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Wembley Wanderer Wicks dies at 88

Ex-Players Association pays tribute.

2 December 2020

Wycombe Wanderers and the Ex-Players Association have lost another of their heroes – and the eighth member of their 1957 Wembley giants with the death of Mike Wicks.

The former Blues’ centre-half passed away on Monday surrounded by his family at his home in Turville Heath after returning from hospital where he’d spent the previous two months. He’d celebrated his 88th birthday in September and his 58th wedding anniversary with wife Sally earlier in the year.

Mike is the eighth former Wanderer to pass away this year, a list that includes his FA Amateur Cup Final teammate Jim Truett who died in August and 50s colleagues John Reardon, Derrick Draffan, Jack Timberlake and, only last week, Arthur Burgess.

It leaves only Dennis Syrett, Cliff Trott and Len Worley now from the famous Sid Cann X1 who fought their way through five ties to meet Bishop Auckland in one of the greatest events on the club’s early history.

Worley was amongst the first to pay tribute. “I’d known him since our youth club days at Chalfont St Peter. It was great when I teamed up again with him later at Loakes Park where he’d already established himself as a top centre-half. Mike was well respected, a genuine guy and it’s another sad blow this terrible year.”

Mike was a key defender in the super squad that first won the Isthmian League in 1956, a title they defended the following year while also moving through to the club’s very first Wembley appearance. He played in 164 senior games from 1953 before moving on to concentrate on a successful business career that saw him in top executive positions with Debenhams and Asda as well as five hard—working but enjoyable years in South Africa.

When receiving his WWEPA Life Membership three years ago at our annual dinner – an honour he cherished - he made players from other eras smile when he spoke of the pleasure he got “running a little corner shop.” Not everyone twigged he was talking about a multi-million-pound business of which he was a senior figure.  

That was typical of Mike – a true blue amateur footballer who enjoyed his work and sport. It wasn’t confined to football. He was associated with Huntercombe Golf Club near Henley where he was a Director, Secretary and treasurer as well as a keen player until severe arthritis put stop to his regular forays around the fairways.

His other great love was family. With wife Sally he attended most WWEPA events. He enjoyed trips to Adams Park with hotel owner son Martin, daughters Carrie and Natalie and his five grandchildren who include two promising footballers in Josh, who’s with League 2 newcomers Harrogate Town, and goalkeeper Gus, currently performing well in the Surry Junior League. “Both better players than me,” he told me in typically modest fashion only a short while ago. He was also immensely proud when another grandson, Tristan Phipps, took part in the TV series Made in Chelsea recently.

But no one could have been prouder than Mike to have played for Wycombe says wife Sally. “He had a real love of football, and particularly for the Wanderers. And he loved still being involved all these years later.”

Unfortunately, many of those associated with the club who would otherwise show their respects at the funeral on Friday, December 11 (10am) at St Mary The Virgin Church in Turville, School Lane, Henley-on-Thames RG9 6QX will be unable to do so in person because of Covid-19 restrictions. But our thoughts are with Sally and the whole family as we all mourn a True Blue.

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