The departure of Wanderers winger Kevin Betsy may not have come as a surprise to many fans but it has been accompanied by both anger and sadness that such a popular player will no longer don the famous light and dark blue quarters.
The writing has been on the wall for some time now. Betsy’s last appearance came in the Football League Trophy tie with Cheltenham Town at the beginning of October. He scored his last goal for the club in a 3-1 defeat at Adams Park.
He has left the club ‘by mutual consent’ with his lack of first-team opportunities this season given as the reason for his departure. Rumour has been rife with reasons being sought for his lack of involvement but they are probably best left for another time and place.
The club announced that Kevin Betsy would be signing for the Blues on a two-year deal on Wednesday 8th June 2005. That summer had seen Steve Hayes take on the role of Managing Director and he backed manager John Gorman in the transfer market.
Betsy was one of several high-profile arrivals and made his full competitive debut against Carlisle United on the opening day of the 2005/06 season. The following weekend he treated the 1,500 away fans at Oxford United to a sublime exhibition of wing-play, creating both goals for Nathan Tyson in a 2-2 draw.
He formed a much-admired partnership with Danny Senda down the right-flank with the two combining to such effect that they became known as the Benda-boys. Kev’s first Wanderers goal came as part of a first half hat-trick in a 3-2 victory over Mansfield Town at Field Mill in September. He went on to score five more goals in a season that promised so much but ended in double tragedy.
The following season under manager Paul Lambert he played an integral role as the side made a promising start to the league campaign whilst also embarking on an incredible League Cup run.
He also reprised his trademark wing-play against Oxford United in an F.A. Cup tie to create the winner shortly after the visitors had equalised. He was a part of the side that triumphed at Premier League side Charlton Athletic to reach the semi-final of the League Cup.
In the two legs against reigning English Champions Chelsea he gave England left-back Ashley Cole a torrid time, particularly at Stamford Bridge. By that time most of the 6,000 away fans in West London knew that Kevin was set to sign for Bristol City.
It would be his last game before joining the Robins for a fee believed to be £150,000. At the time he said: ‘If Chelsea is my last game, then what a way to go. Wycombe is a great club but at the end of the day if a League One club or a Championship club show interest it is something I’ve got to think about because I’m 28 and not getting any younger.’
It was no coincidence that the side’s form tailed off alarmingly following his departure and he was sorely missed. It should also be recorded that Kevin returned that summer to present awards to local kids playing at various football clubs and it showed the true mark of the man.
He never really got a chance to show what he could do at Ashton Gate, making less than 20 appearances before being sent out on loan to Yeovil Town and Walsall before joining Southend United on a permanent deal in the summer of 2008.
It was from the Shrimpers that Kevin made a welcome return to Adams Park on a loan deal under manager Peter Taylor in September 2009. He made his second debut in a 1-0 defeat at Brighton. Taylor was soon sacked but Betsy remained a regular under new boss Gary Waddock.
His first goal of his second spell came in a surprise 2-0 victory away at Millwall. It was a trademark goal taken with his usual aplomb. His loan ended in January 2010 (which meant he missed the visit to Leeds United) but he returned to sign permanently on a free transfer the following week.
Kevin scored four more goals in 2009/10 but it wasn’t enough to avoid relegation back to League Two. He again played a pivotal role as the team bounced back at the first attempt by winning promotion last season.
He notched five goals by mid-November, including a lovely finish in a FLT tie at rivals Colchester United and he infamously incurred the wrath of his former Oldham Athletic manager Ronnie Moore during a 4-3 victory at Rotherham United.
He saved his best for (second) last with a performance during the crucial 3-1 win at Bury that left many fans purring. It was yet another reminder of the mercurial genius of the Woking-born winger. In his second spell at the club he was asked to play in many different positions, including right-back and left-wing, which showed his flexibility.
Kevin often received criticism for not always reaching the high standards he had set himself with fans expectations of him greater than those of many of his team-mates.
He was away with the Seychelles when the current campaign began and when he returned he found it difficult to win a place in the starting line-up. He made just one league start in the 1-0 defeat at Yeovil Town back in September, which also proved to be his last league appearance in the quarters.
Talking to the club’s official website Kevin said: “I wish to thank all the fans for their loyal support over the years. Wycombe will always be a special club to me and I will leave with many special memories. It is a sad day for me but I wish Wycombe Wanderers every success for the future.”
Vital Wycombe would like to express our sincere gratitude to Kevin for everything he has given to Wycombe Wanderers. Both Len and I will hold dear so many special memories of Kevin in action. All the best King Kev. The King is dead. Long live the King.