The end of an era has arrived with the news that Paul Hayes has left Wycombe Wanderers by mutual consent, after making 126 appearances over two spells.
Hayes first arrived at the club in a blistering loan spell from Charlton in 2012, scoring six times in as many matches, and was Gareth Ainsworth’s first signing in the summer of 2014 at the start of an exciting new era for the club.
As captain, Hayes scored 15 times as the Chairboys went on to reach the League 2 play-off final in his first season, and continued to net important goals over the past two years, including two memorable strikes in the thrilling FA Cup tie at Tottenham Hotspur in January.
“Paul has been an outstanding professional throughout his time here and I’ll remember him as being one of my best ever signings as a manager,” said Ainsworth.
“Hayesy took on the mantle as captain and played a huge role in us reaching the play-off final, and achieving a bigger points tally than any other Wycombe team in the EFL.
“He’s given absolutely everything to the cause on and off the pitch. His presence in the changing room – as one of the ‘generals’ in the squad – can’t be underestimated and he has been everything you could ask for as a captain.
“I’d like to say the biggest thank you to Hayesy for everything he’s done for the club, as my captain and as a fantastic player over the last three years, and wish him every success for the future.”
Sporting director Andrew Howard, who became chairman in the same summer that Hayes arrived at Adams Park, added his own appreciation to the striker.
“Paul has been a massive help to me during my time with the club, and an absolute pleasure to work with. I’d like to thank him for everything he has done for Wycombe Wanderers and wish him all the best.”
In total, Hayes has scored 145 career goals in 607 appearances so far, having made his debut for Scunthorpe 15 years ago.
More to follow - including Paul's reflections on his time at Adams Park - tomorrow.