Leader

Memory Match – 14-03-25

Throughout the 2017/18 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.

This is the third successive season that I have been writing the Memory Match column. Indeed, when I have written a Memory Match for every Football League season that Wrexham AFC enjoyed,  I would like to compile all the columns into a book that will reflect the rich history of my beloved football club.

 

14-03-25

Wrexham v Wigan Borough

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 6-2

Wrexham: Connell, Jones, Pugh, Matthias, Griffiths, Savage, Longmuir, Goode, Jones, Nock, Jones

Goalscorers: Nock (3), Jimmy Jones (3).

Wigan Borough: Goodwin, Jennings, Fare, Fenner, Brown, Welsby, Simpson, Mercer, Ormston, Glover, Kettle

Goalscorers: Ormston, Fenner

Attendance: 5,223

On November 10th 1924, Charlie Hewitt was appointed as Wrexham’s first-ever manager after luring him from Mold Town. The team had previously been chosen by a selection committee. Something had to be done as the Town were underperforming and had just endured a run of six defeats in eight games, culminating in a 5-0 defeat at Springfield Park, home of Wigan Borough – our heaviest defeat of the season.

Hewitt – known as the Captain because of his days as a naval skipper – did not have all the answers though, with just one win in his first 14 games in charge. It wasn’t until March that things began to improve when we beat Crewe Alexandra 2-1 at Gresty Road to set us up for a home encounter with Wigan Borough. Could we take our chance for revenge?

Jack Nock gave Wrexham the lead after only six minutes and we never looked back with the forwards running the show. Writing in the Leader, a journalist with the pseudonym ‘Tee’ says that all of the goals “were the result of clever midfield work coupled with fine opportunism”. I wouldn’t mind seeing some of that this evening …

The home side were aided by a strong wind and when Jimmy Jones put the Blues further ahead it seemed too good to be true. Indeed, we had only won six games at the Racecourse Ground all season, so when Wigan got one back through Arthur Ormston following a defensive mishap, the cynics were expecting the worst

Fortunately, their bitter bile did not have time to ferment as Jones scored his second almost immediately. Jones received a pass from Archie Longmuir and powered forward, skipping past a challenge from Harry Fare with ease before sending in a low shot which goalkeeper John Goodwin completely misjudged and the ball squeezed through his legs.

The fourth goal came after a flowing movement between Goode, Longmuir, Jones and goal-scorer Nock. The race was now on to see who could be the first player to register a hat-trick between Jones and Nock who had both scored a brace. The winner of this contest was Nock who scored after a free-kick delivered by Jimmy Pugh.

Wrexham’s final goal of the afternoon came courtesy of Jimmy Jones after sterling work from Frank Jones who fended off three opponents before finding the unmarked Jones.

The last action of a breathtaking match came when Tom Fenner scored a consolation goal for the visitors, thanks to a mistake from Wrexham custodian Billy Connell. A speculative effort from Fenner was mis-calculated by Connell who allowed the ball to slip under his body and in to the net.

After this game we moved up to 20th position in the league table while Wigan Borough dropped one place to 15th.

Our leading goal-scorer in the league that season was centre-forward Jimmy Jones who scored 11 times. He just pipped Jack Nock to the post as the Stourbridge-born inside-forward had 10 goals to his name.

***

At the end of a difficult season, Wrexham finished in a disappointing 16th spot.

Despite a poor showing in the League, the Welsh Cup gave us a reason to be cheerful. We managed to retain the trophy after beating Llanelli, Newport County and Swansea Town before finally overcoming Flint Town (3-1) in front of 6,565 spectators.

We did not enjoy any success in the FA Cup as we were demolished 4-0 by Barrow at Holker Street at the fifth-qualifying round stage.

 

 

Memory Match – 28-09-57

Throughout the 2016/17 football season I will be contributing to the Wrexham AFC matchday programme. I will be penning a feature called Memory Match, a look back at classic Wrexham games from the past that I will share in this blog over the coming months.

28-09-57

Wrexham v Hull City

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 6-0

Wrexham: Ugolini, McGowan, Parker, Davis, Fox, McNab, Jones (Gren), Dignam, Smith, Bannan, Jones 

Goalscorers: Smith (2, 1 pen), Jones (Gren) (3), Jones (David)

Hull City: Round, Cubie, Nielson, Collinson, Fease, Bulless, Stephens, Clarke, Davidson, Bradbury, Cripsey

Attendance: 8,755

 

Season 1957/58 was to be the last in which the Third Division was split into Northern and Southern sections. The following season saw the formation of the new Third and Fourth Divisions. Wrexham therefore had to finish in the top half of the table to enter the higher division.

The season started badly with Wrexham only winning two of their opening nine league games, which just happened to be against our hapless local rivals Chester.  When mid-table Hull City came to town, we were struggling in 20th position on the back of a 0-1 home defeat against bottom-of-the-table Crewe Alexandra.

Manager Cliff Lloyd was absent from the Racecourse for this game as he was suffering from flu, but this did not adversely affect the players – quite the opposite. Wrexham sparked into life after Tommy Bannan was tackled from behind by Neil Cubie as he was racing towards goal after 20 minutes. A penalty was awarded and converted by Barry Smith to kick-start a mauling for the Tigers.

Writing in the Leader, the Sports Editor bemoans our previous performances in a few months of dreadful form, but notes that: “It was as if some wizard had waved a magic wand and transformed a side of struggling individuals into a close knit, classical combination that conjured up memories of the many brilliant performances of last season”.   In the 36th minute the Reds built on their lead when Joe Dignam galloped down the right wing to send over a perfect cross for Barry Smith to head home his fourth of the season.

Smith was at it again when he beat two men and squared the ball to Bannan, who mis-kicked. Fortunately, Gren Jones had the simple task of notching the third.

Before the referee signalled half time, Smith bulldozed his way forward through despairing defenders and saw his shot palmed away by the beleaguered Len Round in the Hull City goal.  Again, Jones was on the spot to rattle the ball home.

The second half started in much the same fashion when Tommy McNab stabbed a crossfield pass to David Jones who was standing on the corner of the penalty box. The left-winger beat Neil Cubie and crashed a right-footed screamer to make it five.

The last goal came after 72 minutes when Bannan carved an opening in the Hull defence and Gren Jones lobbed the ball over Round from an acute angle to seal his hat-trick.

In October, secretary-manager Cliff Lloyd decided to resign as manager and concentrate on his secretarial duties. He was, however, to continue as manager until a new man could be found.

John Love was to be that man and took up his new duties in December. But even with a new face at the helm, the rest of the season also proved to be a struggle with Wrexham in the bottom half of the table throughout the campaign.

In their last home game, against Accrington Stanley, Wrexham needed to win to stand any chance of qualifying for the new Third Division, with a game at Tranmere to follow. Accrington also needed a win to stand any chance of promotion to the Second Division.

Tommy Bannan was to be Wrexham’s hero of the day when he scored the only goal of the match.

Then it was off to Tranmere, who also needed to win to be in the new Third Division. A large contingent of Wrexham fans formed part of the big crowd of 19, 170 and saw their side lose 2-1 which meant that Wrexham had to wait for the result of the Scunthorpe – Carlisle match which was being played the following evening.

Carlisle had to win for Wrexham to miss out and when the final score came through, it was in Wrexham’s favour with Scunthorpe wining 3-1 to leave the Welsh club in 12th place.

 

Local newspaper

I’ve been told that there’s a handsome chap on page 6 of today’s Leader.

 

Our fight to fund independent lives in Flintshire and Wrexham

Published date: 07 July 2015 |

Published by: Rhian Waller 

THE UK Government-run payment, which allows people with severe disabilities to pay for things like extra care, no longer exists.

The Independent Living Fund (ILF), which was closed to new users in 2010, has now come to an end for existing users.

The responsibility of providing this support to severely disabled people has now fallen to local authorities.

Nathan Lee Davies, 38, of Stansty near Wrexham, wants to make sure Wales sets up a new system.

Nathan has Friedreich’s ataxia, a rare genetic disease that causes nerve degeneration.

It is a progressive illness which has left Nathan wheelchair-bound, affects his ability to perform basic tasks, such as doing up a button and has started to affect his speech.

Nathan, a former features writer for the Leader newspaper, has been fighting to keep the ILF for some time but has now focused his00 attentions elsewhere.

“I’ve thought for a while that we campaigners are basically flogging a dead horse with the ILF fund in England. The damage has already been done.

“In Wales we have the Welsh Independent Living Grant that will run until 2017 when the Assembly will decide the next step.

“There is no certainty. It is very stressful. I am working with Disability Wales to campaign for social justice.”

Nathan was first diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia when he was 16 after exhibiting symptoms from the age of 11.

The former Yale College student began to find it difficult to walk, but attended university and became a journalist and author before his condition progressed to the point where employment was not an option.

He said: “My typing is very slow. I can’t use touch screen tablets and things like that. I feel like technology is rushing away from me. It causes a lot of frustration and sometimes it feels like I am a prisoner in my own body.”

As the disease progresses, and as Nathan’s income is restricted, he fears he will also become a prisoner in his own home.

He said: “I’ve still got my intelligence. I still have ambitions, but I can’t do some of the things other people take for granted.

“It’s simple things like chores, washing, tidying, making food, shopping, personal hygiene and eating. I also need help to get out into the community and play an active role.”

ILF was a means-tested sum only available to those who receive the high care component of Disability Living Allowance and have less than £23,250 in savings, according to Disability Rights UK.

Claimants received up to £475 per week on top of social service funding which they typically spend on things like paying carers’ wages and purchasing life-enhancing technology.

Nathan said he used his ILF to fund carer hours.

He said: “My carers currently come in twice a day but even now I am alone between 2pm and 7pm and from 11pm to 8.30am.

“The biggesh ti-ciit drawback to my condition is that it leaves you isolated. I might want to go out but I’m stuck in. Without my carers, I end up feeling frustrated because there will be something, some purpose, I need to do but can’t achieve.”

Nathan said that with the abolition of the ILF, about 18,000 others around the UK may be unable to fund the level of care that they need to maintain a good quality of life.

The funding and responsibility of ILF care and support needs will transfer to local authorities in England and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the UK Government.

Nathan is concerned that, as Wrexham Council and many other councils are already facing cuts, this extra burden may be difficult for councils to meet.

He said: “My social worker visited last week and worried me no end. She has already drawn up a proposed timetable for when Welsh Assembly funds have run out in two years’ time.

“The proposal is for my hours of care to be cut from 86.5 hours per week to just 31 hours. She told me not to worry but said that any extra hours that I’d need would have to be funded by sources other than the local authority.

“I am worried. I am scared to death, particularly in the face of the election result and the European referendum on the horizon. The only way that I know how to react when the backs of all disabled people are against the wall is to come out fighting.”

Despite his limited mobility and difficulty using electric devices, Nathan wants to set up a local pressure group and already lobbies online.

He said: “I want to fight because a lot of people out there can’t. This will affect people with learning difficulties or people who struggle to communicate.”

A small group of wheelchair-bound protesters clashed with police inside Parliament last week, many of the people affected by the abolition of the fund will struggle to make their voices heard.

Nathan himself wanted to take part in the anti-austerity march in London on June 20 but said he was unable to afford the transport costs.

Nathan said: “I was scared to spend my money, to be honest. As things are so uncertain I’m saving everything I can.”

What he is calling for now is for the Welsh Government and local councils to ensure that money set aside for disabled people is ring-fenced beyond the two years.

He said: “At the moment the money is ring-fenced and there is no immediate cause for panic but 2017 will soon be here. I want to begin a campaign to put pressure on the Welsh Government to join a Scottish administered ILF as Northern Ireland have.

“This has obviously caused great concern and I’d like to make sure that I put as much pressure as possible on the Welsh government and make them realise just how important this matter is.”