Wycombe Wanderers and the Ex-Players Association are sad to report the death of a club icon. John Reardon passed away surrounded by his family at a nursing home in Wargrave near his Henley home, just 20 days short of his 88th birthday. He’d been suffering from Parkinson’s Disease and dementia for several years.
John holds a special place in the club history – the only man to play for the Wanderers, manage the side and hold the post of Secretary. In addition, he was a popular assistant to Brian Lee and Martin O’Neill during two hugely successful era as well as doing numerous other jobs around the club during the Loakes Park and Adams Park days.
Although a proud Welshman born in Pontypridd, the Blues were his life as he proved by turning out and scoring in an FA Amateur Cup second round tie against Winchester on January 25, 1958 just hours after marrying his beloved Carole. A broken nose failed to stop him enjoying the reception later.
John did make Wembley though, achieving a magnificent feat as manager by steering Chesham to the Amateur Cup Final in 1968 when his Wanderers’ playing days were over. But he was soon back with the Blues, proving an able assistant to Brian Lee as the club won four Isthmian League titles in five years during the 70s.
He was put in the hot seat himself for the 1977-78 season, but the team’s third-place finish surprisingly wasn’t enough to save him from the sack. Typically, he bounced back to assist Alan Gane, Peter Suddaby, Jim Kelman and then – despite initial reluctance from Martin O’Neill – became the Irishman’s trusted right-hand man during five years of relentless success.
He was a popular figure in the three Wembley triumphs of the early 1990s and his stint as Club Secretary once the club entered the Football League never lost him the love of countless players whom he helped introduce into the Wycombe way.
John never ‘retired’ from the Wanderers. No job was too small. His last official duties were as Boardroom host where he entertained with endless stories of glories past – almost all of which he had partaken in personally.
He was honoured by the club for his 60 years service in 2001. He was a valued member of the Ex-Players Association who made him a Life Member in 2015. We baked a cake for him that day to celebrate his 83rd birthday. We raise a glass to Mr Wycombe Wanderers today.
Our thoughts go out to wife Carole, daughters Nicola and Sarah, six grandchildren and brothers Dennis and Terry, himself a Wycombe star in the 70s.