As part of a new series, we talk to a Wycombe Wanderers fan and find out about their prospects for this season.
Tell us a bit about your season last season firstly. Would you say it was a success or failure? Did you achieve anything throughout the season, and were the fans happy with the end result?
Good and bad, really. The Carling Cup run was great, putting out 2 Prem teams and getting a draw at home with Chelski (there’s probably Premiership teams that haven’t even done that). But the league was a disappointment – the players vowed they wouldn’t let the cup run go to their heads, but it did, big style.
We lost Kevin Betsy mid-season, and with him any width and creativity we had, especially given Paul Lambert’s preference for ‘winning ugly’. We choked big-style, basically, and it wasn’t fun to see, given the early potential of the side (I think we won 7 or 8 on the bounce in the first half).
Obviously every close season sees players leave. Who left your club and were you happy with the decision to let those players go by your boss?
Fola Onibuje – happy to be rid.
Leon Crooks – happy to be rid.
Tommy Mooney – good player, but was on big wedge and also demanded more games than he should be getting at his age. So the right decision to let him go.
Frank Talia – he was OK, but don’t mind that he’s gone
Ikechi Anya – young nippy winger, probably the one player I think we could have kept
Anthony Grant, Ricardo Batista, Scott Golbourne were all long term loans that finished. Tommy Doherty likewise, but we still may look to sign him once he recovers from injury.
So obviously, with players going out, some have got to come in. Who has come in for you, and do you expect them to do well? Tell us a bit about these lads?
Scott Shearer (GK) – ex-Shrews and Gas man. I’m not hugely excited by this one, sounds like an average L2 keeper to me, i.e. a good shot stopper but poor all-rounder, but we’ll see.
David McCracken (CB) – 179 apps for Dundee Utd and he’s still relatively young (25), never seen him play but am excited about this one, sounds promising.
Leon Johnson (CB) – Former Sarfend and Gills man. Looks like he’s been signed very much as a squad player, but he’s got plenty of experience and should do OK.
Jack Obersteller (LB) – 19-year old ex-Millwall and Crawley, ‘one for the future’, as they say.
Craig Woodman (LB) – new boy, plenty of L1 experience with Bristol City and Torquay, he’ll do fine.
Martin Bullock (RM) – fresh from Macc. Not sure if he’s still got the legs these days, but has a decent reputation for skilful play – we’ll see.
Derek Duncan (LM) – Young Orient reject, sounds a bit like a poor man’s Degs Arsemower, if you can imagine such a thing. Apparently all pace, no end product.
John Sutton(CF) – big targetman from St Mirren, 25 goals in 57 apps in the SPL, so should do OK.
Who are going to be your star players this season then? Who`s going to get the goals, and who`s going to stop them?
Well I’m sure you Stockport lads will be delighted to see Mr Easter banging ’em in. Remains to be seen whether he’ll repeat the feat this season, depends whether John Sutton is as good at setting him up as Mooney was.
I have to confess I’d not even heard of John Sutton before we signed him, but initial reports are promising, so we’ll see how he does. Scott McGleish is a proven player at this level – hasn’t shone for us so far, but let’s give him a chance.
Defence? McCracken should do well. Williamson and Antwi were one of the best defensive partnerships in the league before they both got crocked.
Season ticket sales help the club at the beginning of the season to stabilise the place and give it a bit of extra income. How many season tickets have your club shifted these season so far, and what do you expect the average attendance to be throughout the season?
No idea, we’ve done around the 2000 mark in the past though, no reason for it to be much different now.
Average attendance would be 4500-5000ish.
Tell us a bit about your gaffer and his backroom staff. Do the fans like the gaffer, or can you see him being out of a job after a run of bad results?
Gaffer: Well, this is Lambert’s season of judgement. No excuses; it’s his side now, he culled the backroom staff too and got his own men in, and I would honestly expect a sacking if we’re looking sh1t at Xmas-time. That’s not to say it’ll happen though.
He’s got the support of the fans for now, I think, buoyed by some decent signings, but as we tend to play pretty ugly football at times, the fans can turn pretty quickly if we’re not only playing grim, but not even grinding out the results.
Backroom staff – Ian Culverhouse, ex-youth team manager, has been promoted to asst. mgr., don’t know much more about him other than that he was at Orient for a while.
This question is split into two. What do you BELIEVE your club can achieve this season, and what do you HOPE your club can achieve this season?
Believe: 7th-10th, a solid side perhaps lacking that little extra sparkle of creativity to push it into the auto spots.
Hope: Auto promotion would be great, don’t see that we’ve got a hope in hell of the title though.
Finally, whom do you expect to win the division, who do you think will go up with them and who do you think will be relegated?
Chesterfield to win, Posh and Bradford also in an auto spot, Darlington maybe for the playoffs.
Going down: Macclesfield and Accrington as it stands, but there is always a wild card that totally tanks as a result of off-the-pitch misfortune, so I very much doubt both of those picks are for the drop.