Wycombe Comanche

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The Wycombe Comanche was the lucky mascot for Wycombe Wanderers Football Club for a number of years in the early 2000s.

The Wycombe Comanche with manager Gareth Ainsworth

On the final game of the 1998–99 season the team faced a tricky game away at Lincoln City. Earlier in the season when Lawrie Sanchez took over after the departure Neil Smilie, the team has been destined to be relegated. However, back to back wins against Manchester City and Wigan Athletic meant a win at Lincoln would ensure an unlikely survival in Division 2.

History[edit]

On the way to the ground the team coach passed a second hand shop and in the window was a 5 ft wooden statue of a Native American. The team decided that if they won the game and survived relegation they would go back and purchase the figure. Thanks to an 83rd-minute winner from Paul Emblen, and roared on by 3000 travelling fans (using 50 coaches laid on by the club) the team won 1-0 and stayed up.

At Wycombe Wanderers[edit]

During that summer Terry Gibson, Sanchez’s assistant was entrusted with locating the figure and bringing him to the club. On the first day of training for the new season Gibson arrived at the training ground with the statue to howls of laughter.

The name ‘Comanche’ was given to the figure in honour of Terry Evans, one of the clubs long serving coaches who often used the term ‘Comanche trick’ in training. Beating Lincoln was the biggest ‘Comanche trick’ of them all.

The figure appeared in the centre of the squad photo that year, a story which made the back page of a nation tabloid newspaper. He was given the number 31 squad number that year. Before matches the Comanche was placed on the centre circle for luck. The seasons that followed, with the Comanche as a lucky mascot, were some of the most successful in the club's history-the team reached the semi-finals of the FA Cup after beating Leicester City and Wimbledon on the route to a famous show down against Liverpool at Villa Park. The team went down 2-1 thanks to goals from Robbie Fowler and Emile Heskey.

After Wycombe Wanderers[edit]

The 2002–03 season started badly for the Wanderers from Wycombe, and eventually Sanchez and Gibson were relieved of their duties, to be replaced with Tony Adams.

In July 2008 the local paper, the Bucks Free Press ran a story claiming that the Comanche was for sale on eBay.[1] The article, dated 12 July 2008, suggested that “The seller, who is based in Buckhurst Hill, Essex has posted it with a starting price of £99 and fans have until 19 July to make their bids”. The Comanche was removed from eBay before this date.

The Comanche was believed to have been bought by a fan[citation needed] of Wycombe Wanderers and moved to somewhere in Scotland. Prior to this the Comanche was in storage.

On 10 August, it was reported the Comanche had been moved back to Buckinghamshire.

The Comanche now is kept in Cheadle, Staffordshire. It was present at the final game of the 2010–11 season,[2] where Wycombe Wanderers clinched promotion to League One. It was also guest of honour at the Wycombe Wanderers Ex-players Association Dinner, at Adams Park in November 2011.[citation needed]

The Comanche was star attraction in Wycombe Museum as part of their exhibition of Wycombe Wanderers history. The exhibition ran until September 2013.[3][4]

The Comanche is also part of an exhibition at the National Football Museum in Manchester, running from September to April 2014, celebrating 150 years of the Football League.[5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Local sports news from High Wycombe, Beaconsfield, Marlow, Amersham &". Bucks Free Press. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ [2][dead link]
  4. ^ "Comanche in league exhibition". Wycombewanderers.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 
  5. ^ Crafton, Adam (2013-09-21). "George Best school report at National Football Museum". Dailymail.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-02-16. 

External links[edit]