Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth explained the key to his success as he celebrates seven successful years in charge at Adams Park - he does it his way.

Ainsworth spoke exclusively to the Bucks Free Press earlier this week as he talks about his highlights during his seven years in charge, the hardest parts of being a manager and how much has changed since he first walked in the managerial door on September 24, 2012.

This season has seen a remarkable change of fortune, on and off the pitch, after years of financial uncertainty surrounding the club, even leading into this summer.

Ainsworth revealed the pride he has in getting to his seventh anniversary and in sailing the Blues through choppy waters with a brighter future on the horizon.

He said: "I am really proud to have got here.

"I didn't know it was coming until about a week ago and obviously it is always nice to know that you have been supported.

"I think seven years at the club means that we have done ok. The patience was there right at the start but between all of us, the fans and the players, we have done well and it has been a real team effort.

"I am lucky to have worked with some fantastic players and some fantastic staff and I am really happy in my job as well.

"Now, is a million miles from when I first came in. I will admit I was a player not ready to go straight into management and I had to learn on the job.

"We had this club that had no manager, was Trust owned, was in a bit of a chaotic situation with what had gone on and I had a tiny bit of experience at QPR when I was caretaker there.

"I just took the reins there and it put in pole position to take the caretaker's job while they looked for other people.

"After quite a long caretaker period, I was offered the job. I was ready to be a manager on the leadership side of things but there is so much more to the job and you don't realise that until you are in it.

"Today I feel a lot more confident in myself on match days and day-to-day stuff and I am still learning and improving.

"I still want to stay humble and look up to the managers round me who have been so successful and learn off them as well as putting my own stamp on things.

"That is important and one of the reasons why I have stayed in charge for so long because I do it how I see it and I think you have to do that."

Ainsworth admitted that management wasn't on his radar until he reached his late 30s and was more focused into going into the medical side of football.

He added: "I didn't think about going into management until my late 30s if I am totally honest. I always went down the physio route.

"I was never the most tactically away player in my 20s. Give me a ball and will get past the full-back and get a cross in and a few goals.

"That is what my game was. People used to talk about systems and being honest, didn't see a lot of that.

"In my late 30s, Gary Waddock gave me the opportunity to be coach and the plan was with Gary in charge, I would work really hard as a coach and earn my stripes and go to games and watch games but I only had eight games before I came into the caretaker role but I managed to get through that period and that was a real survival role."

Ainsworth clearly is relishing the opportunity to progress Wycombe and the club have had a stellar start to the season, sitting third in League One.

However, there are aspects of management which are really tough and one area in particular that Ainsworth has real empathy for.

He said: "Leaving players out I find really tough.

"They just want to play and get out there on the pitch and that is hard work when you are sitting a player down and you tell him that he isn't playing and you give him the reasons why.

"It isn't hard because you are being honest and telling him how you see it but I am a very emotional person and have a lot of empathy, I can always put myself in their shoes and get a reaction I want to see."

Ainsworth has seen the highs and lows in his tenure with the Great Escape at Torquay and promotion at Chesterfield to name but two highlights of his reign.

The 46-year-old added: "I can't pick one highlight.

"The day we stayed in the Football League doesn't even seem real. How did we do it is a question I ask myself.

"Me and Dobbo say to ourselves how did we do that and sometimes there is no explanation.

"Getting to Wembley was a real highlight. I always wanted to play there and I ended up managing there in my second full season.

"Obviously getting promotion to League One and staying there was brilliant.

"Another special moment came recently when we reached the highest ever position in our history, and that was great.

"I hope to be talked of in the same vein as Brian Lee and those people because they are really are legends and I will strive to be one of those and it will be nice to be known as one of the ones who did OK."

Ainsworth commented: "This season I am enjoying it more than ever.

"League Two was tough because there is a trapdoor out of the league and into non-league and with not much money it was difficult.

"I think this season, more than ever, I feel confident in the team's ability and more confident in myself and I feel a more mature manager too.

"I still have the rock and roll and long hair and playing non-league and I will still be doing that stuff but I feel calmer and more mature and that is something I have from those seven years."