Wycombe Wanderers’ 2017/18 promotion-winning side – where are they now?

In the last few years, Wycombe Wanderers have experienced their most successful spell as a football club.

The Chairboys reached the heights of the Championship back in 2020; a level they had never reached in their history. Off the pitch, the club has also achieved financial stability, clearing off debts after Rob Couhig’s takeover. After the fans had been in ownership since 2012, a change was needed in order to develop as a football club.

However, this may not have all been possible without promotion to League One back in 2018. Despite one of the lowest budgets in League Two at the time, Wycombe achieved a 3rd placed finish in the fourth tier, which meant they would return to League One for the first time in seven years.

Here, we take a look at where those players from that promotion winning side are now…

Scott Brown – Rotherham United (Goalkeeper coach)

After arriving from Aberdeen, Scott Brown initially struggled to secure the no.1 spot at Wycombe. An injury in one of his first games with the in 2016 meant he was left out the squad during the bulk of that season. Loan spells at Eastleigh and Cheltenham Town followed, and after returning to full fitness finally claimed his spot in Wycombe’s side during the 2017/18 season.

Whilst it was his most successful season, it would also be his last as the goalkeeper departed at the end of the season in order to move closer to home. Brown moved to Port Vale in the summer, and after three seasons with the Valiants he joined Exeter City. He is now goalkeeper coach at Rotherham United.

Sido Jombati – Ebbsfleet United

The Portuguese full-back Jombati played 23 league games for Wycombe during their promotion season. With several right-backs at the club, there was a battle to cement a place in Gareth Ainsworth’s starting XI. Despite not playing as much as he would’ve wished, Jombati still played his part in 2018.

Jombati joined Oldham Athletic after departing the Blues in 2020, but after Oldham’s downfall in recent years has gone on to play for Ebbsfleet United, where he still plays his football.

Adam El-Abd – Retired

The skipper of that promotion campaign, former Egyptian international El-Abd was pivotal in Wycombe’s achievement that season. The central-defender made 43 appearances for the Blues in the 2017-18 season, and even bagged a goal himself against Grimsby Town.

Having made over 300 appearances for Brighton & Hove Albion at the start of his career, El-Abd went on to have a short spell at Stevenage, before taking up a role as player/assistant manager at Whitehawk. He briefly joined Worthing in the National League South, but retired just weeks later.

Joe Jacobson – Wycombe Wanderers

Having made the joint-most amount of appearances for the Chairboys that season, along with goalkeeper Brown, Joe Jacobson is one of just a handful of players still with Wycombe today.

The set-piece magician scored six goals for the Chairboys that season, and was a regular starter in the Blues backline that season.

Anthony Stewart – Aberdeen 

Part of the former Wycombe youth setup before it collapsed in 2012, Anthony Stewart played his part in the promotion campaign.

Making 21 appearance that season, the former Crewe Alexandra defender returned in 2015, after spending three years with the Blues prior to his move away from the club in 2014.

After helping the club all the way to the Championship, Stewart departed the club after seven years to join Scottish Premiership side Aberdeen at the end of last season.

Eberechi Eze – Crystal Palace

Many will know Eze for his time with Queens Park Rangers in the Championship, where he earned his move the Premier League with Crystal Palace.

However, it was with the Chairboys that Eze made his breakthrough in senior football. Whilst the attacking midfielder was only with Wycombe until January that season, he became a fans favourite at Adams Park.

Eze became one of the first names on the team sheet, and made a name for himself after scoring two goal of the season contenders away to Cambridge United.

Matt Bloomfield – Colchester United (Manager)

Club legend Matt Bloomfield made 43 appearances in Wycombe’s 2017/18 promotion campaign, contributing to the 550 appearances he made before he departed the Chairboys in 2022.

After transitioning from player to coach for Wycombe, he went on to join rivals Colchester United as their new boss, albeit the rivalry has drifted in the past decade.

Luke O’Nien – Sunderland

Now a regular starter in the Championship, Luke O’Nien was arguably one of Wycombe’s highest rated players during their promotion campaign.

The midfielder made 40 appearances during the 2017/18 season, whilst bagging eight goals across the campaign, including an ambitious volley against rivals Colchester.

Adebayo Akinfenwa – Retired

The ‘Beast’ played a crucial role during Wycombe’s promotion campaign in 2018, scoring 18 goals in 46 appearances in what was undoubtedly his best season in the light and dark blue quarters.

Akinfenwa spent the rest of his career with the Chairboys after joining in 2016, and made over 200 appearances for the club. The striker retired at the end of last season after Wycombe lost out to Sunderland in the League One play-off final.

Craig Mackail-Smith – Bedford Town

Another player formerly of Brighton, Mackail-Smith played a key role in Wycombe’s promotion to League One. The former Scotland international scored ten goals for the Chairboys that season, in a total of 43 games.

After going on two loan spells during the rest of his time with Wycombe, the striker now plays his football in the seventh tier of English football Bedford Town, where he has been since 2020.

Best of the rest…

Former forward Nathan Tyson now plays for non-league side Grantham Town, after playing for Notts County, Chesterfield and Alfreton Town.

Scott Kashket, who was limited for appearances that season, now plays for League Two side Gillingham after a spell at Crewe. Paris Cowan-Hall is now without a club after his release from Colchester United in 2021, after leaving the Chairboys in 2019.

Central defender Dan Scarr now plays for League One high flyers Plymouth Argyle. Marcus Bean retired in 2019 after over 100 games for the Chairboys and midfielder Sam Saunders now plays for non-league Hanwell Town, whilst combining his role as Brentford B team assistant coach.

Former loanees Nathan McGinley and Tafari Moore, who both joined the Blues in the January window, now play for Motherwell and St Albans respectively, whilst Michael Harriman plays for Bedford Town with Mackail-Smith.

Dominic Gape, Curtis Thompson, and Nick Freeman are the only other members of the 2017-18 squad who remain with the Chairboys.

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