Wan­der­ers chair­man got in­volved for a bet

‘Not be­ing a fa­nat­i­cal Chair­boy will help me be suc­cess­ful’

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - SPORT - By Matt Lewis matt.lewis@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

IN­COM­ING Wy­combe Wan­der­ers chair­man An­drew Howard has in­cred­i­bly re­vealed how a bet with for­mer Wan­der­ers stal­wart Ivor Beeks even­tu­ally led to him tak­ing the reins at Adams Park.

Howard is a life-long Leeds United fan but will of­fi­cially take over from the de­part­ing Don Wood­ward to­mor­row (Fri­day) fol­low­ing for­mal rat­i­fi­ca­tion from the Wy­combe Wan­der­ers Trust last month.

It is an un­likely devel­op­ment for the Bri­tish GT3 mo­tor rac­ing cham­pion, who also owns Bucks ice cream firm Beechdean Dairy Farm­house, as his af­fil­i­a­tion only dates back to the 2009-10 sea­son.

“I’ve only been in­volved with Wy­combe for four or so years,” ex­plains Howard. “I only got in­volved with Wy­combe be­cause I had a bet with [for­mer chair­man] Ivor Beeks that the day Leeds United were in the same league as Wy­combe I’d buy a box. He phoned 20 min­utes af­ter Wy­combe were pro­moted to League One, so I bought a box and here we are to­day. I’m a busi­ness­man through and through and I’m used to run­ning with teams that win in top level of mo­tor rac­ing.

“I got in­volved and hav­ing watched ev­ery­body in Wy­combe, I felt some­body had to put their hand up and say ‘you know what, this is achiev­able’. I was very lucky that Don asked me to do it and I jumped at the chance.

“I’m not do­ing this to be paid and I don’t have some am­bi­tion to be a foot­ball ty­coon, but I be­lieve that with the right play­ers, man­ager and sup­port and in­put from me, I reckon we can make it a sur­viv­able suc­cess.

“I love foot­ball. I’m a Leeds fan at heart, but if you cut me in half I wouldn’t be half Wy­combe Wan­der­ers, I’d be half suc­cess at busi­ness and half suc­cess at win­ning. I think hav­ing some­one that is per­haps not a fa­nat­i­cal fan, but some­one who is level-headed and sees the com­mer­cial side of things, will help. I’m very ex­cited.”

Howard’s time on the Wy­combe board has been brief, hav­ing only taken his place on the board a month be­fore be­ing named as the club’s next chair­man, but al­ready he has a clear vi­sion.

“One of my key strate­gies is to try and bring as much fi­nan­cial sta­bil­ity to Wy­combe Wan­der­ers as pos­si­ble,” he added.

“Hav­ing been in­volved in mo­tor sports and team sports for a long time, hope­fully I can cou­ple that with my ex­pe­ri­ence of busi­ness and it will be a good fit.

“The first ob­jec­tive is to build a sta­ble en­vi­ron­ment. There’s some re­ally good peo­ple at Wy­combe, some mas­sively loyal peo­ple and fans, and it’s about mak­ing sure they are able to trust in what we’re do­ing.

“We need to be clear in the mes­sage we’re try­ing to give to them.

“We won’t agree with every­one all of the time, but hope­fully they’ll see that we’re try­ing to do our best for Wy­combe Wan­der­ers Foot­ball Club.

“There’s a lot to do, masses to do, but I want to do it.

“We rely on the fan base for the in­come at the club. If you can cre­ate sta­bil­ity then every­one will recog­nise that and all pull to­gether.

“I think the peo­ple that are there, along with a cou­ple of ad­di­tions, can do a good job.”

Wy­combe con­tin­ued their pre­sea­son prepa­ra­tions this week with a 2-1 win at Weald­stone, where for­mer West Ham de­fender Cal­lum Driver and ex-Steve­nage Bor­ough de­fender Jhai Dhillon turned out on trial for the Chair­boys.

That came af­ter Wan­der­ers, who travel to Bar­net on Satur­day, lost 2-0 to Cham­pi­onship side Read­ing at the week­end.

Ainsworth: ‘Trans­fer busi­ness not yet done.’ See www.get­bucks. co.uk/sport.

Photo by Gary Par­ra­vani / www.xy­namic.com

‘ SUR­VIV­ABLE SUC­CESS’: New Wy­combe Wan­der­ers chair­man An­drew Howard

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