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Happy 80th Bodger and Dave

Tony Horseman and Dave Thomas reach special milestone.

26 May 2021

How could we have overlooked it? But typically, without fanfares or flourish, arguably the greatest Wycombe Wanderers player of all time has just celebrated his 80th birthday, writes John D Taylor of the Ex-Players Association.

Tony Horseman reached that milestone quietly like he had achieved so many more highlights during a remarkable footballing career at Loakes Park where between 1961 and 1978 he made a record 749 appearances and scored a remarkable 416 goals.

Starting as a left-winger following his arrival from local side Wallaby Sports, he soon moved inside becoming a prolific scorer including 60 in 1966-67. Good in the air despite his lack of height, with a delicate touch, he was deadly in front of goal and formed lethal partnerships with Paul Bates and Keith Samuels in the 1960s and with Keith Searle in the 70s. Nicknamed the original Bodger, he played in four Isthmian League Championship winning teams under Brian Lee and for the GB Olympic team against Germany in 1967.

Despite his fondness for a cigarette and a pint, and his dislike of training which caused frequent stand-offs with his manager, he received countless offers to take his special talents elsewhere. But his only ambition was to play for his home club which he did non-stop for an astonishing 17 years. In all games in a Blues’ shirt, Tony scored over 500 goals. That is an amazing legacy. How he didn’t end up with a bundle of England amateur international caps is a mystery.

He did earn a deserved Testimonial from the club in 1976 and - also alongside long-serving colleague John Maskell – was one of WWEPA’s first Life Members. From us all, a belated birthday wish.

This weekend another of Tony Horseman’s former teammates and close friend, Dave Thomas, also reaches his 80th birthday. Dave – not too well these days - went on to play 205 games in the Wanderers midfield forming a super half-back line with Charlie Gale and John Fisher. Between them they set up quite a few of Bodger’s goals. Squeezed out during a quick turnover of managers in the early 60s, Dave went off to distinguished spell at Maidenhead before returning to his first love where he resumed in tandem with his old Hatters Lane schoolmate.

Dave & Tony became founder members of WWEPA, attending many of our special events like the one pictured alongside Jim Truett, and we’re proud  to send both special birthday wishes – one early and one late!

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