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Kavan Harley: 1974-2019

Kevin Swaine, Jez Styles and Gavin Gregory pay tribute to a much-loved Chairboys supporter, gone but not forgotten.

23 September 2019

Kavan was one of us: a devoted, passionate, loyal Chairboy.

Growing up in Totteridge in the 1980s, it would have been easy for Kavan and his younger brother, Chrissy, to swerve what was at the time a rather underachieving and, shall we say, somewhat unfashionable non-league club. After all, they could have plumped for the likes of Man Utd or Liverpool or Arsenal like most other local youths did.

But, together, they chose not to and, as kids, pledged their allegiance to WWFC. They became regulars at Loakes Park during the days of Jimmy Kelman’s Sky Blue Army and it was there that they relished playing in the nets after home games, taking it in turns to reenact the finishing skills of the USA international John Kerr and the energetic acrobatics of goalkeeper, John Granville. Unbeknown to Kavan and Chrissy, and pretty much everyone else in the town for that matter, little did they realise what a rollercoaster ride being a true blue was about to become.

It just so happens that Kavan’s later teenage years coincided with the best of times to be a Wanderer: the Martin O’Neill era. Successive promotions, Wembley appearances and a brand of swashbuckling, attacking football that had to be seen to be believed. Wanderers were in Wonderland!

And so Kavan’s passion grew ever stronger for his boyhood club. As he entered adolescence, he and his gang of Wycombe boys started to follow the team religiously not only at home, but also away. Together they witnessed some of the Chairboys’ finest moments including famous victories at Man City and Lincoln in 1998. The absolute craziness of the FA cup match against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in 2001. The unbridled delirium which erupted after Roy Essandoh’s (tele)textbook header at Leicester in the next round. The sensational semi-final against Liverpool at Villa Park.

And then there was the famous League Cup giant-killing of top-tier Charlton in 2006 and the ensuing semi-final ties against Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea including the 1-1 draw at a raucous Adams Park.

In recent times and throughout the Gareth Ainsworth years, Kavan continued to follow the mighty Wycombe all over the country and, as the Blues have yo-yoed up and down between the third and fourth tiers of English football, his passion never waned. Indeed, for his 40th birthday party he chose to treat his family and us fellow Wycombe boys to a Hospitality Box so we could all celebrate together doing what we love doing the most: Cheering on the Chairboys!

Sadly, Kavan never got to see his beloved football team reach their highest ever position in the Football League, but we know just how proud he would be today of the club’s achievements and of every single one of us who belong to the Wycombe family.

Kavan: you will always be one of us.


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