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NEWS FROM WEEK ENDING 30th January 1999
BEEKS ON McGAVIN(27th January 1999)
Club Chairman Ivor Beeks was forced to issue a statement on Wednesday explaining the situation regarding the sudden departure of Steve McGavin. According to Club Press Officer Alan Hutchinson, the Club received "a load of abusive mail" on the subject to which the Chairman got "a bit upset about". The statement in full read as follows:
"Steve McGavin came to see me on a number of occasions prior to his leaving, asking for an early release from his contract due to very serious personal family circumstances. During my meeting with Steve it was clear that his reasons for wanting to leave the football club with both urgent and genuine and I acceded to his wishes in order to help the player through a very difficult period in his life."
"As a result of releasing Steve from his contract the Football Club has been able to save a considerable sum of money through his contract and Steve advised me very clearly that he was not prepared to sign a new contract at the end of the season even if one was offered. I trust this clears up some of the misgivings that supporters may have and at the same time show the Club to be very understanding to a players personal problems."
THE HUNT CONTINUES(25th January 1999)
According to sources close to the situation, Mickey Adams has joined John Ward in turning down the chance to manager Wycombe. The ex-Fulham and Brentford boss was interviewed by the Club on Thursday (21st January) but has since given a negative to taking the post. Terry Evans will be in charge for the trip to Chesterfield on Saturday (30th January). and Wycombe fans are now pencilling in the Fulham home game on Saturday 6th February to welcome the new Manager and/or vent their feelings of the last few weeks. The Club have hinted that an announcement could be made early in the week commencing 1st February.
McGAVIN QUITS(22nd January 1999)
Steve McGavin has quit the Club after nearly four years at Adams Park. The shock decision came on Friday with McGavin pointing to personal problems and uncertainty over his future at Wycombe Wanderers. The Club have yet to issue an official statement but speaking on Ringing The Blues (the Club's premium rate phone-line) McGavin said "I'm very dissappointed the way things have worked out. There are a lot of factors but Ivor (Beeks) has been really good to me." McGavin has had two bereavements in his family within the last two weeks but the fact that he has not been picked since his return to fitness is clearly a factor. "If I had been playing, I'd have been happy to stay but the Chairman has more or less said to me I didn't have a future anyway" . He went on to say "The side is struggling and I think I should have been playing.". McGavin's contract was up at the end of the season and the Club have decided to pay this off. Wycombe paid a record £140,000 for his services to Birmingham City after he had moved to St.Andrews from Colchester United in January 1994 for a similar fee. McGavin, who played his last game for Wycombe in the reserves game with Bouremouth on Wednesday (20th January), has been plauged with injuries over the last year. His last Football League game was in March 1998 when a serious problem with 'fallen arches' put his career on the line.
Having been signed by Martin O'Neill, McGavin has played under four different Managers but was very nearly sent to the scrap heap by Alan Smith. However, the departure of Smith let McGavin back in again and under John Gregory and Neil Smillie he began to click again. His full record at Wycombe was played 134, scored 17.
On his departure, McGavin added "It's a sad day for me. I've had some real good times here and the fans have been brilliant to me and I'd like to thank them for supporting me and always being 100% behind me." McGavin hopes to move nearer his family in Suffolk and could well end up returning to Layer Road as Colchester fight for their own survival in Division Two.
NEWS FROM WEEK ENDING 23rd January 1999
STILL NO BOSS(22nd January 1999)
With John Ward turning down the Wycombe job according to sources close to the Club, the hunt for a new Manager will continue into week number two. Wycombe were refused permisssion to talk to Wrexham Manager Bryn Flynn on Thursday (21st January) but were given permission to talk to Mickey Adams by Nottingham Forest on the same day. However, it was all quiet on Friday from the Club as the team enjoy a week's break from League action but still with no one in the hot seat.
Ward had apparently been the only candidate interviewed to date and met the Board on Monday evening (18th January) before giving his decision. Ward's refusal of the job offer will be a kick in the teeth for the Wycombe Board who are obviously keen to appoint a replacement for Neil Smillie as soon as possible. This latest set-back will prompt the Board to begin their search again for the right man and it could be more than a week away before another decision is made.
Ex-Fulham and Brentford boss Mickey Adams will now be many people's favourite although new names have emerged this week to add to the speculative suggestions from last week. They were Dave Bassett who seems a long shot unless he's into charity work and whoever mentioned Glenn Roeder, Mark Lawrenson or Colin Murphy need help. Paul Fairclough, recently sacked by Stevenage, has also been seen at Adams Park but with just non-League experience under his belt, is surely an outsider. Chris Kamara and Don MacKay are also interested in the job according to the local press but simply being an out of work Manager doesn't qualify you for the job.
Chairman Ivor Beeks was quoted in the Bucks Free Press on 15th January as saying "We want stabilty and whoever comes in this time around we hope he's going to be here for some time. We cannot have this on and off management we've had over the the last couple of years". Those comments will amaze many Wycombe fans who will see this as an admission of the Board's lack of judgement in selecting previous managers. The decision to sack Smillie will also cost the Club dear. He had two and a half years of his contract to run and the compensation could run into six-figures.
The new names this week include Port Vale's recently sacked Manager John Rudge but the controversey surrounding his dissmissal could prevent a quick appointment. Soon to retire Gunner Nigel Winterburn was mentioned in the national press on Wednesday (20th Jan), while Brian Horton and Alan Ball were seen at the reserve's game with Bournemouth on Wednesday afternoon - they were probably scouting but you never know. Oh yes! Has any one mentioned Gary Mabbutt? Maybe not!?
Wycombe have been known for going for the more obscure appointments in the past and Mansfield's Steve Parkin could fit that role. 33 year old Parkin has been in charge at Fieldmill since 1996 and has helped turn the Club around on a minimal squad and a shoe string budget. Mansfield are currently fourth in Division Three.
OTHER NEWS(22nd January 1999)
A Paul Read hat-trick helped Wycombe overcome Chalfont St.Peter in the previously postponed Berks and Bucks Senior Cup game with Chalfont St Peter at Adams Park on Thursday (21st January). Wycombe led 3-0 at half-time with a team of mixed first teamers and reserse players. Wycombe will be away to Marlow or Buckingham Town in the Second Round.
Wycombe Team: Westhead, Townsend, Beeton, Rodgers, Lawrence, McCarthy, Bulman (sub Gray), Lee, McSporran, Read (sub Senda) and Patton. Sub not used Scott.
A strong Wycombe team drew 0-0 with Bournemouth in the Avon Insurance Combination on Wednesday (20th January) afternoon at Adams Park. Wycombe's starting line-up included Michael Forsyth who was playing for the first time since being injured in March 1998. But Wycombe's injury nightmare continued as Forsyth was forced to leave the pitch after just 20 minutes following a problem with his previously injured leg. Wycombe's full line-up was Taylor, Wraight, Vinnicombe, Kavanagh, Mohan, Forsyth, Emblen, Brown, Carroll, McGavin and Baird. Mark Stallard also made his comeback in the second-half when he replaced Andy Baird - both players still fighting to regain full match fitness. The line-up against Bournemouth could well be the XI that takes on Chesterfield a week on Saturday due to the suspension farce described below.
YELLOW CARD FEVER(19th January 1999)
Wycombe's abysmal disciplinary record this season will come to a head for the trip to Chesterfield on Saturday 30th January. Manager or no Manager, Wycombe's squad will be short of six players thanks to the yellow card fever that has struck with venom this season. Paul McCarthy and Keith Ryan will be out due to their red cards in the game against Luton while Jason Cousins (8 bookings), Michael Simpson (8), Matt Lawrence (8) and John Cornforth (5) will miss out due to their accumulation of yellow cards. According to our card-watching guru at Chairboys on the Net, Matt Lawrence's booking against Millwall brought the card count for the season to an outrageous 100 in all competitions. This figure includes 17 yellows picked up in the Avon Insurance Combination which all count towards Football League suspensions. A further 19 cards were dealt out in the three cup competitions. Players are banned for at least one game for reaching 5 yellow cards, then a further ban on 8 and 11 cards. Red cards are an automatic one match suspension minimum.
CRAZY GANG CHASE McSPORRAN(18th January 1999)
Wimbledon scouts have apparently been keeping a close watch on Wycombe wonder boy Jermaine McSporran since his move from non-League Oxford City in November 1998. According to the national media representatives from the Premier League side have been present at several recent Wycombe games and a bid could be in the pipeline.
Wycombe would be looking to make a quick profit on McSporran to maybe fund a last ditch attempt to fend off relegation. McSporran was signed for a fee thought to be around £75,000 although City would receive an undisclosed percentage of any further transfer. Conversely, the sale of McSporran ahead of any of Wycombe's powder-puff forward line finding form, could be seen as simply throwing the towel in on a shambolic season.
NEWS FROM WEEK ENDING 16th January 1999
SMILLIE 'SACKED'(11th January 1999)
Neil Smillie has been 'released from his contract' by the Board of Directors at Wycombe Wanderers. The news was released on Monday morning in a three line statement and follows three bad performances and more significantly, three defeats. Fans and Directors alike had become unsettled over the past couple of weeks but the swiftness of the decision will still shock many fans. Terry Evans has been appointed Caretaker Manager until the role is filled on a permanent basis.
Wycombe's visit to Bristol Rovers in Division Two scheduled for Saturday 23rd January 1999, delayed due to their success in the FA Cup, has been rearranged for Tuesday 2nd March at the Memorial Ground. Wycombe fans will remember a similar timed trip to Bristol in 1998 which turned out to be John Gregory's last game in charge.
UNDER 18's GAME AT ADAMS PARK(10th January 1999)
Wycombe will host another international fixture at Adams Park on Tuesday 9th February when the Under 18's game between England and France takes place. Kick-off for the game that will be shown live on Sky TV is an early 6.05pm.
NEWS FROM WEEK ENDING 9th January 1999
MOHAN LATEST(7th January 1999)
With the breakdown of a proposed move to Scunthorpe United and the subsequent unsettling of his place in the team, Nicky Mohan has been put on the transfer list. Scunthorpe and Wycombe agreed a deal at the turn of the year but the player could not settle on terms. Mohan is on contract to Wycombe until May 2000 and has stated he would like to see his contract out at Adams Park but has been put out by being dropped from the side. The key moment in this long running saga appears to be the home game with Lincoln on 19th December when Mohan was substituted in the 78th minute to make way for the return of Keith Ryan. Mohan unwisely showed his disgust at the decision by allegedly swearing at Manager Neil Smillie in full view of the fans in the Main Stand and perhaps more significantly, in ear shot of the Board of Directors. Apparently Mohan was later called in to see Chairman Ivor Beeks and since then has not been an automatic choice in the side. York City have also been linked with Mohan but if the 28 year old decides to go, Wycombe will be keen to claw back the £80,000 fee paid to Bradford City in October 1997. The bizzare twist to this story is that Mohan claims the first he heard of the interest from Scunthorpe United was via the Internet.
PARRY TO MEET FANS(2nd January 1999)
Club Director Alan Parry has promised to meet fans to discuss the decline of attendances at Adams Park. Parry asked fans to write to him via the local press or programme and said in the York City programme "We are hoping to organise a get together of all those who wrote so that you can air your views in front of all the members of the board." Parry encouraged fans to continue writing to him.
INTO THE VALLEY(4th January 1999)
The Club backed down at the last minute on their decision to close the terrace for the AutoWindscreen game with Brentford on Tuesday 5th January. In a press release issued on Monday 4th January the Club said "Due to popular demand, the Club is doing all it can to open the Syan Stand (Valley Terrace)". The original decision to keep the Valley End closed along with the Family Stand was made by the Board as a cost saving exercise but was met with opposition by some fans. The Club have made welcome discounts available for the game but thought they could save up to £1,000 by shutting some areas of the ground. After Saturday's disappointing result against York the crowd was a quite respectable 2,010 and allowed the Adams Park faithful to sing, shout, moan and groan from their usual spot.
NEWS FROM WEEK ENDING 2nd January 1999
THE MOHAN SAGA(31st December 1998)
The Nicky Mohan saga goes on following his exclusion from the team that beat Chesterfield. The local press finally picked up on the story with the Bucks Free Press claiming "The clubs agreed an undisclosed fee but the deal collapsed when Scunthorpe cheekily tried to take him on a month's loan first". The story goes on to claim that "Smillie is unhappy that Scunthorpe's interest was leaked on the internet and reached Mohan before the boss had discussed it with him". The confusing aspect of these claims is that the first reports from Scunthorpe indicated that Mohan was the person doing the talking with Scunthorpe as early as 3rd December. Now we're to believe that Mohan didn't know of the interest until later. The deal now appears to be off as Scunthorpe could not match Mohan's wage demands.
STAND BY YOUR BLUES(26th December 1998)
Regulars on the Valley Terrace are unhappy with the decision that the Club are planning not to open this part of the ground for the home AutoWindscreens game with Brentford on Tuesday 5th January. The Valley Terrace is the only standing terraced section left at Adams Park and is the area where most of the atmosphere is generated. Fans will now be forced to sit in the upper-tier of the Woodlands Stand, the old Main Stand or stand on the level area in front of the Main Stand. The Club have reduced entrance costs to this game but cynics are suggesting that the Club are attempting some 'Social Engineering' as they prepare the fans for the short-sighted false utopia of an all-seater Adams Park or even the possiblity of giving the terrace over to away fans for high profile games (eg Fulham at home on 6 February). Fans are urging the Club to have a re-think and have been complaining strongly when buying their tickets from the Commercial Offices at Adams Park.
In what is another communication disaster for the Club, the fans have been left unconsulted despite the promise of improvements in this area back at the October AGM. To compound the ill-feeling towards Club officials, The Family Stand is also planned to be shut as a cost saving exercise. The decision could be another massive own-goal though as regulars are put-off by the flippant attitude by the Club to some of its most loyal followers. The more optimistic fans are still hopeful that the Club will change their minds if enough people complain at the Commercial Offices or to other Club officials at the home games with Chesterfield (28 December) and York City (2 January).
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