September 24, 2019. The day Wycombe Wanderers boss Gareth Ainsworth celebrated a wonderful seven years in charge at Adams Park.

Ainsworth is currently the second longest serving manager in the country behind Morecambe's Jim Bentley and the job he has done to get the Blues to where they are today, is nothing short of incredible.

From walking in the door as a caretaker manager initially in September 2012 to sitting pretty in third in League One today is testament to the skill, application, tactical acumen and supreme man-management of the Lancastrian, who I regard as one of the best young managers in the country.

It shows that when clubs do give managers time, it works. For Ainsworth to stabilise the club, both on and off the pitch, has been a long and, at times, fiendishly difficult road but now the rewards are being reaped.

That day in Torquay in May 2014, the Great Escape, will be forever etched in Wycombe folklore and from that point on, Ainsworth has had the brilliant ability to coax the very best out of his players and make some staggeringly fantastic signings to improve the culture on the pitch, in the changing room and at the training ground.

A trip to Wembley beckoned a season later and they were so close to producing a quite miraculous turnaround from that dramatic day in Devon.

Wanderers hovered in and around the play-offs for the next few seasons before that promotion dream was achieved at Chesterfield in April 2018.

Throughout that season, Ainsworth had played down talk of promotion and just challenged his players to give everything to the cause.

To go up automatically bettered their dream of a play-off place and they thoroughly deserved it after some amazing wins at the likes of Luton, the Marcus Bean inspired victory over Carlisle and gutsy draws at Lincoln and Notts County when injuries mounted up to key players.

For the players to perform like they have week in, week out, shows how much they respect Ainsworth and the job and culture he has created in and around the club.

The team is moulded into how he played as a player; skilful, direct, quick, attacking, but most of all, giving 110 per cent to the cause.

Since I began at the paper in November 2016, I have seen him evolve as a manager so much. They used to rely on Adebayo Akinfenwa as the main man up front with support for goals coming in late runners into the box.

Last season, things changed. When the big man was injured, Ainsworth's tactics of a high press and a counter attack with the likes of Fred Onyedinma and Alex Samuel worked a treat in November and December and showed other ways which Wanderers can play.

I am very lucky as a reporter to be able to interview someone like him. He is always honest, insightful, helpful, funny and fascinating and I am able to chat to him away from the dictaphone about QPR [sorry they are my team!]

He has been a breath of fresh air for the club and continues to be. Everyone has the utmost respect for him from his players, staff, board, fans and the media and wouldn't it be typical Ainsworth to beat all the odds and get Wanderers up to the Championship?

Here's to another seven years, Gareth.