Interview with Wrexham fan ahead of todays game
Wrexham fan, Thomas, gives us his views ahead of our game against Wrexham.
Who Do You Support?
How Long Have You Supported Them?
The first game I remember was about 20 years ago, so that.
Last Season’s League Finish?
5th, lost in Playoff Final.
What Do You Think Of Your Manager?
Morrell is a club legend and has got great backing from the board and fans for what he is trying to do. We are not a sacking club and never have been so he will be here unless he leaves for a better job. Though I would class Billy Barr, his assistant, as basically a joint manager with him although officially he isn’t. Morrell could not do the job without him and he is just as important.
Hopes/Expectations This Season?
Last season is going to be difficult to top, 2 trips to Wembley though we won there on the least important one. Though getting a trophy in your first full season of management is a great feat whatever way you look at it and it was probably the best day I’ve had supporting Wrexham, to win a trophy on our first ever visit to Wembley is an unbelievable feeling. I think expectations are generally lower this season due to our squad being significantly reduced in terms of numbers, and we’ve struggled to replace key players. I would hope for a playoff challenge again but I think it could be a close run thing as to whether we get in there for the 4th season running because this is our weakest squad in the last 4 seasons. The last 2 seasons have seen money spinning runs in the FA Cup and then the FA Trophy and we may need another one this season to break even.
One(s) To Watch?
Bradley Reid, 17 year old striker who has pretty much cemented his place in the starting lineup ahead of some much more established players. He puts himself about, fearless and extremely quick off the mark and a good finisher when chances arise. Has a feisty edge that may see him collect a fair few cards though. Huge potential and some of our fans are already worried that he may not be here much longer, even after 4 matches.
Dean Keates, an ex-Imp who everyone was sad to see leave due to personal reasons, is your Captain. Unavailable tomorrow, but how important has he been for the last 3 or 4 seasons with you?
Keates commands respect and his experience and leadership is invaluable around the club, not to mention his quality on the ball. It’s no coincidence that since he signed in 2010 we’ve achieved 3 consecutive top 5 finishes. He is still key to us and we’ve missed him in the first 4 games, as he plays that holding midfield position better than anyone we have. The definition of a model professional and in my eyes is someone who is clearly management material when he retires and I’d like to think it could be with us should anything happen to Morrell. His love of Walsall may push him that way though, possibly as a coach next season.
From the outside, it seems Morrell has struggled to get his first choice players through the door, or even many players. Is this because you only needed the odd player, budget constraints, or Morrell just not very good at selling the Club?
We’ve had to cut the budget significantly from last season and we really have about 15-16 what you would class as proven reliable players, and then the rest made up with academy players. Morrell knows a good player when he sees one, he wanted Donaldson and Bowman this summer but other clubs were able to offer more, there’s nothing he can do about that. Bowman was shown around the training ground and was keen to sign until York came in and were obviously offering League football which nobody down here can compete with. We didn’t need major surgery and are not one of those sides who get an entire new squad every summer, we rely on the stability that has seen us do well over the past few years.
He may not be the best at selling the club, who knows? Nobody is privy to that information, but you don’t need to sell anything if you’ve got enough money to tempt a player and Forest Green are proof of that. Players at this level will move anywhere so long as you offer them enough money, they don’t care if they are playing in front of 800 people in Gloucestershire. If Morrell had a similar limitless budget he’d certainly create a team capable of dominating the league, as I’m sure most competent managers would.
Last year you had quite a few 30+ year old players. Has there been a shift to a younger nucleus of a squad, or gone along the same lines?
It’s a simple case of cutting down on expenditure and trying to find as much for as little as we can get. Now the Trust are in charge of the club, every penny is accounted for and made public and not a penny is spent unless it absolutely has to be. It might be a little conservative at the moment, but we’ve worked for years to wrestle control of the club from property developers and we aren’t going to take risks by throwing money at something that might not work.
We released Glen Little who although still a quality footballer, would not have featured much this season, Dele Adebola who was only on loan and Westwood who went to Alfreton because we didn’t offer him a deal. We don’t expect Morrell to play much this season either so the average age would be much lower this season. I would have kept Westwood in hindsight because we lost Martin Riley to Mansfield but the other decisions nearly all fans agreed with. Morrell knows we have a few good youngsters coming through, so that was taken into account.
I don’t know about other clubs in this league but we’ve been paying to keep our Centre of Excellence open since we lost FL funding towards it and if we aren’t going to bring players through to the first team then we might as well shut it down. There’s nothing better than seeing a team doing well with homegrown players in it. The other day against Tamworth I think we ended the match with 7 out of the 11 on the pitch being youth players.
Top Five Predictions?
Kidderminster I think will run away with the league this season.
3rd Forest Green
5th Wrexham (hoping)
Bottom Four Predictions?
Thoughts on Lincoln City?
Not too sure about your current squad although I know you’ve signed a few decent players in the summer like Tomlinson who is probably a banker to score against us because he always did for Alfreton. I’ve always liked Lincoln, lovely city to visit and I always used to go through there on our way to Mablethorpe on summer holidays when I was a kid. I’m sure you’ll be nowhere near the danger you were in last season as it really was touch and go whether you were going to survive. But you are just another in a long line of proper football clubs that should not be down here.
I would imagine you will beat us, probably 2-0. We’ve still not got our first choice defence fit and put a lot of effort into yesterday, playing for an hour with 10 men in very hot conditions. We’ve not won away yet and our form on the road at the back end of last season was very poor too, although we did win at Kidderminster in the playoffs.
Random Fact About Your Club?
We were once ranked above FC Barcelona in the seedings for the old European Cup Winner’s Cup.