Adams raises arms - and hope

Wycombe Wanderers 4 Swindon Town 1
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The Independent Football

The last involvement of Tony Adams with football saw him holding aloft the FA Cup as captain of the Arsenal team who had just beaten Chelsea in the final. That was 18 months ago and yesterday the defender who won 66 England caps was enjoying a fruitful reunion with the grand old competition as the new manager of Wycombe Wanderers, the club winning this first-round tie in some style. The club, too, have a bit of Cup form, having got to the semi-finals two years ago. But they are currently bottom of the Second Division, so Adams was delighted by the season's first four-goal win.

On the job for only three days, Adams had announced his intention of opting to leave the dug-out work in this match to John Gorman, who has been on caretaking duty since the departure of Lawrie Sanchez. But the start of the second half saw him down on the pitch alongside Gorman.

Adams has already revealed himself as a combination of planner and worrier. "I was up at two o'clock this morning thinking about the match," he said. "I was going to keep out of it but came to the conclusion that if I didn't say something and we went out of the Cup I would have felt bad. I thought the players were a bit in awe of me and I needed to show them I was human."

He has put his studies for a sports science degree on hold while he comes to terms with the problems of football management. "It's great to be back. This is the next best thing to playing. I wouldn't be here if I didn't enjoy it and, anyway, I think I am actually quite good at it."

Wycombe had lost 2-0 at Swindon a week ago. "I would have settled for 1-0 today," Adams conceded. He said if anyone doubted his intentions to do a professional job, they should look at the books in his office - by Brian Clough, Bobby Robson and Clive Woodward. "Different shape ball, but he's done a good job, too."

Adams started his big afternoon by giving a rather thin attendance of 4,738 what they had been hoping for - an on-pitch appearance. Awaited by 16 photographers, Adams emerged from the tunnel clad in light grey suit and blue tie with a poppy in his lapel. He summoned a lope to the centre circle and raised both arms to the three sides of the ground occupied by home fans while the Swindon supporters managed a jeering chorus of "Who are yer?". A handshake with the club mascot, a few autographs signed, and the new manager went to to take his seat in the stand with Wycombe's chairman, Ivor Beeks, who had described the day as "the start of something new and exciting".

Through the programme, Adams told supporters: "I am under no illusions about the nature and scale of the challenge. I will be judged ultimately on the results I deliver and not on any past reputation. I would not have taken the job unless I genuinely believed it was right for me and that I could do justice in the eyes of the directors, staff and most particularly the fans. Thank you for the opportunity. I will not let you down."

If Adams had not already realised the scale of the task before him, the opening half demonstrated how much there is to be done at the Causeway Stadium. But the deadlock was broken a minute before the interval as Wycombe forced a corner. This was flighted by Darren Currie to the far post, where Andy Thomson rose to head in forcefully.

Wycombe's second goal in the 64th minute was very much Currie's. Showing that he resembled David Beckham in more ways that a peroxided hairdo, he struck a tremendous free kick high into the net.

Swindon hit back inside seven minutes, the skipper Andy Gurney comfortably putting away a penalty after Sam Parkin had been tripped in the box. Swindon came close to an equaliser before Adams' men pulled away effortlessly with two more goals inside the last 10 minutes. Currie tapped home as Rhys Evans failed to hold Dannie Bulman's shot and Jermaine McSporran hurtled spectacularly down the right to score from an angle in the final moments of the match.

Wycombe Wanderers 4
Thomson 44, Currie 64, 85, McSporran 87

Swindon Town 1
Gurney Pen 71

Half-time: 1-0 Attendance: 4,738

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