Wycombe Wanderers are sad to report the death of their oldest ex-player. Peter Birdseye passed away yesterday, two months after his 98th birthday.
A pacey left-winger with an eye for goal, Peter was a regular for the Blues at Loakes Park in the early post-war years. He made 104 appearances and scored 50 goals between 1946 and 1951. He was an integral part of the team that established Wycombe as an Isthmian League force.
Alongside other early heroes like Jock McCullum, Ken Butler and Johnny Blizzard, Peter also helped the Blues to the FA Amateur Cup semi-final in 1950 when they were unlucky to lose 2-1 to Cup Kings Bishop Auckland.
Although Peter moved on when the Sid Cann era began, the Birdseye legacy continued at Loakes Park when son Paul joined 20 years later. He went on to eclipse his father’s playing record, making 459 appearances in a superb 11-year spell with the club.
Peter and wife Joan spent their last years near Paul and his family in Portsmouth.
“His health deteriorated badly from the beginning of November, to such an extent that we arranged for respite care for him,” explained Paul. “We knew the ‘writing was on the wall’ and he passed away peacefully and is now at rest, without pain and without the continuing challenge of his dementia - what a wicked illness that is.”
Although it’s nearly 60 years since Peter donned a Wycombe shirt, he still had enormous affection for the club and was honoured to become one of the Ex-Players’ Association’s first Life Members. Former clubmates also remember him with equal affection.
WWEPA President John Maskell says: “Peter was a fine player and a special person. His pride at being elected a Life Member by his peers was unmatched. And he was so proud that his own achievements at Wycombe were matched then overtaken by his son.”
Another ex-Blues goalkeeper Kevin O’Brien recalls being taken as a small boy to watch Aylesbury United, when a new star player had just been signed from Wycombe Wanderers. “Of course, this player was Peter Birdseye. He was easily the star of the team, and was extremely popular with the fans. Whilst I am sure the family will miss him greatly, it must be a relief to know that he is no longer suffering.”
All our thoughts are with wife Joan, Paul and all the family. Funeral details will follow.
Photo: Peter, right, with son Paul