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Wembley Wanderer Truett dies at 87

Tributes pour in for a Wycombe great.

29 August 2020

Jim Truett (3rd right, back row) with his 1957 teammates getting last minute instructions from Coach Sid Cann before the FA Amateur Cup Final against Bishop Auckland at Wembley

Wycombe supporters and Ex-Players Association members will be sad to learn that another of their great FA Amateur Cup heroes of 1957 has passed away. Jim Truett died this morning aged 87 after suffering heart and kidney problems for the past two years.

Jim was a popular member of Sid Cann’s successful 1950s squad after first signing on under the Blues’ very first Coach, Jim McCormick. He spent ten years at Loakes Park, making 237 appearances at full-back or wing-half. Renowned for his tough tackling, he regarded himself as a labourer in a team of artists which included his younger brother Geoff.

But he made himself a vital member of the squad that won successive Isthmian League titles in 1956 and 1957 before embarking on a six-match Amateur Cup run that ended at Wembley in front of 90,000 fans – almost half from Wycombe.

Jim regarded himself as lucky to have made that match. Having married his beloved Sheila in August 1956, he defied dour coach Cann by refusing to cut short his wedding day celebrations to play that afternoon. He was ostracised for several months and only moved back up from the reserve side when vice-captain Jimmy Moring broke an arm that was to keep him out of the final stages of the Wembley run.

Although the Wanderers gave a slightly subdued performance in losing 3-1 to Cup Kings Bishop Auckland, Jim was not overawed by the big occasion and Crystal Palace – who were about to sign brother Geoff – wondered whether or not they picked the right Truett brother to turn professional.  

Jim had another three seasons at Loakes Park before turning out briefly for Chesham and Oxford City before a successful spell two-year spell as player-manager at Princes Risborough who he led to a league title.

As hard working off the field as on it, Jim was a joiner and carpenter who amazingly found time virtually single-handed to build his own house at Coleshill where they brought up son Jamie and daughter Lynne. Wife Sheila died in 2010. Jim found slight consolation on the golf course, playing regularly at Winter Hill with his big mate and former Wanderers’ teammate Jackie Tomlin. 

The pair also teamed up for all the WWEPA events, Jim showing his ‘bandit’ talents at all our golf challenges as well as regularly attending our other social events. Along with other ’57 squad survivors Dennis Syrett, Mike Wicks, Len Worley and Cliff Trott , he was made an Ex-Players’ Life Member in 2017 – 60 years on from the club’s historic first ever appearance at Wembley.

That night, in front of a packed Vere Suite including members of the Blues’ 2007 League Cup semi-final team and such club legends as Gareth Ainsworth, Martin O’Neill and Paul Lambert, he brought the house down with his dry sense of humour in response to probings from our chairman Alan Hutchinson.

Jim’s death leaves only Dennis Syrett, Mike Wicks, Cliff Trott and Len Worley as survivors of that 1957 Wembley team. They, and all WWEPA members and club supporters, will miss the droll comments of a true football man. The thoughts of all at WWEPA and the club are with Jamie, Lynne and all the Truett family at this time.

Truett tributes flow in

John Maskell (WW 1964-804 & WWEPA President): “I first got to know Jim when as a young lad I made my debut in the Isthmian League for Oxford City - would you believe it against Wycombe Wanderers. Jim had joined Oxford along with Barry Darvill from Wycombe and I remember how he encouraged me and helped me relax before the game.

“He was a gentleman off the pitch but a fierce opponent and hardly ever lost a tackle. He also had a great sense of humour and kept the team entertained before the game. I will always be grateful to him for the way he treated me a newcomer to the side. We shall miss Jim at our events but he will always be special to me.

Alan Hutchinson (WWEPA Chairman): “How very sad. I knew Jim well and had many a good laugh with him. Terrific player and lovely person. Will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”

Vince Faulkner (WW 1963-71): “I spent many hours watching him and the 50`s team from the terraces in my early years and teens, and in later years spent time with him via the Ex-Players Association and our events. The most important thing for me to remember him by was that he always had time for everyone and will be sorely missed.”

Mike Brown (WW 1957-60): “What sad news, a lovely man, I have so many happy memories of Jim both at Wycombe and Oxford. He had a wonderful sense of humour and was always able to see the funny side of almost everything. Something that he, Dennis Syrett and I shared, but not always by our manager at the time!”

Ken Wilson (WW 1980-85): Very sad indeed I will miss my golf buddy very much, delightful man. Thoughts are with Jamie and his family at this time.”

John Bignell (WWEPA Match Secretary): “Sad news indeed. Jim was a member of the first Wycombe team I watched. It was great getting to know him in recent years, always good company."

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