In a world of super-clubs, global fan bases and billionaire hobbyist owners, the bond between a man and his local club remains something unique and, dare we say it, beautiful. James Dutton counts the ways he loves thee, Wrexham FC…
It has now been over two weeks since Wembley, and one of the most agonizing moments I have ever experienced in football. I still see it so vividly, the ball hooked up into the balmy May sky towards the Wrexham goal. I see Dave Artell, furiously back-peddling but with all the energy and purpose of a 32-year old non-league footballer who had played 270 minutes of football in 10 days.
Immediately, it was evident that something was not right. The centre-back looked in control, yet misjudged the flight of the ball – his mental tiredness, as well as aching limbs, betraying the significance of the occasion as the clock ticked down on the Blue Square Bet Premier play off final.
It was a fatal misjudgment. Instead of connecting to head clear, he succeeded in only flicking the ball onto Christian Jolley, the man who combined a short sleeved shirt with gloves in May, who rode off the desperate efforts of the otherwise colossal Martin Riley to dink the ball over the onrushing Chris Maxwell.
The rest is now history. Wrexham toiled, but with just five minutes remaining it was a brutal sucker punch. The second goal, the gloss the scoreline barely deserved, was a classic breakaway goal.
And so in the final five minutes of the 49th league game of their season, Wrexham’s hopes of promotion back to the Football League after a five-year exodus were extinguished. For the third successive year. Continue reading