Published in the Bucks Free Press on Friday, May 29.
I suspect there will be many column inches in this week’s edition of this paper in praise of Wycombe Wanderers’ mighty effort last weekend and I am going to add to them.
I was working in Germany and could only watch the match on my iPad. My wife was at Wembley. The drama that unfolded would have been tremendously exciting to an uninvolved spectator but for the fans of both teams was almost unendurable.
A year ago Wanderers survived in the league by the few atoms at the end of our fingernails. The jubilation was of course massive. Had we been relegated, given the resources of the club, it may well have been just the beginning of a catalogue of disasters that might have resulted in many years in the wilderness.
But, against all the odds, we survived and our sensible ambition was limited to consolidating our position in League 2. Had mid-table security been predicted, many of us would have been more than satisfied.
But a combination of careful administration and Gareth Ainsworth’s superb management of a small squad of men with big hearts and the will to work for Wycombe meant that we spent all bar the first eight weeks of the season in the top three. And we began to dream the impossible dream. Nearly relegated to promoted within one season.
It was not to be and I have only just recovered from the tension of pacing a hotel room in Dusseldorf with my stomach dancing round my ears (not a pretty image I know) as first the one goal lead disappeared with seconds to go and then the unbearable agony of the swing of fortunes in the penalty shoot-out.
Ecstasy if you win and misery if you don’t.
But as the dust settles, there is not one member of that team that should do other than hold his head high. A penalty not scored does not eradicate the two hours of total commitment and courage that preceded it.
Those players should all know they have nothing to apologise for and as fans we owe it to them to make sure they keep on remembering that when the new season starts with new hope.
Gareth rightly won the League Two Manager award and I only hope we can keep him with us for many successful seasons ahead.
On a separate note – anyone notice I correctly predicted the Eurovision winner last week?