This week we look back at WIE 32 from August 2000; the final issue of the fanzine. Erm, well, that is until 2010 and the small matter of the club having a large, unpaid HMRC bill forced our return again with WIE 33.
This was a 32-page issue that “celebrated” the club’s relegation to the Southern League from the Conference after a 15-year stay, by hook or by crook, at the top of the non-league pyramid. But the real celebration for us, as reflected by the front cover, was Kevin “I’m no quitter” Hales’ decision to, erm, quit as manager. Mind you, he shouldn’t have had the option as he should have been sacked the moment our fate was decided at Hednesford. But, heh. All of which was covered in my editorial along with a plea to join the newly formed Independent Supporters Association.
A Wycombe supporting old work colleague of mine provided the next article titled ‘Fantasy Island’ in which he commented on the impact football clubs have on their supporters. This was based on his observations of me following Hales’ departure and the speculation on who might be his replacement. Apparently, I wasn’t in a good place! The fantasy was the names being handed about in hope rather than expectation.
Next, ‘Where did it all go wrong?’ by an unidentified author, which focused on three home games they thought had a significant contribution towards our relegation; the 2-2 draw with Altrincham in October, the 3-2 defeat to Sutton United in November, and the 1-1 draw with Dover Athletic in January. Next was an article by “Darren – behind the goal” who gave us the lowdown on football in Essex following his move through the pipe a couple of years beforehand. He concentrated on his visits to Canvey Island and, the sadly now defunct, Purfleet. Darren’s piece was followed by our review of the 1999/2000 season, which given that we were relegated, was a tough read.
We then challenged the Kentish Times – blimey, remember when local papers were a thing? – and their coverage of Hales’ departure. He was basically given carte blanche to give his side of the story and wasn’t challenged on his appalling record in the dugout. No, the KT certainly wasn’t the home of hard-hitting journalism.
White Socks then provided that true staple of the fanzine, his all-time worst Wings XI. And, so glorious was it, that we will bring you this article in full tomorrow. His choices brought a surprise or two but were based on their performances in a Wings shirt and nothing else. Anyway, pour yourself a stiff drink before reading it is our advice!
The centre spread was given over to a comparison between the teams in the Southern League that we were joining to our last time there in the 1985/86 season. We’d only be saying hello again to Fisher, Folkestone, and King’s Lynn. Trips to the likes of Bedworth and Gosport had been replaced by clubs such as Burton and Ilkeston. Deep joy.
An article titled “The British Disease” wasn’t about hooliganism, but about the perceived mental fragility of top British sportsmen and their inability to deliver when required. White Socks then provided another thought-provoking piece which analysed the timing of our goals for and against the previous season. It turned out that we’d thrown away a minimum of ten points in the final 15 minutes of games, which would have kept us up comfortably. Oh well.
Another unnamed correspondent reviewed Kevin Hales’ tenure and was positively upbeat about his departure. So much so that he or she had bought a season ticket for the first time in 16 years. Now that was a statement! Martin Kay then reminisced about his one season (1990/91) watching the Wings before he moved to Scotland and his visits to PVR then being few and far between. Get in touch Martin if you still follow the club’s fortunes.
In what was the issue of the unnamed correspondent, another one speculated on where the club went from there following the relegation with the hope that it would be the catalyst for better times. Hmm. This was followed by a space filling graphic welcoming Rambo back to the club following his appointment as manager shortly before WIE went to print.
The issue meandered towards its conclusion with our Euro 2000 diary, another short piece celebrating Hales’ departure (talk about a dominant theme!) and, finally, the fanzine’s own obituary. After eight years it was 32 issues and out…