Category Archives: Football

Northampton Town 0-1 Wycombe Wanderers

A fantastic Scott Kashket strike was enough for Wycombe Wanderers to open this seasons Checkatrade Trophy campaign with a win and bank a useful £10k in prize money.

The Chairboys utilised their favoured 4-3-3 formation and made ten changes in what was an incredibly attacking line up. L2 Northampton were a poor opposition in the first half and Wycombe played some decent stuff with Sam Saunders orchestrating proceedings.

As expected, the Cobblers came out in the second half with a different approach and made it more of a game but rarely troubled the Wycombe back line.

After the final whistle, I spoke with the Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth for BBC Three Counties Radio:

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Ainsworth Pre Luton Town

I caught up with Gareth Ainsworth ahead of the Luton Town game at Adams Park. It’s been a busy week and we spoke about The Hatters, set pieces, Fred Onyedinma, Charlie Fox and the Carabao Cup draw:

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Can Ainsworth secure a first ever Wycombe win over Luton at Adams Park? 

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Wycombe Wanderers 2-2 Forest Green Rovers (4-3 on pens)

Wycombe Wanderers progressed into the third round of the League Cup for only the second time in their history after a penalty shoot-out victory over Forest Green Rovers at Adams Park.

With the score tied at 2-2 after ninety minutes, The Chairboys had to hold their nerve from the spot for the second round in succession. After the game, Wycombe manager Gareth Ainsworth spoke of the financial importance of a cup run for the club:

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Scott Kashket opens the scoring 

 

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Ainsworth Pre Bradford City

I spoke to Gareth Ainsworth ahead of the Chairboys long trip to Bradford City. We spoke about the second half performance at Plymouth, Alex Samuel, conceding early goals and an injuries update:

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The Lowdown On Alex Samuel

Wycombe Wanderers have signed forward Alex Samuel on a six month contract. The 22 year old free agent was released by Stevenage at the end of last season, after making 22 appearances during an injury hit campaign.

Chairboys manger Gareth Ainsworth admitted the low key signing was “unlikely to trouble the Sky Sports ticker tape” but he will be hoping Samuel can replicate the success of Scott Kashket who signed a similar deal at Adams Park in 2016.

So who is Alex Samuel? To find out more about him I spoke to BBC Three Counties summariser for Stevenage, Deano Thompson: 

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State Of Play – Michael Calvin

I’d barely had a chance to tuck my trusty Three Lions shirt back in the drawer, cleansed of all the flying beers, tears and sweat of a scorching World Cup summer. But, the English Football League and Premier League was BACK already to dazzle us with its rollercoaster ride of emotions for another glorious season.

Fresh from a young and multi-cultural England team giving a lot of us something to unite behind in these most fractious of times, surely now is the time for football to puff it’s chest out and be proud of its wonderful unifying and far reaching influence for good. Or is it? As you and I both know from bitter experience – where there is hope, despair is never far away.

cover‘State Of Play’ is the latest offering from award winning journalist Michael Calvin and the turning of the pages is akin to watching an end to end, nail-biting cup tie. As you’d expect from a hugely impressive thirty odd years at the coal-face of journalism, the supporting cast assembled by Calvin is of the very highest calibre – Arsene Wenger at his philosophical best; the gravel soaked common sense of Shaun Dyche; Gerrard, Dele and Gareth Southgate et al. But the common thread throughout Calvin’s work is the light he shines behind the scenes, unearthing the human stories and unsung heroes who are the real stars of the show.

The book is made up of an exhaustive nineteen chapters, split into four parts – The Player; The Manager; The Club and The People.

The opening pages are a literal bucket of cold water to the face as the dying moments of former West Brom legend Jeff Astle are poignantly recounted by his daughter Dawn. Astle died aged just 59 from the ravaging effects of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a condition common in boxers.

Thanks to the relentless campaigning of Dawn Astle, the FA and PFA have finally commissioned an independent study into the long-term effects of heading a football. I was completely unaware of the issue of CTE, but with shockingly high numbers of former footballers potentially affected, it could have huge ramifications for the game. Calvin’s delicate treatment of this topic is as skilful as it it is heartbreaking and provides Dawn’s fight the exposure it surely deserves.

With my attention firmly in his grasp, Calvin’s investigative journey calls at homophobia, mental health issues, failing protocols for assessing and safeguarding injured players, outdated toxic-masculinity, sexism and the high pressure culture of the modern game.

The back drop for these stories is behind the scenes at some of the biggest clubs in the world alongside prisons, housing estates, homeless shelters and non-league grounds. The beauty of this book is that people like Tony McCool, manager of Dunstable Town, working with a budget of zero sits side by side with the general manager of FC Barcelona, Jose Segura. Everyone has equal importance and input in ‘State Of Play’ as Calvin gets under the skin of the beautiful game.

It’s far from all doom and gloom though. The superb bluntness of Accrington Stanley chairman Andy Holt is thoroughly invigorating as his opening quote of chapter 13 illustrates perfectly:

“Sport in this country is being taken over by rich people who take the piss. Football is a gambling den. It’s not an industry. It is just a casino. It’s awful. Some clubs are like Formula One cars, allowed to fit rocket boosters. I’m still pedalling this little bike like mad.” 

Holt is the local boy made good who has taken it upon himself to make sure the club that famously wouldn’t die continues to stay alive for the good of the community. There is no magic wand with Holt or unsustainable spending, just gritty pragmatism and an amazing transparency that fans of other clubs might not want to admit to being slightly jealous of. And it’s working too with Stanley waltzing to the League Two title last season.

Triumph in the face of adversity is a common theme, often doused in perspective allowing success or failure to be measured outside of the binary form of football results. Calvin’s pursuit of the ugly truth is a masterclass of balanced, informed journalism. The facts and testimonies are woven together with a free flowing and relatable passion for the game which places trust in us as readers to see the message for ourselves.

I have learnt a huge amount from the books of Michael Calvin and ‘State Of Play’ is his finest work to date. I just hope that the power brokers in football can bear to look in the mirror that Calvin holds up to them.

STATE OF PLAY BY MICHAEL CALVIN IS PUBLISHED ON 23RD AUGUST BY CENTURY AT £16.99

Buy it here

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The Little & Large Show Is Back

The Chairboys defeat against Bristol Rovers at Adams Park gave the home fans very little to cheer about after the Gas dominated large parts of the game and they deservedly took the three points.

However, the introduction of Scott Kashket as a second half substitute led to Wycombe making a real game of it in the closing stages.

The diminutive striker scored his first goal of the season late on after a knock down from the talismanic Adebayo Akinfenwa. It was a familiar sight from two seasons ago when Kashket and Akinfenwa were the scourge of League Two defences and Wanderers fans will be praying that Scott can stay fit and firing alongside The Beast.

After the game, I spoke with Kashket about his goal, fitness and his Panenka penalty against Northampton Town in the League Cup:

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Striking fear into League One defences

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