Tributes have poured in from players and colleagues from every one of the seven decades that John Reardon was associated with the club.
Martin O’Neill today described John as a ‘dear, dear friend.’ In charge from 1990 to ‘95, Martin admits he was unsure about having him as assistant when he took over at Loakes Park. But they soon forged a delightful if unusual partnership which brought three trips to Wembley and a prized place in the Football League.
“John never shirked anything,” remembers O’Neill. “I recall a training session when he went into a tackle with Glyn Creaser and inevitably ended up in a crumpled heap. I expected the worst. But he got up, dusted himself down and got on with it. Not a complaint which summed him up.
“We had some hilarious times as Reardo’s organisational sense wasn’t the best. We got lost on several trips thanks to his odd sense of direction. But he would do anything for anyone and the players loved him.”
It was Brian Lee who brought him into the club just after he’d led Chesham to a fairytale trip to Wembley for the 1968 FA Amateur Cup Final. He described John as the ultimate motivator. “I didn’t know a lot about the Isthmian League when I took over. John was able to steer me in the right direction. He was a complete contrast to me. But he never tried to undermine me nor any of the managers who followed. No job was too menial for Reardo. He was a great enthusiast in everything he did. And wife Carole was so supportive. A great team.”
Another former manager with great memories is Alan Gane, a player under John in 1972-73 and then had Reardo as his assistant in 1987-87. “Very saddened to hear of John's death. He was excellent when we worked together and his enthusiasm for football in general and the club in particular was boundless. A lovely man for whom nothing was too much trouble. I really hope we are able to attend his funeral to say goodbye.”
With the Covid lockdown, that seems unlikely but both the club and WWEPA hope to be able to do something to recognise his great service at some time in the future.
Alan Hutchinson (WWEPA Chairman & former WW Press Officer): I first met John in the 1950’s and the more I got to know him the more I enjoyed his company. We worked together for many years, especially when Martin arrived. I think it is true to say that John and I were the two he had doubts about because he felt I wanted to run the club and John the team. When he was convinced both of us were on his side things really took off. John was great with the team, the players loved him because they could take the ‘mick’ and he never took offence.
Keith Scott (WW 1990-93/ 97-99): Reardo truly was a great human being with a heart of gold - a football and Wycombe man through and through. It is always sad when anyone passes away but even more so as John was part of our that successful era in the early nineties. Many great and fond memories of him especially on the way home from away games when he always bought the beers for the lads and did it with a smile on his face.
Kevin O’Brien (WW 1966-73 & WWEPA committeeman): John was a football man, through and through, as well as a great character. I first saw John when I joined Chesham Utd in the late 60’s just after he had taken them to the Amateur Cup Final. Next season he became Brian Lee’s Assistant at the Wanderers, and invited me to join, a move I never regretted. I always took on board whatever advice he gave me, as I respected his knowledge and experience of the game.
Steve Guppy (WW 1989-94/2004-05): Legend! I think of John and so many stories come to mind. One of Wycombe’s finest x
Mike Brown (WW 1958-60): John and I played together at Slough & Wycombe. The day of his wedding we went to the reception at the Crown Hotel in Slough. John, Dennis Syrett and I were taken by car to the match against Winchester then back to the reception. I don't remember much about the rest of the day! John and Carole came to our wedding and I remember John pouring confetti into the back of our car just before we left for our honeymoon in Sandbanks. A dear friend.
David Jones (WW Physio 1986-2008): Reardo was a wonderful man, a real character and a dear friend.
Jim Melvin (WW Coach): So so sorry to hear of John’s passing. A lovely, funny man who made everyone laugh & someone who would literally do anything for the club. A true Wycombe man. God Bless Reardo.
Geoff Cooper (WW 1991-93): John was a great man who made me feel totally at home at Wycombe. He will be truly missed.
Chris Vinnicombe (WW 1998-2004): Very sad, sending love to the family. Love from all the Vinnicombe family
John Maskell (WW 1964-80) & WWEPA President): Great character, lovely man and probably one of the most honest people I ever met in football. He always said what he thought, and not always in a subtle manner. I can remember in 1975 coming back from an away game, he said: “Mask, I see the new M40 from Oxford to Wycombe will be open soon. It’s a shame you won’t be able to benefit from it as you are at the end of your career.” I reminded him five years later before I played my last game, and we had a laugh about it. John was successful in his own right but his greatest success was when he was assistant manager to Brian Lee, they were the perfect combination, a bit like the Clough and Taylor partnership.
Glyn Creaser (WW 1988-95): Really sorry to hear the news. He was great to have around and loved his football. A great character and legend.
Matt Crossley (WW 1987-96): A great man. Great memories.
Paul Hyde (WW 1991-96): Very sad. He was Wycombe through & through. A true legend. He’ll be missed
Tim Langford (WW 1992-95): Such sad news. A really great guy.
Keith Ryan (WW 1990-2005): A real character and true football man. He was a huge part of what we achieved under Martin’s reign. It only seems like yesterday that he was joining in the five-a-side training sessions.
Hakan Hayrettin (WW 1992-94): He was a true gentleman and when in his company he made you feel special. Very sad day for everyone who knew him.
Don Woodward (Ex-WW Chairman): Very, very sad. Such a lovely man . Sleep well.
Gary Hand (WW 1974-75): A really lovely man and Mr Football. Will be sorely missed.
Alan Parry (Ex-WW Director): Reardo, a wonderful man who was always there to lend a helping hand when needed. I just hope that lockdown doesn’t prevent him having the send-off he deserves from all his friends.
Ty Gooden: (WW 1991-93): Sad news. A really great guy.”
Dave Roberton (WW 1965-67 & Trust Director): Fine player, tremendous efforts for the club both on and off the field and a first class person . Privileged to have known you John .
Alan J Phillips (WW 1974-79): A lovely man with such football nous and a great character.