caretaker boss:

ďFirstly, I want to thank Gary (Waddock) for what he did for my career and for Wycombe Wanderers. Itís not nice to see someone lose their job, especially when they are your friend as well as your manager. When he found out, he said to me Ďitís your turn Gaz, grab it with both handsí. I donít want to let him or anyone else down, Iím going to give this my best shot and see what comes. Iím sure Gary will find another job, but heíll be the first to recognise that weíve got to get points on the board, as well as passion, spirit and drive back into this club. I want the lads to respond and the team that go out there on Saturday will give that.

Iím glad that I had that stint at QPR because it put me in that coaching frame of mind. Iíve got my ĎBí Licence and Iím working on my ĎAí Licence. Iíve put the work and graft in over the past 24 years in my career. Iíve got a lot of experience on the pitch, now Iíve got to transfer that to the boys here. I need to get my tactical head on and find out ways we can break down teams, defend against teams. Itís a real challenge and Iím glad Iíve got Dobbo (Richard Dobson) and Lee Harrison alongside me, two great guys who know a lot about football. Itís going to be total passion, total emotion and I know Iím going to be shattered after games. Hopefully itíll all be worthwhile.

I donít want to discount myself as a player but thereís a tough job to do as caretaker manager. Thatís got to come first. If we can get that back, coupled with our talented squad, we will start picking results up. It starts Saturday and Iím really looking forward to it.Ē

Talking about the difficult decisions regarding the playing squad, he added:

ďI canít play 25 players. Iíll pick players on individual games Ė what I think will work in one game might not work in another. It will be horses for courses for me, thatís the way modern football is going. Iíll be doing that and picking the best team for that specific game. Hopefully weíll get the results, if not thereís only one person it comes back to and thatís me. Itís a tough job but Iíd be lying if I said I wasnít excited.Ē

Ainsworth also had this message to the fans:

ďPlease get behind us the best you can, as I know you can. Singing the playersí names really helps, being positive and showing everything that I would show. You all know me by now Ė I've got a lot of emotion and a lot of passion for Wycombe Wanderers. Iím so proud to have been captain, to be a player and now to be caretaker manager. Be proud to be a Wycombe fan because they need you at the moment. Itís easy to support a team when itís going well, now weíre going through a tough time and this is when true supporters come to the fore. Everyone is going to be proud when we do turn it round and weíll all be pleased to say we were part of that.Ē

Explaining what sort of Manager he hoped to be, he concluded:

ďWhat I found out at QPR was that I donít hold anything back. I was nearly in tears one Tuesday night when we beat Birmingham 1-0. Thatís what Iíll show. I canít hide emotions, if Iím angry youíll see it, if Iím emotional youíll see it, if Iím upset, if Iím tearful with joy youíll see it Ė youíll see everything. Hopefully people will respond to that and say Ďheís not hiding anything, heís passionate and thatís what Gareth Ainsworth is all aboutí. You will get everything Iíve got, everything, every little bit of passion that oozes out of me for football will be seen.Ē

And would he wear a suit or tracksuit?

ďIíll wear a tracksuit for now, Iím not sure the lads are ready for my suits yet! Theyíre quite cool, quite rock n roll, so weíll save them for a later date. For now, itíll be tracksuit. The long hair will stay though!Ē

Ainsworth complete record as Wanderers Manager prior to the visit of Bristol Rovers was:

Played 399
Won 161 (40.4%)
Drew 101 (25.3%)
Lost 137 (34.3%)

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