‘We can walk away with our pride intact’
Boss already looking forward to next season
out of the league and talk of extinction to being at Wembley and 20 seconds from promotion is something we’re proud of.
“We’ll go again next season and we’ll have our moment.” PROUD Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth walked away from Wembley with his head held high despite defeat to Southend United in the play-off final.
The Chairboys were just seconds from promotion when Joe Piggot struck in the dying embers of extra time, after Joe Jacobson’s free-kick was turned into his own net by Dan Bentley.
Pigott’s strike forced a dramatic penalty shoot-out under the arch and it was the Shrimpers who prevailed as popular duo Matt Bloomfield and Sam Wood failed to beat Bentley from the spot.
It was the narrowest of defeats and Wanderers can be proud of their efforts at the home of football, particularly given it was only a year ago that they dodged relegation on the final day.
Ainsworth refused to be disheartened despite the heartbreaking outcome at Wembley and says he cannot wait to go again in League Two next season.
“I am proud and I am optimistic for Wycombe,” he said. “It is obviously a devastating way to lose, but not for me.
“The players will feel it more than me.
“I am ready now to build. I have had a great taste of it – a phenomenal season – and I’m really looking forward to starting again on August 8, I really am.
“The players are down and they have given everything. They have given everything on the day and
DRAMATIC: (Above) Gareth Ainsworth speaks to his players during a break in play; x“(right) giving his players the thumbs-up did not get anything out of it. but I’ll be telling themem to look at the bigger er picture.
“It has been an n amazing turnaround and I have nothing but admiration for the players, fans and staff and I’ll be relishing working with them m again.
“I told the players that hat nobody leaves this stadiumum with their head down and to be proud of the seasonson and if anybody thinks nks otherwise then come to see me because I am proud of them.
“I have had defeats and bad moments in my career, eer, but this wasn’t a badad moment. We were part of a momentous battle ttle today.”
Ainsworth will nowow begin his preparations for next term and insistsists Wycombe Wanderers will stick to their original fiveveyear plan for sustainability,ty, de despite exceeding exp expectations this sea season.
The Chairboys ch chief penned a n new long-term c contract on B Boxing Day at A Adams Park afte after drawing up a bluep blueprint for the future of the club alongside chairman Andrew How Howard.
Howard spoke of survival, stability and success whe when outlining his vision for the future of Wanderers over the next five years a and staying up was the re requirement for 2014-15.
Ainsworth said: “We are ahead of th the plan and as long as we stay ahead of the plan we will be fine. We have a fivefive-year plan and we are well ahead of it in year one on the pitch.
“Play-offs was in year three of the plan, not year one. Now i it is about the expectation in year two.
“Andrew showed me what he wan wanted to do with the club and I said I wanted to be a part of the five-year plan at Wycombe Wanderers – that is to be a sustainable League One club in five y years.”
We have a five-year plan
and we are well ahead of it on year one on the