GARETH: TIME TO HANG UP BOOTS
...but only on a Sunday
GARETH AINSWORTH has officially retired…but only from Sunday League football!
The Wycombe Wanderers manager was still registered as a player with the League Two club last season as the Chairboys operated with just a first team.
The 44-year-old named himself on the bench a couple of time,s but he was a regular starter elsewhere at the weekend.
Ainsworth is set to sign on again for the EFL League Two club but has yet to assign himself a squad number. He says he could hold back until he’s actually needed.
He may want to for his own sake as he’s decided to bring down the curtain on his Bracknell Sunday League Premier Division career in the past few weeks.
The former QPR and Wimbledon fans’ favourite stresses that his Finchampstead Athletic retirement has nothing to do with his age, but family pressure has finally got the better of him.
“I probably will register [with Wycombe], but I won’t give myself a number until I need to. I want to come away from that if I can,” he said.
“I’m sadly going to announce my retirement from Sunday league. I understand that the missus and the kids are growing up and they need me around on a Sunday – and this job is chaos!
“I will miss it, but I’m sure the boys will substitute me with someone else.
“I’ll also miss not being in the squad on the back of the Wycombe programme but you never know what’s going to happen. We’ll see.”
Ainsworth has made just two signings this summer. Defender Adam El-Abd, below
right, joined from Shrewsbury Town and he has persuaded Nathan Tyson, inset left, to return to Adams Park more than a decade after his previous spell.
But it isn’t just because of a lack of funds. He was happy with what he saw at the end of last term. “I don’t want to go on about budgets this season,” he said.
“We haven’t got the worst. We have in the past, but we’re not the worst payers now.
“But ours isn’t the biggest. There are teams that have added lots of players, your Lutons, your Mansfields and your (Notts) County. They are going to be flying, but they’ve put themselves under pressure.
“We want to lose the underdog tag.
“We are now a solid outfit who can compete in this league with anybody. “If we keep the majority of the squad fit, then I think we’ve got a great chance this year. “If we do get the rub of the green with injuries, then I know there aren’t going to be many teams who will get the better of us if I can put out our best squad week in, week out.” Ainsworth added: “Adam and Nathan have played at a very high level. Both are in their 30s but bring fantastic experience.”
SITTING IT OUT: Gareth Ainsworth will be spending Sundays with the family