All the latest news brought to you by Chairboys on the Net October 1998 News
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Wycombe have been drawn at home to Chesterfield in the First Round Proper of the FA Cup. After last season's farce against Basingstoke this isn't going to be easy but Wycombe could do with a good run to boost the coffers and keep the momentum going. The match with Chesterfield takes place on Saturday 14th November. Tickets available from the usual outlets plus before and after the game with Man City on Tuesday 10th November.
Wycombe have three massive games within the next month starting with the visit of Reading on Saturday 31st October. This is followed by the first ever league visits from Manchester City (Tuesday 10th November) and Stoke City (Saturday 28th November). All these games have the potential to fill Adams Park but with so few seats available for the away fans it will be up to the local public to show their support for the Club. Wycombe's record gate since the move to Adams Park in 1990 was just over 9,000 for the FA Cup clash with West Ham in 1995.
Neil Smillie has been continuing his search for players to come to Wycombe on loan. Norwegian striker Jarle Wee will not be one of them, however, after he failed to impress in the 1-0 midweek Combination defeat to Ipswich. The 26 year old plays for Haugesund, who were relegated from the top division in Norway last season.
The quest for new talent has seen a few calls to ex-blues boss now doing OK at Villa, John Gregory. Smillie has eyed up forward Darren Byfield but any move is on hold until Villa settle their own injury problems. Crystal Palace striker Marcus Bent doesn't want to play for Wycombe in Division Two despite Palace and Wycombe agreeing terms. He told the Bucks Free Press "I used to play in that division with Brentford and I've made the break from it now. I did well in the Premiership last year and I think I can do better than Wycombe."
IN BRIEF(31st October 1998)
A new issue of The Wanderer fanzine goes on sale before the home game with Reading. The lastest issue includes an interview with Jason Cousins. Available along Hillbottom Road prior to home games or via the WWISC website.
Don't forget also that Tales of a Chairboy is also available on match days. Issue Two now available - full details here.
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In a week where the Club held its AGM and gave an impromptu press conference at Adams Park, the message is loud and clear - the Club is desperate to attract back the missing fans. The nightmare start to the season has frightened away more than 1,000 fans per game compared to last season while many of those who remain have been disillusioned by the team's lack of commitment on the pitch coupled with the lack of finance available. Thursday's press conference was prompted by the new spirit found after consecutive wins against Macclesfield and Wrexham. Chairman Ivor Beeks explained the financial constraints that the Club was working under and gave details of the overdraft the Club were forced to take out. He also suggested the Board would be adopting a more open approach to fans in a bid to improve communication. With three massive home games coming in the next month against Reading, Manchester City and Stoke, Beeks said there should be no reason why we shouldn't get a full-house for all these games. Director Alan Parry said "This is a crucial month in the Club's history. These games are a big test of how badly High Wycombe wants a successful League club. The size of the crowds will help us to make decisions about which way we go in the future, it's that crucial" Beeks added "The 3,000 people who were here on Tuesday and who've stuck by us are our real supporters but we need to get the people who used to come, back, and attract new supporters in"
The improved communication idea has been tried before by Wycombe but has sadly never been taken seriously by the Club - this time circumstances are forcing the Board to suggest they have rethought their attitude - but will they keep it up is the question being asked by the fans and is the damage done in the past reversable? Supporters await with interest on how the Club are going to improve relations with supporters. Speaking at Wednesday evening's AGM, Beeks hinted that this could be in the form of regular meetings or perhaps a Director fielding questions prior to home games.
ROBSON ON LOAN(17 October 1998)
Wycombe have signed forward Mark Robson on loan from Notts County. 29 year old Robson spent the 1997/98 season at Division Three winning County having moved on a free from Charlton Atheltic in the summer of 1997. Newham born Robson began his professional football at Exeter City before a 50,000 move to Spurs in 1987. His five year spell at White Hart Lane resulted in just nine First Team appearances interspersed with loan spells at Reading, Watford, Plymouth and Exeter. Moved to West Ham in August 1992 where his career began to click with over 50 appearances before a 125,000 move to Charlton in November 1993. Made over 120 appearances at The Valley before his move to Meadow Lane. Robson made his Wycombe debut in a brief substitute appearance against Macclesfield - two weeks earlier he had supplied the cross that Gary Strodder headed home for Notts County to steal a point at Adams Park.
STALLARD OUT(17 October 1998)
Mark Stallard could be out for 12 weeks following his injury against Macclesfield. He has damaged a medial ligament and will need rest and extended treatment before he returns. Bad news also for Michael Forsyth and Steve McGavin who are both unable to train. Keith Ryan is back jogging again after his recent injury while Mo Harkin will spend two weeks at Lillishall before starting his Wycombe comeback. Paul Emblen was left out against Wrexham because of a hamstring problem and will also miss the game at Oldham through suspension - the injury is not thought to be serious. Nicky Mohan broke his nose against Macclesfield but managed to return against Wrexham while Andy Baird suffered a blow to his thigh when he scored against Macclesfield and had re-occurance against Wrexham - he will need a short rest after taking major blows in recent games.
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Helen with our card Wycombe have been drawn away to Shrewsbury Town in this season's AutoWindscreen's Shield following a bizzare draw for the First Round held live on Sky Sports Soccer AM. The draw involved the Clubs being drawn from a novelty size pack of cards. The game will be played the week commencing 7th December. Wycombe played Shrewsbury in the same competition during the 1994/95 season and lost 2-0. Shrewsbury are currently one place off the bottom of Division Three.
Wycombe have failed in a bid to bring Stewart Castledine back to the Club on loan. The Wimbledon forward played briefly for Wycombe at the start of the 1995/96 season in a similar deal. During his last spell he scored three times in six appearances but Wycombe couldn't afford the massive transfer fee and other expenses demanded by his friendly monster agent (allegedly). Casteldine is currently just recovering from injury and Wimbledon are reluctant to let him go on loan at the moment.
SMILLIE IN THE NEWS(12 October 1998)
Neil Smillie made the national press this week for all the wrong reasons. Writing in the Monday edition of the Daily Mail, Alan Fraser highlighted Wycombe's plight in Division Two inconjunction with telling everybody how well John Gregory and Martin O'Neill are doing. The near full page spread included quotes from Smillie following the defeat at Gillingham. "It's like strapping yourself into the electric chair for a while" was Smillie's analogy of sitting in the Wycombe dug-out. The well researched article included references to Jim Kelman, losing to the Met. Police and the fact that "Wycombe are not a wealthy club". Fraser finished his piece by saying "the day is nearing when the board might switch the electricity on for that chair in the dug-out"
Wycombe's appalling run of results this season it not the worst in the history of the Club...yet! But if Wycombe fail to beat Macclesfield or Wrexham in the games at Adams Park in the next week a 98 year record will be equalled of 14 competitive games without a win. Wycombe's worst ever League run was 90 years ago when they failed to win for 17 games stretching over two seasons. In the latter season (1907/08) Wycombe returned just one victory from their 18 games in The Second Division of the Southern League - conceeding 72 goals in the process and gaining just three points. It wasn't all bad though, Aylesbury United were beaten in the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup before losing to Chesham to Round Two.
JESUS - 500 UP
Dave Carroll is all set to become only the fourth player in the history of Wycombe Wanderers to break the 500 appearance barrier. He needs just two more appearances to reach this landmark but after ten years as a near permanent fixture in the Wycombe line-up, Carroll has recently been out of favour with Smillie and may have to wait a little longer for the opportunity to enter the record books. Carroll will join Tony 'Bodger' Horseman (749 apps), John Maskell (616 apps) and Len Worley (512 apps) in the Wycombe 500 club.
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Franck Rolling, the French defender signed on a non-contract basis by Neil Smillie last week, has left the Club after just two games. The ex-Leicester and Bournemouth player was a non-playing substitute in the recent game with Notts County and played earlier in the week against Chelsea reserves. However, after another outing for the reserves against Gillingham, Smillie has shown him the door.
Also playing in the Gillingham game was Dutch triallist Robin Wyngaarde. He made his own way over from Holland but played just 56 minutes of the Football Combination game before being knocked unconscious. Again Smillie had seen enough and he was soon back in Holland.
Matt Lawrence's move to Wycombe last week has been reported in the local press as involving a 100,000 transfer fee. The Bucks Free Press also reported that Lawrence rejected a new contract at Craven Cottage. Lawrence said "I turned the contract down at Fulham because it wasn't good enough in comparison with what I would have earned anywhere else" Lawrence had been out of favour at Fulham since Ray Wilkins departed and with Fayed and Keegan throwing the money at seasoned professionals, Lawrence was been frozen out. Wycombe fans may remember Keegan was involved in a derisory offer for Steve Guppy while he was Manager at Newcastle - Guppy eventually left for just 150,000 and has since moved back to Martin O'Neill at Leicester for a fee close to 1million after a spell at Port Vale. Fulham are expected to gain promotion this season having spent millions on players - but if they fail there won't be many that are upset, other than Fulham fans.
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Bill Brown from the 1931 Amateur Cup winning side - the new shirt is based on the design shownThe Club have announced the launch of a special replica shirt in memory of the 1931 Amateur Cup winning side. The shirt will be near identical to the shirt worn by the Wanderers in the 1931 Final against Hayes at Highbury. The shirt will also feature the badge of the time - a large white swan within a shield. The replica shirt will cost just under 40 and orders are now being taken at the Commercial Office and Wanderers in Town and should be available by Christmas.
The picture opposite shows a specially colourised photo of Bill Brown from the 1931 cup winning side - he scored six goals during the cup run and is still the fifth highest all time scorer for Wycombe Wanderers with 190 goals between 1925 and 1939. He missed a penalty in the final itself with just six minutes remaining but Alf Britnell followed up to clinch a 1-0 victory for the Chairboys.
This is the first time the Club has marketed a 'vintage' shirt and sales are expected to be good. Wycombe are due to change the First Team kit at the end of the current season and there has already been talk of re-introducing the plain light blue kit as modelled by the new mascot 'Bodger'. Chairboys on the Net says - "Don't even think about it".
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Matt Lawrence could be returning to Wycombe in time for the League meeting with Notts County at Adams Park on Saturday. Lawrence left for Fulham in February 1997 on a free transfer - although Wycombe did eventually receive a small fee relating to appearances. Wycombe will need a fee approaching 50,000 to bring 24 year-old Lawrence back. He made just over 20 appearances for Wycombe after being signed by Alan Smith from Grays Athletic at the start of 1996. He has since gone on to play over 60 games for Fulham and was their Young Player of the Season in 1997/98.
Having failed to make new signings last week, Neil Smillie has been disappointed again when Bristol Rovers 32 year-old centre-half Andy Tilson agreed terms but then injured his knee and is now waiting an operation. The chase goes on for Bristol City's Steve Torpey while Keith Scott could be back from injury to face Notts County. A player that has been signed though is 6'2" defender Franck Rolling. The 30 year old has played under Martin O'Neill at Leicester City having moved to Britain via Ayr United and FC Pau of France. Last season he scored 8 goals for Bournemouth in just over 30 appearances.
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Neil Smillie was said to have looked shell-shocked after a 'discussion' with Chairman Ivor Beeks following the 2-1 defeat at Colchester last Saturday. Sources close to the situation believe that Beeks is beginning to get impatient and unless results improve soon, Smillie could be shown the door after less than six months in charge. However, speaking briefly to the Bucks Free Press after the midweek defeat at Fulham, Beeks said "Neil's the manager, there's no question to ask. Neil's got to get us out of this mess and he's the man to do it"
The players have also put the dreaded vote of confidence in the Manager. Jason Cousins told the local press "He's (Smillie) got the confidence of the players. We're all behind him and Gary Micklewhite 100%. The players have got to take the responsibility themselves."
The vast majority of Wycombe supporters are also sympathetic with Smillie who has been given the absolute minimum budget to work with and seen key players suffer long term injuries. A small amount of money has now been made available for new players but most supporters are saying it's too little, too late. Beeks and his fellow Board members have been taking growing criticism in recent weeks, mainly directed at the financial policies of the Club. Supporters are now paying up to 80% more for a season ticket than they were in 1996/97 and along with the poor results have seen average gates drop by over 1,000 this season compared to last. Many supporters feel that Smillie, who is on a three year contract at Wycombe, should be given time to put things right. A change of Manager would do little to change the situation but a change of direction from the Board might encourage more people to attend even when times are bad.

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