As Wycombe Wanderers supporters braved the elements to make the icy journey to the League One Club’s home stadium, Adams Park, for most, it was the first time that supporters were not going to attend a football match.
After 95 years at Loakes Park, which served as Wycombe’s former base, Wanderers made the move to the then-6,000-seater Adams Park in 1990.
Martin O’Neill’s side played out a 1-1 stalemate with Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest – the first-ever visitors to the stadium - as around 5,000 fans turned up to watch their team christen the newly constructed Adams Park on 9 August 1990.
Today, however, marks the 31st anniversary of the first competitive fixture at the stadium, a 4-1 victory over Welling which marked the beginning of a new era in new surroundings.
The ground, located on the outskirts of the Buckinghamshire market town of High Wycombe, has adopted multiple monikers, having been rebranded as the Causeway Stadium under the terms of a six-figure sponsorship agreement with commercial partner at the time, Causeway Technologies.
Wycombe’s home reverted back to its original name of Adams Park – a nod to ex-captain Frank Adams, who donated their previous home ground and netted 104 goals in 331 appearances for the Club between 1910 and 1929 – much to the delight of the Wanderers faithful.
Adams Park, which has undergone a number of renovations since its opening, has witnessed some memorable moments in the Club’s history over the years, from FA Cup escapades to promotions from the Sky Bet League One and Sky Bet League Two to the promised land of the Sky Bet Championship against all odds.
However, in January 2021, Wycombe’s home served a higher purpose when, instead of accommodating thousands of Wanderers fans football fixture, the club offered up Adams Park as a COVID-19 vaccination centre and helped those supporters in a different way.
Having been ‘hit hard’ by the effects of the pandemic, as highlighted by Wycombe’s Chief Commercial Officer Neil Peters, Wanderers were one of a handful of EFL Clubs to allow for the swift return of supporters back through the turnstiles.
Volunteers and fans flocked to the stadium to join the efforts and Wycombe were praised for their highly effective management of the inoculation process.
As Wycombe won promotion to the Championship for the first time in their 133-year existence, beating Oxford United in the League One Play-Off Final at a cavernous Wembley Stadium in July 2020, the fixture staged behind closed doors due to coronavirus restrictions, meaning fans were unable to see Wanderers make history.
But when Wycombe were permitted to accommodate a 1,000-strong crowd against Stoke City in December last year, Wanderers supporters finally got to see the Club in action in the Championship, and manager Gareth Ainsworth’s emotional lap of honour was something to behold.
Fast forward eight months and Adams Park was alight with a firework display, to mark the return of supporters, following a pre-season friendly fixture against Leicester City.
The League One high-flyers also hosted a crowd of 4,551 in the Club’s 2021/22 season opener against Accrington Stanley, when Garath McCleary was at the double for Wycombe.
After ousting Exeter City in Round One of the Carabao Cup the following Tuesday, Wycombe then made it back-to-back wins against Cheltenham Town to sit at the summit of the League One standings.
With four games played, they remain joint-top, and now have a Round Three clash against Manchester City to look forward to.