By the end of the day on Monday 13th July, Gareth Ainsworth could well be an EFL Championship manager as his Wycombe Wanderers side take on Oxford United in the League One play-off final at Wembley Stadium.
The Blackburn-born former QPR and Preston North End midfielder could well be leading his Chairboys side out against not only his hometown club but also his former sides – he made nearly 150 appearances for QPR and had three spells with Preston – should Wycombe win the day.
What’s all this got to do with Berkshire? Not only is Ainsworth a professional football manager in a neighbouring ‘shire, but he has also made his presence felt on the pitch in the Royal County.
At the age of 47, Ainsworth – the Football Leagues longest-serving manager – is still turning out in the Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One East for Woodley United, and spent a number of years giving Bracknell Sunday League defenders nightmares.
During lockdown, Gareth was kind enough to give up his time to talk to Rob and Tom on the Berkshire Football Stories podcast. He discussed Wycombe of course but also told how he ended up turning out for Finchampstead Athletic Sunday in the Bracknell Town & District Sunday League, how his game has changed and starry night at the League Managers Association Awards.
Listen to the podcast below or get the episode in your favourite podcast app by clicking here.