Wycombe Wanderers manager Gareth Ainsworth and three of his promotion-winning squad joined Close Quarters author Neil Harman for a special live question-and-answer session for fans .

The live virtual event was hosted by Harman’s former Fleet Street colleague Nick Szczepanik, and featured Ainsworth, Harman and Wycombe players Darius Charles, Matt Bloomfield and Jack Grimmer. .

To watch it please click here.

Gareth Ainsworth

Ahead of the event author Harman said, “The idea is to hear from Gareth and the players on last season, their thoughts on the book, their interest in the project and their reaction once it was published.

“I am fascinated to hear how the presence of an author might have influenced their thinking and performance, and hope to provide a little bit of insight into how the management and players and club officials interacted with me.

“Darius is a member of the London Book Club and is a voracious reader; Matt told me that the book informed him of things about his team mates he wasn't aware of and Jack engaged wholeheartedly with the project. Indeed all the players were an absolute pleasure to work with. 

“Gareth initially had reservations but became completely engaged with it, to the point of asking me to referee one of the final warm-up games ahead of the restart and inviting me into the dressing room for a couple of vital speeches, including a memorable one before the Fleetwood play-off semi-final.”

Close Quarters by Neil Harman


Close Quarters is the inspirational, against the odds story of Wycombe Wanderers, the poorest club in League One, and how it shapes into a side that sustains a nine-month challenge for promotion before the global pandemic stops the team in its tracks.

When the season restarts, Wycombe finds itself in the play-offs behind closed doors, an unprecedented opportunity through unprecedented turmoil. Led by the longest-serving boss in professional football, the charismatic Gareth Ainsworth, this becomes an astonishing campaign, witnessed up close by award-winning sportswriter Neil Harman thanks to his special access.

Harman gets to the heart of the team, joins them in the dressing room, on the coach, in the medical room and in team meetings to chart this unparalleled challenge.

He gets the inside story of Ainsworth's rise from a working-class upbringing on the back streets of Blackburn, through a rumbustious playing career, to a one-club manager moulding Wycombe while dealing with an American takeover that could make the difference between the club's life and death.

Close Quarters is a book that resonates, not just with Wycombe supporters, but fans of underdog clubs everywhere.