Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

Matt Crowell's warning to Wrexham in the Evening Leader is appropriate, but I can't help feeling I wouldn't mind him being on our side as we face up to the fight. Is this a strange psychological symptom in me? I can't help noticing a certain regret as I see our previous players at different clubs-it's almost like Stockholm Syndrome! I've started to hanker after the players who handcuffed us to the Conference radiator!

I know we had to have a clear-out, but Crowell was a good battling midfielder, Lee McEvilly was an awkward so-and-so (I'm just talking about on the pitch here!) and don't get me started on the likes of Neil Roberts!

I know I'm wrong on some of these cases. I know we had no option but to get rid of McEvilly, who wasn't fit half the time, and that included when he was playing. I know Crowell also had injury problems, and the circumstances at the time meant he had to go. But if McEvilly had been in our squad last season, would he have done any worse than our strikers did? Would you be happy to add Crowell to our squad now if you could?

Monday, 26 May 2008

Kearney To Sign?

It seems we've bought Tom Kearney according to Southport's manager. I have a vague recollection of him playing in midfield for Bradford, but can't remember too much detail on him-a Halifax fansite says when he was at alley Parade he was thought of as the next Stuart McCall!
If he arrives on top of Carden (not literally!) it certainly makes a return for Neil Roberts or Danny Williams look unlikley.
The fact that Southport boss is entertaining hopes of signing Phil Bolland makes the heart sink though. Why on earth did we let him go????

Faint Praise For Carden

Interesting to see the the Non-League Paper rated Carden as Cambridge's best player in the play-off final, though with the proviso that there wasn't much to choose from!

Thank You Denis

So Denis Smith is leaving the area, and his departure is more than just symbolic.

The very fact that he immediately bought a home in Gresford signalled his intent to commit himself to Wrexham's cause, something Brian Flynn was criticised for not attempting (harshly in my eyes.)

Furthermore, he often commented on his love for the area and his hopes that the club could represent the region in a fitting manner. He even looked to pack his side with local lads and Welshmen, clearly pursuing a deliberate policy to create a clearly Welsh squad. He managed us with the zeal of a convert to the North Walian cause.

Quite apart from such values, there's a greater reason why I'm sorry to see him leave an area he didn't just work in but looked to represent. While I accept things were going a little astray near the end of his reign, I still strongly believe that if he had remained in the job we wouldn't be in The Conference now.

Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Mystery of Trundle

If anyone can explain the enigma of Lee Trundle I'd love to hear it.

I've watched football long enough to understand that players can enjoy a sudden upturn of fortunes with a change of club; a guy who looks like a total donkey can dramatically flourish and look like a different man. However, what has ahppened to Trundle is subtly, perplexingly different.

Yesterday Trundle was ninety minutes away from getting into the Premiership; indeed, if a late close range chance that fell to him had found its way in he would have been the author of his elevation. He has, of course, been a cult hero over the last few years at Swansea and Bristol City, and I just don't get it.

I've never seen anything like Trundle's first six weeks in a Wrexham shirt; I honestly thought I was watching a player who would go on to the highest level as he didn't just look too good for the Third Division, it was like watching a professional play against the Under-10 team! A procession of match-turning performances and incredible goals, from an overhead kick to spark a 3-2 win from 2-0 down at league leaders Walsall to the best hat trick I've ever seen a Wrexham player score against Oxford. And then nothing.

Well, I suppose that's a bit harsh, but suddenly teams worked him out. They realised he was one-footed, and if you kept him on his right he wasn't going to hurt you much. In his first full season he produced very little as we were relegated, and although he went on to play a big role in our promotion in 2003 he had reinvented himself as a foil for our main striker, Andy Morrell.

So how come he has since gone on to a higher level and reverted back to his old self? Surely better defences than he came up against for Wrexham should have worked him out too? Has he improved so much? Has he been subjected to stricter coaches-I often felt brian Flynn indulged him a little, and he didn't like it when Denis Smith appeared to insist on a more disciplined approach. Whatever the reason, it's a mystery!

Saturday, 24 May 2008

Carden Parked

Brian Little's first acquisition of the Summer looks a sound one. I seem to recall Paul Carden as a solid box-to-box midfielder, but more importantly he has just been a key part of the Cambridge team which got to the play-off final last weekend. Having seen some high profile Conference players move clubs already it's good to see we're not going to be scraping around, but are looking to sign the type of player who has succeeded at that level.

Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Tremendous News!

Surprising but terrific news-Carl Tremarco stays! I didn't expect that to be the case for a moment, but it's a heck of a boost as we look forward to our step into the unknown. I think it's fair to say that if Tremarco didn't have the injury record that he has then he would never have ended up with us in the first place. He's a good full back, full of energy and positive intent, and if he can stay on the pitch he'll be a huge asset, no question.
However, his injuries were surely the reason that only Chester and Rotherham were willing to take a chance on him, and that was fortunate for us as you can see why he turned them both down. The two sides with the most downward momentum in the second half of the season (ourselves excluded) were probably those two, though for differing reasons.
Chester need to get things sorted quickly if they aren't to have a disaster next season, and I don't say that with any sense of pleasure. They capitulated after such a strong start-who'd have thought when they were in second place in November that the points they'd accumulated weren't a basis for a promotion push but, like us the season before, an insurance against relegation? You can see why Tremarco was wary of joining them.
The Rotherham story is a terrible one. There were rumours going round at the end of last season that they were going out of business; thankfully that doesn't now seem to be the case, but they suffered terribly from going into administration.
The Millers side that thrashed us at Millmoor looked set for promotion; they certainly were a class above most of the teams we played last season. However, they were devastated by the docking of ten points and commensurate loss of confidence, coupled with that awful injury picked up by Brogan, a gifted attacking left back who was terrific in that match against us and, I assume, was the player Tremarco was earmarked to replace.
Bearing all that in mind, United are a side to be worried for next season; Tremarco has first hand knowledge of how administration can lead to a downward spiral on the pitch, and naturally decided it was better to stick to the devil he knew.
Tremarco's decision might just be the boost we need to kick-start Brian Little's Summer of reassessment. A key player committing himself to the cause might make players mulling over contract offers look more favourably at us. Fingers crossed that this is the start of the successful Summer Little needs.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Waiting For Evo

So we might find out what's going to happen with Steve Evans soon. Or perhaps not. It feels odd to not really be all that bothered.

I always thought a side which is relegated to the Conference would have a nightmare trying to hang onto its talent, so it seems strange to feel fairly ambivalent about whether a current international should stay or not. That's were I am over this though.

I guess it's the fact that Evans has made too many mistakes this season. As Brian Little says, he has all the physical attributes required to make a huge impact on The Conference, and he has put in some excellent performances for us over the last two years. However, the lapses in concentration which, to my eyes, seem to be the issue aren't going to go away.

It seems to me that, if his back holds out, Danny Williams has those attributes too. I prefer him in midfield personally, but if it was a choice between him being at The Racecourse or not, I'd have him at the back in a flash. If only he and Neil Roberts had been extended the same opportunity to mull over a deal for a week.

Drewe's Back on the Market

So Drewe Broughton is looking for a new club! I'll stick my head above the parapet and say I'm one of the minority-I'd have him back!

Not that I think that's on the agenda-Brian Little clearly wantsw as clean a slate as possible, and only the youngsters are going to be given a second chance in general. I'd be happy to see Broughton lending his weight to our efforts to return to the Football League for a few reasons though.

Firstly, I should admit that I do see why people are not keen on the notion. He hardly peppered opposing goalkeepers with shots and his strike rate was completely unacceptable. However, he does cause disruption and could do a very good job in support of a prolific striker (where we get one of them from is, admittedly, a good question!)

I'm not going to claim he'd score more at Conference level-I don't think the issue of his inability to score would be resolved by dropping a league. His committment would be a great asset though; you can't claim he wouldn't put himself about, and I think we might need a bit of that next season.

His return would also give my "Jim Steel's Love Child" t-shirt a reprieve.

Thursday, 15 May 2008

New Dragon Talk Podcast

A new edition of Dragon Talk is up at looking at Steve Evans' future and the problems at Rotherham United.

Monday, 12 May 2008

Good News on the Tremarco Front-sort of

As I can't honestly believe that Carl Tremarco won't be playing in the Football League last season, the news that he currently sees us as the front runners-albeit in a field which only contains one horse at the moment-is as encouraging as it could get.

I'm not getting carried away-clearly there's a long way to go in this saga-but he has always been impressively honest about his future, so when he speaks positively about what we've put on the table I'm inclined to feel just a twinge of hope.

Hello hello hello!

Now here (and here !) is an interesting tale! Irregular betting patterns involving two of our old League Two chums? Well well! A month ago the outside possibility of us surviving because Rotherham might go out of business horrified me, but I could live with this! It'll never happen, of course; if only it was being investigated by those strict chaps at The Conference, who have itchy trigger fingers when it comes to interfering with the league table after the season has ended!

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Scouting Mission

Yesterday's FA Trophy Final was a chance to see what decent Conference sides are like, and it made me feel a little nervous.

I've spent most of my football watching life looking at teams we're going to have to play against, either on TV or live, and I naturally try to imagine what we'd do against them. The Ebbsfleet-Torquay was contested by two decent sides who, in the past, I'd have felt we had a fair chance of beating. That was the past now-last season we had to watch a Wrexham side like no other I've seen. You couldn't confidently predict we'd enjoy success against anyone. And now we have no squad as such. Blue Square have made us second favourites to win the Conference, but you'd have to be crazy to make any sort of judgement on us as no-one knows what our team will be!

Tell you what though, I hope Ebbsfleet's eighteen-year-old striker John Akinde has enjoyed a big money move in the Summer, as I'd be terrified of him having a run at our defence! Especially if we can't offload Richard Hope! Imagine Asafa Powell in a race with Chris Moyles!

Friday, 9 May 2008

Lights Out At The Shay?

I chatted to a member of Halifax's Supporters Trust on the podcast I posted earlier, but alarmingly it seems that things have taken a turn for the worst.

It's a salutary tale, and the fact that The Conference might have kicked them out at their AGM tomorrow because their on-going building work at The Shay hasn't got going is relevant to us. The Conference are crash hot on clubs' off-pitch dealings, so we'd better make sure we keep a tight ship.

It's dreadful to think of Halifax going under. We were on the brink and managed to pull clear. Frankly we got lucky. I hate to think that it won't go that way for Halifax; hopefully a fresh start will allow them to regroup and bounce back stronger.

Looking at the size and, I would assume, quality of the sides getting as far as the Conference, I would have thought a proper football town like Halifax would be able to push a newly-formed club back where it should be-and I assume the council owning The Shay might also help.

I hope so. Halifax Town is a club with a long history; if this can happen to them, it can happen to anyone.

New Dragon Talk Podcast

A new Dragon Talk podcast is now up at featuring reaction to the latest round of cuts and a look at Conference politics as Halifax try to avoid relegation for financial reasons.

Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Nothing In Reserve

I've got to say that, looking at our relegation logically, there shouldn't be too much to fear. So why is the club in such a panic?

I'm not naive. I know it'll be harder to convince players to stay or sign for a Conference side. I know crowds will be down, if only because away support will be virtually non-existant. And I know other revenue streams will be reduced or stopped. But it's not the end of the world, yet we're acting like it is.

Quite apart from Brian Little's cull of the squad, which runs the risk of throwing the baby out with the bath water, there's the decision to axe the reserves. What on earth is the logic behind that? Isn't it valuable for players to have competitive matches? If we have the squad of twenty four we were promised last week (though that figure appears to have shrunk to eighteen according to the club website today) don't we need to be keeping them match fit? Bearing in mind how long it seemed to take for injured players to return to fitness under Little, wouldn't a reserve side be a useful tool in getting future injuries back on the pitch? It's bizarre.

If anyone can tell me the thinking behind this, please let me know! Isn't the best way to bounce right back-and considering the fact that we get a small parachute payment this season, we should be looking to do exactly that-to keep going as normal? To be a big fish in a small pond? I'm not advocating living beyond our means, but if we're able to operate normally, we should. Don't all the best run clubs have reserve sides? Do we really know something Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool don't?

May Massacre

I just hope Little knows what he's doing. Tearing up the squad is the right way to go, and to be fair most of the released players can have few complaints. But Neil Roberts? Danny Williams? Phil Bolland?

Little says some of the released players might be asked to come back if they don't fix somethig up elsewhere, but he doesn't want to tie us down to waiting for players to repsond to contract offers. To be fair, this might be very clever; the result of years of experience of playing the close season game. Or it might be the misjudgement of a man who hasn't done this for a couple of years and is trying to adapt to the new environment when it comes to handling out of contract players. Personally I'd rather be held to ransom for a couple of weeks by the players who will get us back into the Football League if it meant signing them. Mind you, Neil Roberts went on record saying he wanted to stay, so having shown his hand I suggest his contract negotiation might not have been too tricky.

And what of the likes of Tremarco and Done? They've been offered contracts, though both are frankly not likely to stay. So aren't we in the sort of limbo described by Little as we wait for them? Where's the difference? I'd be delighted to see us sign those two, and must stress I have no problem with how they've handled themselves; Tremarco has been particularly transparent, and should be applauded for that. It's just I don't know where I stand with Little, and I suspect plenty of players don't either.

The way I look at our drop down into non league is simple. As long as we don't collapse off the pitch we'll be back. We have to be if you look at it logically-our crowds should make us a financial powerhouse at non-league level. The only question is how long it will take. Once we are well managed on the pitch we'll be in a position to bounce back; the success of Little's gamble will determine how long we'll be in the wilderness.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

A Final Entrance

A Final Entrance
Video sent by WrexhamFCTV

An 87 year stint in the Football League ends as Wrexham go onto the pitch for the last time before dropping into The Conference.

Saturday, 3 May 2008

Special Dragon Talk Podcast From The Relegation Party

There's a special edition of Dragon Talk up at to commemorate our farewell to the Football League at Lincoln, looking to the future and enjoying the extraordinary relegation party.

It features interviews with Carl Tremarco, Levi Mackin, Geraint Parry, Bananaman, Captain America, The Incredible Hulk, a cow and a bloke in a tutu. Also, there's a chance to relish the magic of Wes!

Lincoln Podcast

The Supporters Association podcast is now up at featuring Brian Little, Carl Tremarco and Levi Mackin.

Half time party


Today's team

ward, spender, pejic, s evans, tremarco, baynes, murtagh, mackin, taylor, marc williams, Llewellyn

Isn't it ironic

Last away trip of the season and, popping into the tattiest little chef imaginable for a coffee I bump into a Darlington fan. Can't believe we went there on the first day of the season so full of confidence- They'll be two divisions higher than us in August!

Friday, 2 May 2008

New Dragon Talk Podcast

There's a new Dragon Talk podcast up at chatting about who else will go, Matty Crowell's Northwich renaissance and the trip to Lincoln.

Wrexham Calendar