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Martin O'Neill says takeover can help Wycombe Wanderers retain Corinthian spirit
FORMER Wanderers manager Martin O'Neill hopes the summer's takeover by the Supporters' Trust will help the club retain its Corinthian spirit.
The popular ex-boss was invited back to give a talk to fans at Adams Park on Monday evening to coincide with the 125th anniversary of the club's first-ever match.
During his time on stage with former secretary and media officer Alan Hutchinson, O'Neill spoke fondly of his memories of his time in charge while Wanderers were a part-time club.
The takeover by the club's Trust from previous owner Steve Hayes was seen by many supporters as a positive step towards becoming a family club again.
O'Neill said he knew little about the finer detail of the deal but sought out Trust members to find out more.
He said: "In truth I don't know enough about it but I'm hoping that would be a step in the right direction.
"As we move into modern times, we have to move with them. There's always a feeling here the roots are steeped in that Corinthian spirit and I don't think it's ever really lost that.
"I was having a bit of a joke when I said the great John Goldsworthy [former club secretary] was crying when we went up but there was a nostalgia attached to that. You feel as if it was giving up some roots."
O'Neill said he was often invited back to events at his former clubs but was often reticent to accept.
Despite many successful years at Celtic, a club he guided to three league titles and a UEFA Cup final, he has returned to Parkhead just once since his 2005 departure, for John Kennedy's testimonial.
But he said he makes an exception when returning to Wanderers, a club that retains a special place in his heart.
The 60-year-old said: "I was apprehensive about it because I never like revisiting places too often.
"Tonight, because it was 125 years to the day they played their first football match, it's historic enough. At least I'm part of Wycombe Wanderers' history.
"It was five years of my life and a great five years. I've seen people in the front row I haven't seen for years."