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Wycombe Wanderers win the FA Amateur Cup

1 December 2012

The summer of 1929 saw the Marchioness of Lincolnshire relinquish the presidency of the club after moving away from High Wycombe and George Miles took over.

The 1929/30 season wasn’t one to remember, however, as the side lost the first tie in each of the three main cup competitions and finished in mid-table in the Isthmian League.
Perhaps the most notable event of the season was the change in the style of first choice shirts from Oxford and Cambridge Blue stripes to the now famous quarters. They are believed to have been worn for the very first time on 9th November 1929 against St Albans City, who were beaten 4-0 in an Isthmian League match at Loakes Park.

One of the many reasons why football is referred to as ‘the beautiful game’ is that you never know what is going to happen next, and the 1930/31 season proved the point perfectly. The side made an encouraging start to the Isthmian League campaign with a 6-1 thrashing of Clapton on the opening day at Loakes Park.

The excitement, however, was reserved for the FA Amateur Cup campaign which began in the first round with a 4-1 away win at London Caledonians in January. Walthamstow Avenue were then thrashed 6-1 at Loakes Park in the second round before Romford received similar treatment as they were thumped 6-2 in a third-round tie at Loakes Park.
The Blues were drawn away to reigning Spartan League Champions Metropolitan Police in the quarter-final at Imber Court and
an estimated 3,000 of the 5,000 attendance travelled fromthe Chair Metropolis
to cheer on the lads. They witnessed one of the most grueling games that the side played all season, with Bill Brown’s goal cancelled out six minutes later and the tie ending in a 1-1 draw after extra-time. The replay at Loakes Park took place a week later but the hosts had to make do without captain John Timberlake, who had picked up an injury in the first tie that was to rule him for the rest of the season. A new record crowd of 10,881 saw the Chairboys reach the semi-finals for the very first time. The pitch was very heavy and together with a strong wind made the conditions more than a little tricky. It was the visitors who took the lead after half an hour when
fired past Jim Kipping.
Wycombe responded well with a series of corners and the pressure eventually paid off when one was cleared to edge of the area, only for Dick Braisher to hit a beautiful dipping 20-yard volley into the back of the net which beat Police glovesman Moody all ends up. Wanderers didn’t allow the half-time interval to interrupt their dominance, hitting the post and having a goal ruled out for offside before Doug Vernon saw his penalty saved by Moody.
: “The goal which won the match for Wycombe, scored by Vernon in the second half, was one of the best individual efforts ever seen on the picturesque ground. Vernon dribbled through a whole bunch of opponents before calmly placing the ball into the net for a really spectacular goal."
wrote afterwardsEvening Newsmade amends with 10 minutes remaining and the national newspaper The semi-final took place a week later at
Ilford’s Newbury Park ground against Isthmian League rivals Woking.
The Blues were backed by an estimated 4,000 travelling fans in the 7,500 attendance. Woking dominated the first half with a strong wind in their favour but couldn’t find a way past Kipping, who made one remarkable save to deny Warnes.
The second half was a different story as Simmons crossed for Alf Britnell to head past Cardinals goalkeeper Montgomery to put the Wanderers ahead after 51 minutes. Five minutes later Simmons crashed a shot against the crossbar and Brown pounced to fire home the rebound. Britnell completed the scoring with 10 minutes remaining when Montgomery allowed his lob to slip between his hands and into the net.

The 3-0 scoreline may have been harsh on Woking but the Chairboys had made it to the final. There was a shock in the other semi-final with Athenian League side Hayes beating favourites Bishop Auckland, meaning the two southern clubs would contest the final at Arsenal’s Highbury Stadium on Saturday 11th April 1931.

A crowd of 32,489 saw a close game with the Wanderers forced to play much of the first-half with 10 men after right-back Sid Crump had to be treated for a head injury. Consequently Hayes enjoyed the better of a goalless first half. Crump returned to the action and Wycombe improved after the break with Britnell’s shot clipping the top of the Hayes crossbar.

The Wanderers survived a real scare with just 15 minutes to go. Crump appeared to have handled the ball in the area yet despite claims for a penalty, referee Mr Graham awarded Hayes a free-kick on the edge of the box.

The game was into the last 10 minutes and in a goalmouth scramble Hayes' Bill Caesar handled the ball whilst lying on the ground. This time the referee had no doubt and pointed straight to the spot. Brown stepped up fired his penalty straight at Missioners’ goalkeeper Holding. However, he could only parry the ball back out and Britnell reacted first to fire the rebound into the top corner. 

Wycombe played out the last few minutes of the game without any problems and the final whistle blew to herald Wanderers’ first, and only, Amateur Cup triumph. Captain Pat Badrick went up to collect the cup amid joyful scenes of celebration. Every player except Vernon, stationed at nearby RAF Halton, lived within five miles of the Chair Metropolis, which at the time boasted a population of 20,000.

There was fixture congestion as a result of the extended cup run and the side had to play Kingstonian both home and away on the same day! They lost 2-0 in a 3pm kick-off at Richmond Road before winning 4-0 in a 6.30pm kick-off at Loakes Park which meant the club finished third in the Isthmian League, their best position so far.

There was little chance of the 1931/32 season living up to the previous campaign, although the side’s improved form in the Isthmian League continued as they finished just three points behind champions Wimbledon, albeit in fourth place. A promising FA Cup run ended with a 6-1 thrashing at Enfield Town in a fourth qualifying round tie.

Yorkshire Amateurs ended the Blues’ defence of the FA Amateur Cup with a 4-0 thumping in a third-round tie at Bracken Edge, Leeds. There was further disappointment as Maidenhead United scored a last-minute winner to beat Wycombe 2-1 in front of 10,760 in the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup final at Reading’s Elm Park.
Despite that, the club was reaping the rewards of their new found status. Significant profits had been made from the FA Amateur Cup run and they were used to build a covered stand along the lower side of Loakes Park. It was opened in February 1932 and would soon to become known as the ‘Cowshed’. It meant the Wanderers became the first amateur club to have stands on opposite sides of the pitch. 

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