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Next Season

While we are still very much in the playoff race, lets assume for a moment that we will not be promoted this season.

If we count Rowe and Harriman as defenders, the only midfield and forward players signed for next season are Mcginn and Thomson. So we have something of a blank sheet of paper.

The next part is shamelessly hypothetical. But I suspect it is not far from the current thinking. So go with me if you wish, or simply stop reading and try another thread.

Let us assume an honest conversation was had with you by the chairman and manager at one of these fan council thingy meetings. The honest appraisal gives four options. You get to choose the direction to follow.

1) We can dispense with fan ownership, look for a sugar daddy to up the playing budget so that we can get better players in with whatever costs and risks you associate with this model.
2) We can seek to bring in creative flair players to entertain. But the manager cautions that with the playing budget as it is, the only such players available within the budget tend to be lazy b*ggers, so he believes doing this makes a bottom six finish very likely
3) We carry on broadly as we are again next season
4) The manager cautions that he does not believe that an expansive playing style and a top ten finish are achievable at this budget. If the brief is to do both, he would prefer to leave now and let you bring in another manager now to attempt this (and in his opinion probably fail).

Which of these four options would you select (NOTE the option to carry on with the same manager, play more expansive football and expect to be in the top 10 is not available in this scenario.)



  • What I would like to see next season is as follows:-

    1. A tweak rather than a revolution in the playing style towards keeping the ball more. Nothing radical but teams that have built from low bases in the past have to evolve their style as they get found out.

    2. The set up of the promised youth set up. I've seen nothing since the initial PR stunt to say whether this is happening or is dependant on a sponsor.

    3. A change in the 'poor old Wycombe' story coming from the management. Let's show some fight, talk about what we are building and give the fans a goal we are aiming for.

    If I were to link it back to the four options above it's probably closest to carry on as we are.

  • I agree that a minor shift towards nicer football is needed.

    You can play very rigid, defensive and organised football in the style of GA without smashing the ball and exclusively playing head tennis.

  • I believe the intention is to 'just tread water'. Promising jam tomorrow within the 5 year plan. However, this is football, it's about entertainment, hope, passion and achievement. To continue along the same vain as we are going at the moment could become mighty unproductive as we get further into the 5 year plan - ok we may be closer to balancing the books, doubtful in my view, but the joy could go out of it. Why would I bother spending hundreds of pounds on Wycombe, especially all the money I spend when we play away, if my hopes have to be constantly reined in by 'we are just a small club', 'we have no money', we can afford this can't afford that....the message becomes tiresome, and there lies the problem. I lose hope, and so will others...

    What actually is 'jam tomorrow' it the thought of league one football ( whoopee do ) and anyway haven't we been here before with a 5 year plan.

    For those of us that have been around long enough, the ride from non-league football was just fantastic, but we are now becalmed and in the doldrums, like a great many other league clubs down at this level.

    So what's the answer - I wish I knew. Probably to carry on as best we can, with the odd good cup run, but even drawing Man U in the cup has lost it's appeal as they would only send a reserve/youth team out against us.

    I just like to go back and start it all over again!! I suspect I've been watching for too long now......

  • The most DevC post of all time

  • edited March 2016

    In just the past two years watching Wycombe I've experienced: last day improbable survival, blossoming talent in on loan, last minute penalty goals (& saves), a ridiculous trip to Wembley ("just kick it out Blooms!"), seeing the third oldest player in the Football League, watched us stand toe to toe playing the ball on the deck against the Villa, held my head in my hands as we hoofed the ball up to diminutive old wingers being forced to play as target men, cheered wonder goals from Wood & Spring (yes I know don't start), been the fickle fan who thought Marcus Bean was terrible then thought he was the greatest thing ever, dismayed at the departure of PCH, delighted at Fred's early games, delighted at PCH's return, dismayed at his injury, screamed "come on Arron care like the other Arron", seen the worst half performance in a Quaters shirt (Donacien) and the best (Scowan). Cheered some more, danced, sung, shouted, sworn, felt elation, despair; enjoyed the new real ale bar, the better pitch, the smarter ground; visited four clubs that subsequently went out of the league. Yes it's a 'roller coaster' but that is what being a fan should be about. I'm getting everything I want from my club and consider myself blessed to be a Chairboy, I'm just enjoying the ride!

  • I would like to see more use made of the squad. The likes of Sellers, Rowe and Kretzchmar should have got more playing time even if it is only from the bench (but not 5 minute cameo appearances) in respect of the first two.

    The common view put over by the club is that promotion is not wanted at the moment, so provided that the club is not in danger of relegation there is no reason why these players should not be given a run out. It must be quite dispiriting for Sellers, knowing he will never get selected.

    I would also like to see two or three young enthusiatic younger players signed up next season in place of Bloomfield, Thompson and McGinn. Bloomfield perhaps in charge of youth set up if it gets off ground.

    Generally Dev's option 3.

  • The conversation you advocate will be one that nearly every club in division 3 and 4 will be having. What do we need to push on ? A striker that scores goals, a creative player that creates goals.
    At the start of the season when we signed Thompson I assumed that Woody would be left, Thompson right with Hayes and AAH in the centre feeding off their creativity. As it was Woody lost his mojo, Thompson played in the centre, Hayes was not as good as previous seasons AAH kind of disappeared.
    So what do we need next season. Same as we needed at the start of this season, a goal scorer, a creative player.
    My only note of optimism comes around PCH. If he had come to Wycombe and continued until the end of the season playing as he did in the first few games either Millwall would have been delighted to get the player back or someone else would have snapped him up. As it is he showed what he can do. He was happy back here. The fans showed their love to him. Millwall might be happy to let him go and he can return. Then we are half-way to our striker / creative player dilemma .

  • PCH is a big risk though with his injury record. I think it's probably one worth taking, but it could easily all go wrong again for him next season.

    Same again next year would be great - how often do we get to play Premier League teams? And we've still got a decent shout at reaching the playoffs. Although ask me again in two weeks after a 1-0 loss with no shots on goal on a cold, wet Accrington evening followed by the same on a Carlisle afternoon and I might give you a different answer.

  • To be honest, I don't think there was much wrong with the formation we played on Sat. I like the idea of a midfield three of McGinn, Bean and O'Nien, with Rowe deputising. I like Hayes or Thompson playing the link man role. I like Jacobson, Stewart and Jombati in defence. I like Harriman being played as a floating creative force (he's not done that role for us yet but I bet he could).

    So this summer all we really need to do is replace Pierre, probably sign a better keeper, and get a pacey striker up front. My guess is PCH will be that man.

    Those are the essentials. Then we'll need to sign a few cheap squad players to work around them.

    The two big issues for me are 1) keeping O'Nien and 2) change the playing style. I don't know if Ainsworth will be prepared to do that but evidence from last season suggests he might. Play to the squad's strengths rather than safety first.

    So in Dev's scenario I'd go for 3.

    My first choice would actually be 1 but I recognise I'm in such a small minority here it's not really worth the candle making the argument.

  • I don't think we can afford to gamble on PCH again, the quality is clearly there but it's just too much of a risk.

    That said, Neil Harris is interested in taking him back anyway:

  • Interesting and I think fairly encouraging responses. I was expecting more option 2s.

    I suspect GA is ultimately a pragmatist. He will do what he feels is most likely to produce a result (and he has been bloody good at it). I don't think he will ever move away from the minimum standard of all are expected to work their proverbials off. I have to say I think that's right. I think he would prefer to have the option to play more expansive football but this season those he expected to fill those roles (the AAH, Banton, McGinns) one way or another have not shone and he has had to find the best way to get a result with what he has. Despite that Gormanesque football will remain a distant memory.

    Got to say I do find the financial situation concerning. If we are that badly off in a relatively good resultsyear, the season after a Wembley appearance, with a decent cup run and a good value player sale from Ingram, how would we survive a poor season on the field with no cup runs and no player sales. One of those must happen before too long. I wonder if we wouldn't be better exploring option 1) from a position of relative strength now instead of waiting until things are really desperate. Maybe behind the scenes we already are. I still fear that at present the next change of division is more likely to be down than up.

  • Why do you continually trot out the same old shit as though it's the first time you've ever said it? We know what you think, thankfully you haven't got your wish and we are a fan owned football club.

    You stick to sniping from the distant sidelines and let others work hard and volunteer and donate time and money to make it work.

  • Necessary to be so aggressive, Eric.

    I am relatively relaxed on ownership structure. If the club can stabilise operating around 8th to 15th in Lg2 every season under the current structure, that is probably good enough for me and my needs, particularly given my geographic remoteness. I do fear the risk of a spiral if a bad season one year leaves us in the bottom 2 however.

    Any organisation should look to regularly analyse the lessons of today and project them into the future to review its long term viability. Given the relative recent on the field success, cup runs , Wembley appearances and player sales, unless there is some other factor not known, you would reasonably expect finances to be relatively at a high point at present. If they are not, it is a reasonable question to ask how the club would cope when it has a rougher patch on the field and in player sales, as one day it inevitably must.

    If , big IF, a full understanding of the finances shows that there is no realistic way that the current structure can support a League club over time and we are just waiting for the proverbial to hit the fan, better to address that now at a time of relatively strength than later when the fan is already covered. If the current financial situation is a blip with a realistic plan to survive a potential downturn in income, then I have to say I am relaxed about structures. While promotion would be nice, personally I would be as comfortable with a fan owned secure future in Lg2 as a privately owned secure future in Lg1. However if there are severe doubts based on current reality about whether fan owned structures can even offer that secure future in Lg2, then my view would be face up to that reality now.

    feels to me a reasonable question to ask given the financial concerns coming out of the club. Put your head in the sand on dogma grounds and by the time you pull it out it may be too late.

  • You are far from relaxed on club ownership. You are forever harping on about getting a rich owner as though there are billionaires queuing up to own a 4th division football club

  • Incorrect.
    I would prefer not to think about ownership at all.
    If finances as a fan owned club can support a reasonably secure Lg2 club, that's fine with me. I don't necessarily have higher expectations.
    If not, lets face up to it while we are strong not wait until a crisis. That's all I am saying really. I don't have enough detailed knowledge of the finances to judge. Recent pronouncements ring alarm bells however.

  • Disingenuous, you have always been against fan ownership, and you are now

  • No I have always had concerns about whether it was sustainable. No form of ownership can offer that 100%, it is about risk and ambition.

    Torquay's (not fan owned- well sort of) experience after going out of the league is precisely what I fear and continue to fear could happen to us in the worst case. I would prefer the form of ownership that minimises this risk.

    Frankly I didn't expect last year and this years on the pitch form to be achievable under a fan owned format. I was wrong.

    I am a pragmatist, you are a idealist.

    You passionately want fan ownership to work and reject other models for dogmatic reasons. Fair enough. That is the way an idealist thinks.

    I am more of a pragmatist.
    We have given fan ownership a decent go now. If the finances suggest it is sustainable at League level, that's good enough for me. If they suggest it is not, I would rather pragmatically seek to do something about it before the crisis hits.

  • I agree with @eric_plant @DevC but I guess that's not that much of a surprise to you. You do always post about going back to an external financial backer and shoe horn it in when ever you can. This time you tried it, everyone ignored it as an option and you had to make it more obvious what you were implying. I've got no problem with that being your view but you don't need to keep saying it. We get it.

    Personally I think the club could actually use the ideal of staying fan owned as a massive plus. Highlighting the benefits and talking about how the club has play by different rules to others when budgeting could in fact be a reason for supporters to join the cause. Constantly focusing on the negative of no money and a small squad switches people off.

    I was laughing heartily at your 'I'm a pragmatist' line and nearly fell off my chair when you had to say it again only two sentences later. A firm believer in the say it, say it again and then confirm what you said theory I see.

  • I'm struggling a little with that middle paragraph. We emphasize that we are different to clubs with a big financial backer, that we have to play by different rules when budgeting - but no focussing on having no money?

  • Me too. The different rules that the club has to play by would, most obviously, be not having any money and having to break even financially.

  • Glad to amuse you Righty. Like Chris, I don't really understand your point in para 2 (actually I didn't understand para 3 either). What are you trying to say?

  • All the PR from the club focuses on the negative of having no money, having a small squad and not being able to do certain things.
    All we need to do is talk about the things have a fan owned club does allow us to do such as control our destiny, battle against the monied side of football and show what can happen when team spirit and hard work outweigh money.
    It just about talking about what we do have rather than what we don't. What we want to achieve and have achieved rather than what stops us doing more. Explain how we compete very well against sides like Notts County who spend more on two forwards than we do on our squad. I

    I don't really expect you to understand it @DevC . To you success and wealth are totally interchangable. I happen to think there are enough examples in our league to show that is not neccesarily the case. You are a pragmatist after all.

  • I'm not sure if I'm correct in thinking this but I was under the impression that year 5 of the (current) five year plan has us as a stable league one supporter owned club.

    I may be wrong but I think that is the case, which would suggest @DevC that it is certainly seen as being possible (hopefully more 'likely' than 'possible' if it is part of an official business plan) under supporter ownership.

    If that is the case, then I'd say let things carry on as they are, until such a time as we don't achieve the points target set for a particular season. As boring as that sounds. I believe next year the target is to 'definitely reach the playoffs', so a bit more for us to cling onto than this 52/61 points nonsense, and I don't really care how we do it as long as we do it.

  • BUT I do think there needs to be a compromise with all this 'little wycombe' nonsense.

    Are we really smaller in stature than Dagenhams, Barnets, Morecambes, Accringtons and Crawleys? Even Fleetwoods, Burtons, Rochdales, Burys, Colchesters? Of course not.

    So no more of this 'it'll be a minor miracle if we can pull off a shock against Barnet, all the odds are against us, we only have 2 players on the bench and one one of them drove the players coach as we have no money' nonsense. I've only missed one game this season and it's starting to make even me think twice about whether I can face a trip to the Welsh sandpit that is Newport on Saturday to watch us battle bravely against relegation.

  • Not sure I agree with that. The club does try to emphasise the "owned by the fans" line, it is the first thing that shows on Twitter for example. But while that is passionately of interest to the dedicated minority, I am not convinced that the currently neutral , kids growing up or people moving into the vicinity, are that bothered.

    I really hoped that Wembley would encourage a few waverers to go more regularly - that sort of success and buzz is the best form of marketing there is. Sadly it doesn't seem to have materialised into anything substantial if anything at all.

    Actually I think the message of " f*ck em , we've got no cash but we're up against the world and succeeding anyway" is probably stronger to the neutral than "we're fan owned you know, isn't that great".

    Is money a guarantor of success or lack of it a guarantor of failure? Of course not, we showed that for much of last season, Accy and us (to a lesser extent) are doing the same this. But there is a correlation. Arguably the "biggest" four teams in our league are in the top five of the table for example.

    I don't need WWFC to reach the highest level it possibly could at all costs. I am comfortable with fan ownership if that is what the majority of the fans want if it can deliver a strong probability of at least League 2 football for the foreseeable future.

    I don't believe in five year plans, or at least they are fine but you need to validate and update them through the process. If the finances are on track to deliver a good possibility of even Lg2 football for the foreseeable future, then I see no reason to actively seek to change. I certainly wouldn't change that view if we failed to make the playoffs next year whether that was in the plan or not.

    The fact that we seem to be in significant financial difficulty in what should be a good year rings alarm bells. Were I to be in a position to study the accounts in detail, I would be looking to ask myself difficult questions about whether what we are doing is sustainable, If it is , fine, if not the time to do something about it is now not when it is too late.

  • I do agree that certain alarm bells are ringing, after so much unbudgeted income appears to not be enough. Or is that just the message bring put out to get the share scheme moving?

    Or is it just that we are sticking to the five year plan, and although it would be nice to pay a new loanee or two, since promotion is not part of this years plan, we are not spending above the budget chasing the dream.

    Perhaps there WOULD be money for a loanee next season if we were hovering in 8th and chasing our goal of 7th? Or if we were looking to be struggling to reach 61 points this season?

    From a fans viewpoint, whatever the case, it is mighty frustrating to see us appear to 'give up' for the season, And there's really no argument that can be put forward to suggest that we are really extending ourselves towards achieving promotion this year. No team can go several games without a full bench if actively seeking promotion. Yesterday and Saturday we had only 5, one being over 40 and one who should be in the 'youth team'.

  • Let's not forget a few years ago when a number of mysterious parties came forward looking to buy the club you were fully in favour of accepting, without knowing who they were or what they were offering. Add it turned it we never did fund out.

    You can day what you want but people sent stupid and people don't forget. Every so often when you perceive us to be struggling or fans to be getting restless you re-float the idea of getting in a wealthy backer to by the club.

    That's fine, but don't dress it up add though you have no opinion either way. Is boring, and it insults peoples intelligence. Also don't portray others as the stubborn idealists who refuse to budge. That's exactly what you are

  • I don't believe the five year plan argument Attitude. Were that to be the case, the order would have gone out to play the reserves out of position at Wembley to ensure defeat. That's just not real world.

    You misrepresent Eric. At the time Eric, we were favourites to go out of the league with the likelihood of going out of business as a professional club. At the time an alternative seemed well worth investigating positively.

    You may not believe it if you wish, but actually I don't care in itself who owns the club. I do care whether the club exists as a League club. That is my priority. If it came to a choice I wonder if ownership is more important to you than league status, (as is your right. ). So I cant be an idealist about "ownership" as I don't have ideals in that respect!

    I do have to confess to being seriously spooked that the club is apparently so badly off financially in the immediate aftermath of a top of the league season, revenue from playoffs, a trip to Wembley and strong player sales. If there are factors that explain this and explain why it will improve imminently , fine. If not, I would suggest it is an odd view that has us by choice following a path that would appear to threaten our very survival as soon as a bad year comes along.

  • @Right_in_the_Middle

    What's happening to me, another post I totally utterly agree with you.

  • we should have money after all the income something aint right money leaking out maybe .

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