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A look back at the 1995/96 season
Chairboys on the Net will have been online for 20 years in December 2015. As part of our continuing look back on the history of the Club, we are taking an indepth look back at our debut season of 1995/96.

With Manager Martin O'Neill departing for Norwich City in June 1995, Wanderers headed into the 1995/96 campaign with a hint of trepedation under the Managership of new boss Alan Smith. The former Crystal Palace Manager had been the No.1 choice of the Wanderers Board and was appointed on 29th June 1995. Smith commented: "The set-up here is fantastic and the package Iíve been given could not be bettered by any First Division club with the exception of Wolves. Everything is based on excellence from the training ground upwards. It is better than many Premier League clubs." He added: "Iím going to be running the football side of the club from top to bot tom and that means a lot to me. I was upset to leave Palace but things couldnít really carry on as they were." Smith had signed a two-year contract at Adams Park and said hoped to build on the work of predecessor OíNeill who had taken the Club from the Conference to the third tier of English football in successive seasons. He insisted: "This is an ambitious club and there are good times ahead. The thought of going to Bisham Abbey to train really excites me. During my time as a coach Iíve produced around £25 million worth of talent at both Palace and Wimbledon and Iíll do my best to develop the local youngsters here."

Pre-season preparations took on an unsual form under Smith. He took the players on a shooting day out, while fitness coach Keith Power was employed to put the squad through their paces. Smith had already told Cyrille Regis that he was no longer needed at the Club but the jury was still open on fellow veteran striker Simon Garner.

The first friendly came at Poole Town on Thursday 20th July 1995 where the Wycombe side included trialists Paul Hardyman (ex-Bristol Rovers defender/midfielder), Ray Daniel (ex-Portsmouth midfielder), Ross Pickering (teenage striker from Hayes) and Martin Hayes (the former Arsenal midfielder). Former Wanderers midfielder Graham Bressington, who had trained with the Wanderers in pre-season, did not make an appearance. Goals from Miquel Desouza (2), Mickey Bell, Tony Hemmings and Glyn Creaser ensured a comfortable 5-0 victory.

The Poole game was followed by the first home friendly - a visit from recently relegated Ipswich Town on Tuesday 25th July 1995. There were no more new face in the Wycombe line-up, with Hardyman the only triallist to make an appearance. Alex Mathie gave the visitors the lead on nine minutes but Mickey Bell levelled on 24 minutes after being put through by Steve Brown. Desouza then gave Wycombe the lead on 31 minutes when he struck home from the edge of the box following an assist from Steve McGavin. Town, who included 'veteran' John Wark in their side, equalised after the break when Lee Chapman won the ball in the air for Mathie to set up Gus Uhlenbeek for a shot that Paul Hyde got a hand to but couldn't keep out. Attendance 2,132.

Two days after the Ipswich game a youthful Wanderers team travelled to then Ishtmian League side Aldershot Town where a Simon Garner goal on 77 minutes secured a 1-0 victory. Wycombe included triallist goalkeeper Mick Colgan from Chelmsford City in their line-up, while Glyn Creaser and Simon Hutchinson played in what turned out to be their final game in a Wycombe shirt before they were released by Smith.

Wycombe travelled to Court Place Farm to take on Oxford City on Saturday 29th July 1995. In match played in heatwave conditions, Steve McGavin opened the scoring on 17 minutes, with Desouza adding a second three minutes later following good work from Dave Carroll. The goal of the game came on 78 minutes when substitute Garner turned his man on the edge of the box before firing home to seal a 3-0 victory. Attendance: 462

The home friendly against Southampton on Tuesday 1st August 1995 was preceeded by transfer speculation. Press reports suggested that Smith had made a £150,000 offer to bring 24 year old former England U21 defender Bryan Small to Adams Park. Wycombe 'keeper Paul Hyde had been linked with a move to second tier Reading but Smith confirmed Hyde would be staying at Wycombe at the same time as confirming the signing of Paul Hardyman from Bristol Rovers. Fans favorite Simon Garner had also been offered a new one year deal but had been told by Smith to cut down on his intake of beer and cigarettes. Garner would later claim that his drinking and smoking habits had been exagerrated by the new Wycombe Manager. Meanwhile, former Charlton Athletic midfielder Peter Garland had not been taken on following groin injury concerns from Smith. Garland, who made five appearances for Wanderers at the end of 1995/95 campaign, was on the verge of signing for Wycombe just before O'Neill left for Norwich.

The match with The Saints saw another Wanderers victory - with Miquel Desouza raising his profile further with the opening goal after just five minutes following Jason Cousins' ball into the edge of the box. Premiership Southampton equalised with an equisite free-kick from Matt Le Tissier, who curled a 19th minute free-kick over the Wycombe wall and out of reach of Hyde in the Wanderers goal. Cousins' close marking of Le Tissier saw the Saints star take off his own shirt later in the half and offer it to the Wycombe defender. But Wycombe had the last laugh when Francis Benali bundled over Dave Carroll five before the break to concede a penalty that Steve McGavin converted past Dave Beasant in the visitors goal. Wycombe included Sheffield United defender Mark Foran on trial in the side. Attendance: 3,854.

Wanderers final friendly before the start of the Football League season came on Saturday 5th August 1995 with a visit to Elm Park to take on Reading. The hosts had missed out on promotion to the Premiership in the previous season's play-off final with Bolton Wanderers. A brace from Stuart Lovell with goals on 35 and 37 minutes gave The Royals a 2-0 lead at the break but a higher paced second-half performance from Wycombe saw Mickey Bell pull a goal back on 64 minutes but Wanderers were denied an equaliser after fines saves from Reading 'keeper Simon Sheppard to keep out point-blank range efforts from Desouza, McGavin and Bell. Attendance: 2,884.

Wycombe Wanderers First Team squad - August 1995
Back row: Jason Soloman, Sean Stevens, Terry Howard, Paul Hyde, Terry Evans, Chuck Moussadik, Matt Crossley, Simon Stapleton, Gary Patterson
Centre row: Dave Jones (Physiotherapist) , Jim Melvin (Youth Team Coach), Miquel Desouza, Tony Hemmings, Keith Ryan, Jason Cousins, Dave Carroll, Steve Thompson, David Kemp (Assistant Manager), Neil Smillie (Youth Team Manager)
Front row: Steve Brown, Mickey Bell, Paul Hardyman, Alan Smith (Manager), Anthony Clark, Simon Garner, Steve McGavin

First League match - Saturday 12th August 1995 - Wycombe v Crewe Alexandra >>>

Match reports and memories of 1995/96 to follow during the 2015/16 - 20th anniversary season

Newly uploaded reports will be announced via the Wycombe Wanderers Newsnow feed

1995-1996-RESULTS, SCORERS, ATTENDANCES - plus report links as they become available
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