Thinking about High/West Wycombe brings to mind Ali G's remark when he was interviewing the Secretary of State for Wales, 'I don't know much about Wales, but I hear it's crap.' A friend of mine who has lived all over the country (but has now returned to Essex) says that Wycombe is the worst place he has ever lived in.
My normal matchday routine is to drive down the M40 to park up at High Wycombe and get the train from there. This Saturday I shall get a fast train from Leamington that goes straight through High Wycombe, waving a cheery greeting to the assembled Chairboys as I go past. Incidentally, they are called Chairboys because the beech woods of Bucks gave rise to a furniture industry based in High Wycombe (now largely gone).
I encountered the Chairboys once before when I went to a match at Rushden and Diamonds. Their then manager, Lawrie Sanchez, was sent off by the referee who got fed up with the abuse directed at him from the dugout. Sanchez placed himself in the shallow stand behind the dugout and continued to go beserk, leading to an intervention by stewards.
The Chairboys took exception to this and other decisions and remained seated in their stand after the match chanting 'Chairboys'. I could still hear them as I walked up the hill towards my car. The view I formed was that their hard core away support was made up of descendants of the Hell Fire Club which used to meet nearby.
I have one good memory of Adams Park which is approached through a single road industrial estate but has an attractive setting. I saw the Charlton women's team take the league cup off Arsenal much to the shock of the assembled Gooners. Wasps also play there and are supported by Alan Curbishley's wife and, since his furlough, by Curbs himself.
We could get on to Disraeli, but I think we have had enough local colour. What about the team? The view of 4-4-2 is that they are not very good. They forecast a finish in 21st place, commenting 'If the Chairboys follow the standards they set so far in 2009, then an instant rerurn to the basement is a distinct possibility.' This could mean the sofa for manager Peter Taylor: six of his last seven jobs have lasted barely a year.
The fan commentator is surprisingly gloomy, saying that he fears administration and relegation. Mmind you that view has also been expressed at Charlton, but as my Bristol Rovers supporting fan said yesterday, if you can't be optimistic at this time of the season when can you be? Asked what change he would make at the club, the Chairboy says, 'Stop spending more than we can afford.' For some obscure reason, the disliked club is Colchester United rather than MK Dons (although I believe there used to be a rivalry with Oxford).
Matty Phillips is a kind of Jonjo Shelvey figure at the club. The 18-year old enjoyed a fine debut season, but was not used too often to avoid burn out. Tommy Doherty is apparently the terrace favourite and most important player.
The Wycombe fans can be expected to make a lot of noise because of the 'fallen giant' challenge. That is really all rubbish because we were never giants in the first place, just a medium-sized club who had good fortune and, for a while, good management. The Chairboys will not doubt recall their league cup victory over us when we were in the Premiership when Les Reed was in charge.
There have been some signs of a revival of slight optimism among the Addickted over the last few days. There has been an acknowledgement in some quarters that Phil Parkinson is a decent bloke who has been working hard for the club in difficult circumstances and that he should not be condemned before a ball is kicked.
Nevertheless, the Addickted will be nervous and an early goal is important. I expect Parky to play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Shelvey in the hole and Burton up front. I am going for a 2-0 win (Shelvey, Bailey).
Enjoy the game!