Many Happy Returns for Ex-Players Dinner

WWEXPAAs previewed last month, the Wycombe Wanderers Ex-Players Association (“WWEPA”) played host to some great names from the past when they staged their fifth annual dinner on November 29. Heading the cast list was Martin O’Neill and many of his 1993 Double-winning heroes. The waistlines might have been a little thicker and the hair sparser or greyer, but the spirit of that FA Trophy and Vauxhall Conference champions’ squad was just as evident as it had been 20 years earlier.

When the doors to Adams Park were finally shut at 1.30am, many a story had been retold, many an event re-lived. Over 170 members and guests enjoyed a memorable re-union, reliving the best moments from that great season through video and personal memories.

MON and GeraldineTrue to form, Martin arrived just as we were making the opening announcements. But the important thing was that the new Republic of Ireland manager did interrupt a hectic schedule to return to the scene of his great triumphs between 1990 and 1995. And as a special bonus he brought wife Geraldine (pictured together left) with him as well.

Martin gave co-presenter Alan Hutchinson some good-humoured stick while recounting personal memories of that season and the 90s era which remains a club highlight. Others to relive the double-winning moments were club captain Glyn Creaser, 1993 Player of the Year Keith Scott, local hero Keith Ryan and fans’ favourites Steve Guppy, Matt Crossley, Anton Vircavs, Hakan Hayrettin and Steve Thompson.

1993 ReunionPlayers from the last six decades joined in the Happy Birthday greetings for John Reardon’s 81st birthday. Some of Wycombe’s greatest heroes were there including Tony Horseman, Charlie Gale, Dave Thomas, Barry Baker, John Maskell, Larry Pritchard, Paul Birdseye, Howard Kennedy, Bob Dell, Keith Samuels and Keith Searle.  And as always we were particularly delighted to see 1957 FA Amateur Cup Final veterans Len Worley, Mike Wicks and Jackie Tomlin along with other colleagues from the 50s. The 1980s squads were well represented too and they obviously enjoyed themselves.

With former managers Brian Lee, John Reardon, Alan Gane and of course Martin O’Neill all present, current boss Gareth Ainsworth and his assistant, Richard Dobson, had time to seek plenty of advice as well as handing out the trophies to all our 2013 event winners. Great to see them take time out to attend.

Former chairman Ivor Beeks was away on a pre-arranged holiday but sent his warmest regards to the players who had helped make his reign so special. And new chairman Don Woodward and members of the Trust board were able to discover exactly what made the club tick back in the ‘good old days’.

It wasn’t all football. After a great performance of Classic Sinatra, the talented Mr Ian Gallagher got everyone up dancing.  And it was wonderful to see 99-year-old club President Monty Seymour bopping away until midnight.

As well as the funds put into the club’s coffers from ticket and bar sales, WWEPA was also able to help their nominated charity, Bucks Air Ambulance, which will benefit by £1,000 from the raffle with more to come from the next WWEPA event, the annual quiz on 15th March 2014.

Because of the lateness of the finale, they didn’t get the proper chance to thank everyone who helped make the night such a success. But WWEPA would like to thank each and everyone one of you including Kelly Calvert and Becci Redmond from the club who – through a double booking of the room – put in an 18-hour day to make this dinner the success it was.

All pictures courtesy of Paul Dennis and available from: dennis.photo.football@dsl.pipex.com