The Sack Race
As regular readers of Vital Wycombe will know, we like our statistics. It`s how we get all the girls. Given the current situation the club finds itself in, we have taken a look back at previous times when the Chairboys found themselves looking for a new manager. We are concentrating on departures that have happened during the season and only when competing in a national league.
The first was Peter Suddaby. He was a popular former player but was given a real baptism of fire. He replaced Alan Gane who resigned just before the start of the 1987/88 season with the Chairboys having just been promoted to the GM Vauxhall Conference. Gane handed in his notice after falling out with Chairman Brian Lee over the playing budget for the campaign.
Tragically the saga saw striker Noel Ashford sold to Barnet for £17,000 after just three games and it soon got a whole lot worse. A humiliating 2-0 defeat to Aylesbury United in the F.A. Cup followed and Barnet then inflicted an embarrassing 7-0 league defeat at Loakes Park. This was the season current Stevenage boss Graham Westley played for the Blues.
He was one of a number of additions but a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of Maidstone United at Loakes Park on January 2 was the final straw and the board asked Suddaby for his resignation on the following Monday. He was in charge for 25 league games and his record was…
W5 D6 L14 F26 A59 PTS 21 GD -33 (0.84pts per game)
Although his successor Jim Kelman did resign in January 1990 and the embarrassing 3-1 defeat to the Metropolitan Police played a part in his decision, it was a deteriorating relationship with Chairman Ivor Beeks and the board of directors that was the main reason for his departure and not results, which whilst disappointing, were not disastrous.
Following in the footsteps of Martin O`Neill was always going to be a mammoth task and Alan Smith was never going to succeed when he gave a Brian Clough-esque speech in which he said the players hadn`t achieved anything yet. After a disappointing first season in charge the Blues endured a dreadful start to the 1996/97 season. Despite victory over Reading in the League Cup the side failed to win any of their first nine league games.
Smith was sacked on Monday 30th September 1996 following a 6-3 defeat at Peterborough United the previous weekend. To say there were celebrations throughout the Chair Metropolis is something of an understatement. Smith`s record in those nine league games was…
W0 D4 L5 F8 A15 PTS 4 GD -7 (0.45pts per game)
John Gregory`s resignation also had nothing to do with results as he returned to take the hot-seat at Villa Park. Following a spell in caretaker charge, Neil Smillie was given the job on a permanent basis but also made a nightmare start to the 1998/99 season. The side was without a single win in the opening dozen league games before Macclesfield Town were beaten 3-0 at Adams Park in mid-October.
It looked like the corner had been turned and the team lost just twice in the next dozen league matches before a dreadful start to the New Year. Smillie admitted he was unable to motivate his side following a Football League Trophy defeat to Brentford and a 3-1 loss at Luton Town in the league the following weekend was to be his last game in charge. He was sacked that evening with a record of…
W5 D8 L13 F24 A34 PTS 23 GD -10 (0.88pts per game)
Lawrie Sanchez came in to achieve mission impossible and keep the Blues up that season and then followed it with a fairytale run in the F.A. Cup. Results soon dropped away and after a turgid 2002/03 season he too suffered a dreadful start to next campaign and was sacked on Tuesday 30th September 2003, shortly after a 2-1 league defeat away at Tranmere Rovers. His record at the start of the 2003/04 season was…
W1 D3 L7 F11 A23 PTS 6 GD -12 (0.54pts per game)
After a spell in caretaker charge John Gorman was appointed as assistant to Tony Adams but the former Arsenal and England Captain was unable to save the club from just its second ever relegation. The Chairboys made a fine start to the 2004/05 season in League Two and even sat top of the table in September before a poor run of results led to his resignation on Tuesday 9th November 2004. His record was..
W5 D6 L6 F16 A18 PTS 21 GD -2 (1.24pts per game)
Paul Lambert spent two full seasons in charge before he was succeeded by Peter Taylor. The ex-England boss led the club to its first ever automatic promotion in the Football League in 2008/09 but yet again the side made a desperate start to the following campaign, winning just one of the first eleven league games. Back-to-back home defeats saw Taylor sacked on Friday 9th October 2009. He left with a record of…
W1 D3 L7 F9 A17 PTS 6 GD -8 (0.54pts per game)
Gary Waddock was chosen to replace Taylor but failed to keep the club in League One. He did however lead the club to promotion at the first attempt, recording a record points total into the bargain. However just like his predecessor he has found life in League One a real struggle and the side is only kept off the bottom of the table courtesy of Chesterfield`s inferior goal difference. At the time of publishing Waddock`s record is…
W3 D4 L11 F17 A28 PTS 13 GD -11 (0.72pts per game)