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25 years on: Martin O'Neill appointed as Wycombe manager

7 February 2015

Today marks the 25th anniversary of the appointment of Martin O'Neill as manager of Wycombe Wanderers.

The Northern Irishman was just 37 years old when he arrived at Loakes Park as successor to Jim Kelman on this day in 1990, and he went on to become arguably the most successful manager in the club's history.

By the time he left in 1995, the former Nottingham Forest star had guided Wanderers to the Conference title and then into the old Division Two after winning the Division Three play-off final at Wembley against Preston in 1994. The twin towers were a happy home for Wycombe during O'Neill's reign, as they also won the FA Trophy in 1991 and 1993.

The story of his arrival as manager reveals that he was actually turned down for the role two years earlier, but bumped into director Alan Parry in a chance meeting in the toilets at Norwich City's Carrow Road, and was persuaded to apply for the vacant position.

This time, O'Neill won the approval of the board and was installed as the new boss, commenting: "I see it as a massive challenge, and I accept it is a very different challenge to playing. But I have a perspective on the game and I want to put things I have talked about into practice.

"Getting into the Football League is obviously the aim and that is why I have come here. I never give up. That is how I survived for so many years in the game with so little ability!"

He later added: "I would like to think this is the beginning of a new era for both me and the club, with my arrival and the moving to the new ground in Sands at the start of next season. Wycombe have a very proud history, and I would like to think I will have my own part in it."

A quarter of a century since his arrival at the club, O'Neill remains revered as one of the most influential characters to have represented the club, and his success in more times as a top-flight and international manager will come as no surprise to those who were able to enjoy the years of 'double glory' and Wembley triumphs with him at the helm.

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