Thanks to Elaine the ‘Unsung Hero’…..and to everyone else who helps

Here is the text of the thank you speech delivered by WWFC Director Matt Cecil at Friday night’s ‘Party at the Park’ following which long serving volunteer Elaine Cooper received the Unsung Hero Award.

“This part of the evening could go on for hours, as we recognise those unsung heroes who make this club what it is – something special and close to the hearts of thousands of people, all down to the contributions of supporters who give up their time, effort and skills for the benefit of Wycombe Wanderers Football Club.

I’ll move quickly, without wanting to do a disservice to everyone who’s played their part, and starting with those who work most closely with me on a matchday and around the media team. Shoutouts go to Jake Hayward, our stadium DJ, who continues to help in any way possible despite becoming a father for the first time earlier this year. The guys at Wycombe Hospital Radio, Keith, Tom and Joe, who deliver live commentary to patients who are unable to make it to Adams Park, and in particular Phil Catchpole, for shaking up BBC Three Counties Radio entire outlook on local coverage and getting this club back on the airwaves.

Then of course there’s the “senior pros”, Bill Turnbull and Paul Dennis, who continue to travel from afar to drag up the average age of our media team and deliver quality in everything they do. I’d also like to mention Ben Campbell – even if he did demote himself to the Franchise – and Matt Sadler, who ran the media department superbly during their time at the club.

We move on to contributors to the programme, such as Tom Bowers, Adrian Wood and Steve Wilson, who write excellent articles week in week out for nothing in return, and I have to say a massive thank you to Jamie Pike, who designs all of our posters and adverts which I’m sure you’ll agree look fantastic every time. Likewise, Chris Hendren has done a brilliant job for us helping to cast the net over Aylesbury, delivering and displaying leaflets around the town and even printing batch loads for us free of charge out of the goodness of his heart.

I’d like to give a quick mention as well for the Ex-Players Association, particularly John D Taylor, Alan Hutchinson and John Bignell, who have established this fantastic organisation which keeps us closely in touch with the club’s extraordinary history.

I’d like to thank the staff at the club, who work hard in often challenging circumstances, and keep this club ticking over on a day to day basis. A particular mention goes to Becci Redmond, who has put together tonight’s event at short notice and wins the award of proudest mother of any mascot we’ve had all season! On that note, I’d also like to thank Alan Parry for hosting tonight, and for all of his help and advice down the years.

I’d like to move on to my fellow directors and those on the Trust board, who remain thick-skinned through criticism and continue to give up their own time, free of charge, to help keep this club afloat. I’ve seen first-hand just how much dedication and devotion goes into their tasks and it makes me proud to stand alongside them at the helm of the club.

I’d like to mention the players, whose team spirit has remained strong and the belief never waivered during our most difficult season as a Football League club. Many players rightfully get the praise and hero status but there’s one man in particular I feel whose efforts are often forgotten or overlooked, and that’s Matt McClure. Matty’s Wycombe through and through, runs his socks off every game, and cares deeply about this club. I saw Matt after the Bristol Rovers game and it was clear how much this all means to him.

Next up are the training ground staff, Stewart the kit man, Theo and Gina and all the fitness staff, and I have to mention Gaz and Dobbo who have kept their heads throughout the season, stuck to what they believe in and delivered survival after everything we’ve been through. I remember at Portsmouth when the game was abandoned at half-time due to the downpour, and when their manager had been huddled in a huge coat in the dugout, Gaz was on the touchline in his shorts, as enthusiastic as ever, and brought the lads out to thank the fans when the game was called off. That sums him up for me, and so many Pompey fans were saying afterwards that they wish they had a manager like Gareth. Well he’s ours, we’re proud of him and he’s the man to lead us into the new season.

Nearly there! My final shout-out, before we reveal the winners, is for all the volunteers in John Derben’s army. There are dozens of you and I’m ashamed not to know you all by name, but that’s my target for next season! So this is for everyone who’s painted a fence, sold a programme, organised a coach for an away trip, done maintenance around the stadium, cleared glasses in the bar, delivered leaflets, given up time and expertise on the commercial side, shovelled snow or generally helped this club over the season – thank you very much.

But alas, there can only be one winner, and there was a flood of nominations for this person when we opened the voting a few months ago.

Elaine CooperA fan of the club from a young age, this person volunteered at Loakes Park and later worked on the door of the Vere Suite for around 11 years, before moving on to support Community Trust projects on matchdays.

She now runs our mascot experiences and supplies tours for birthday parties and other guests, contributing to an amazing day out for guests week in week out, and I personally have seen the joy that she brings to mascots who are able to fulfil their dream of leading the team out.

Thanks to this person’s help, with the assistance of her daughter Steph, we are now the envy of many clubs across the country for the superb matchday experience we offer to young fans.

So with no further ado, please show your appreciation as we recognise the extraordinary contribution made by this year’s Unsung Hero, Elaine Cooper.”