Over the years, Wycombe Wanderers have produced a list of golden greats – stars who are remembered long after their playing days are over.

In 1975, Alan Hutchinson wrote a series for the club’s programme entitled Star Gallery, interviewing many of those Blues’ true greats.

Today, with additional material provided by his Wycombe Ex-Players Association colleague John D Taylor, we reproduce some of those articles written by Hutch – a former club secretary and ex-media chief at Loakes Park and Adams Park who has links with the Wanderers going back over 70 years.

Amongst Wycombe’s golden greats, there has been a list of special players in one position – that of goalkeeper. John Maskell leads the way, a regular for 16 years. 

From 1964 onwards, he hardly missed a match to chalk up an amazing 753 appearances all told. Other special heroes include 1957 Amateur Cup ‘keeper Dennis Syrett, Gary Lester who made 521 appearances between 1979-90, FA Cup hero Martin Taylor, Martin O’Neill favourite Paul Hyde and more recently local boy Matt Ingram. 

But the man who started the trend for remarkable No 1’s was Jim Kipping, the Blues’ goalkeeper when they won the FA Amateur Cup for the first and only time back in 1931.

James Ebenezer Kipping was born in High Wycombe on October 17, 1898, the youngest son of Charles and Emily who lived in Gordon Rd before moving to Rose Cottage in Totteridge Road, High Wycombe.

As a young man Jim quickly established himself as the best goalkeeper in the area when playing for The Baptist Church where he won a Wycombe Cup Medal in the 1920/21 season.

Spotted in that match, his move to the Wanderers was something that he had wanted from the very first moment he kept goal.

Speaking to Hutch for the club programme back in 1975, Jim said: “This was the greatest thrill for me to be taken on at Loakes Park. It was even better when in a short time I stepped into the first team and became the regular ‘keeper.”

One of Jim’s outstanding achievements was to win Berks & Bucks Junior and Senior badges in the same 1923-24 season.

Of all the past players Jim Kipping stands alone as having played with the greats of the 1920’s era - Reg Boreham, Joey Grace, Frank Adams etc - as well as winning an Amateur Cup Medal with the 1931 team.

In season 1928-29 Jim played at Champion Hill in a League game against Dulwich Hamlet and spent the entire afternoon picking the ball out of the net. “We lost 9-0, I couldn’t believe it. I had never let so many goals in before. I am pleased to say that this didn’t happen again.”

1928 was also a memorable year for Jim in another sense, he married Minnie E Wallington, and the couple went on to have two sons, Rowley and Dudley.

Jim had become a dental technician, initially working for Dudley Baker’s in the town before running his own shop in Bowerdean.

The games that he remembers with most pleasure were against Gillingham in the 1930 FA Cup. 

“We were drawn away and I had memories of the 9-0 drubbing at Dulwich, but we should have won. After being 1-0 down at half-time Dick Braisher scored late in the second half to take it to a replay. This we lost 1-0 the following week,” he said.

“Then there were the games leading up to the Amateur Cup Final. In particular the two games with the Metropolitan Police in the 4th round, they were really exciting.

“The first match was played at Imber Court and we drew 1-1. The replay was not as exciting, but we won 2-1 to go into the semi-final against Woking at Ilford.”

It was during this that Jim received a nasty crack on his ear and it seemed doubtful that he would make the final.

He said: “I got kicked on the head early in the game and it wasn’t until later that evening that I realised the injury could keep me out of the Final.

“But the club did everything to get me fit. I went to London to see an ear specialist who confirmed my ear drum was perforated but promised to have me ready for the Highbury match.” 

Everyone knows that Jim did make the final and in fact had a splendid match. “My real memory of the Final was when Alf Britnell put the ball into the net.

“I saw Brownie shoot the penalty straight at their goalkeeper who pushed it out. Alf came racing in at top speed to crash the ball in. I couldn’t believe it. I jumped up and down with excitement.”

Jim won many honours during his career. He was a member of the Berks & Bucks side that won the Southern Counties Amateur Championship in 1924, and was selected on a number of occasions to play for the FA.

He would have won an England cap but owing to the fact that the game was to be played on a Sunday, he declined the honour.

The church was to play a huge part in the life of the Kipping family. Jim was a Deacon and Sunday School teacher at the Union Baptist Church while son Dudley, who now holds all of Jim’s vast collection of medals, played the organ there for 68 years.

And with brother Rowley, he also became a goalkeeper at Wycombe in the early 1950s although neither matched their Dad’s achievements. Dudley, in fact, turned to refereeing.

In 1933, arthritis of the hands and feet forced Jim to quit the game. But he always maintained contact with the club for which he was proud to have played for ten consecutive seasons, making 289 appearances.

When Jim was interviewed about modern day football in 1975, he said: “Since leaving the club the happiest moment for me was watching the present lads outplay Middlesbrough when they held the then First Division leaders to a goalless draw at Loakes Park.

“Not only was the game exciting but it gave me the opportunity of saying hello to some of the fellows I played with. We all feel very proud to have been associated with such a famous club.”

Jim died on June 27, 1985 just three months after wife Minnie. He was 86. Son Rowley died in 2008 but Dudley, who is 87 and lives in Wordsworth Road, still supports Wycombe. 

He visits Adams Park regularly with daughter Cheryl and occasionally other daughters Jan and Michelle.

If you have any memories of Jim Kipping, or other Wycombe greats who we will be featuring later, contact Alan Hutchinson or John D Taylor (john@calcioitalia.co.uk / 02494-562413). WWEPA will be delighted to hear from anyone with old Wanderers’ photos or memorabilia.