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The Chairboys become champions

10 November 2012

Scots Guards in the Great Western Suburban League.stAfter the Great War football moved quickly to re-organise itself and Wycombe Wanderers started where they had left off with two teams of equal strength entered into both the Great Western Suburban League and the Spartan League. Both sides won their opening league fixtures with Frank Adams scoring five of the goals in a 13-0 thrashing of 1

Fred Crook scored all four goals as the Blues came back to win 4-3 at St. Albans City in the Spartan League and it was to be the start of a fantastic league campaign. Adams became captain of the Spartan League side which was soon recognised as the first team, although there remained much mixing throughout the season.

Whilst there was a seventh-place finish (out of 12 teams) in the Great Western Suburban League, the Spartan League title was won in glorious fashion. Eighteen of the 20 games were won, with just the one defeat away at Chesham United. The side plundered an incredible 114 goals with striker Tommy Jackman finishing top goalscorer with 31 and Klon Smith just behind him on 28.

There was also a pulsating FA Cup second-qualifying-round tie with Slough which ended in a 3-3 draw at Loakes Park, with Smith equalising from a direct free-kick inside his own half. The Blues won the replay 5-4 at Slough four days later. There was disappointment, however, in the Berks and Bucks Charity Cup final at Aylesbury in March 1920.

Chesham were leading 1-0 with just seven minutes remaining when centre-half Archie Gomm was sent-off for a foul and a large number of Wycombe fans invaded the pitch in protest at the decision. The game was subsequently abandoned and the cup was awarded to Chesham. It would be Gomm’s last appearance for the Chairboys as he signed for Millwall in the summer.

There was a general air of contentment at the club’s AGM in July 1920. Gate receipts had risen significantly to £1,771, although some of it would be used to pay the new “Entertainment Tax”. The close season saw facilities improved at Loakes Park although there was some disappointment with the club making an unsuccessful application to join the Isthmian League.

It may have been a blessing in disguise as the 1920/21 season saw the club enjoy one of its greatest seasons to date. Striker Reg Boreham began the season on trial with Notts County but returned to notch 41 goals in 33 games as the Wanderers retained the Spartan League title to once again become champions. They notched 108 goals from 22 games, again losing just once (away to Slough).

The excitement also extended to all three first-team cup competitions. The Blues made it through to the fifth qualifying round of the FA Cup, having seen off both Windsor and Eton and Slough. They travelled to face professional outfit Kettering and took the lead through Smith, but let it slip with a mistake from goalkeeper Jim Wicks gifting the hosts a 2-1 win with just three minutes remaining.

The Chairboys also made it through to the quarter-finals of the FA Amateur Cup where they were sadly beaten 2-0 by Northern league side Loftus Albion. Silverware was won, however, in the shape of the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup as Slough were thumped 5-2 in the final at Elm Park, Reading in front of a huge crowd of 9,875.

There were more celebrations in March 1921 when the club learned that their application to join the Isthmian League had been successful. That summer saw the club in almost rude health and they made donations to the mayor’s fund to relieve distress through unemployment and to the Wycombe Hospital Fund.

There was a blow on the pitch at the start of the 1921/22 season with Boreham accepting an invitation to play for Arsenal, and he made an immediate impact with 10 goals in 22 games which saw the Gunners avoid relegation from the First Division. Prior to his departure he had become the first Wycombe player to earn a full England amateur cap after being selected to play Ireland.

The void left by Boreham did, however, see the emergence of striker Robert ‘Tim’ Hinton, who went on to score 19 goals in all competitions as the Blues enjoyed a steady if unspectacular inaugural Isthmian League campaign, eventually finishing eighth out of 14 clubs.

There were early exits in both the FA Cup and FA Amateur Cup and more disappointment was to follow in the Berks and Bucks Senior Cup. It was relinquished to Chesham in the replay of the final after the first tie at Slough had ended 1-1 in front of an incredible crowd of 10,100.

During that cup run there was an incident in a first-round tie against Aylesbury United at Loakes Park which summed up the sportsmanship of Adams. A visiting defender caught the ball thinking it had already crossed the line for a goal and booted it back for the subsequent kick-off.

The referee hadn’t blown his whistle to award the goal as he was unsighted and had to award a penalty instead. Adams stepped up and deliberately fired wide from the spot. He did get his name on the scoresheet as the Blues won the game 5-1 in front of 5,000 fans. It is just one small part of the huge Adams legacy that still lives on in the club today.

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