The Leader

#SaveWILG REACTION: Social services ‘close to breaking point’ as it faces £3m budget cut

This is a four part Tweet that I have just posted on Twitter in relation to an article that appeared in the local newspaper on Friday about the self manufactured crisis that Wrexham CBC Social Services find themselves in:

@fmwales @huw4ogmore @JulieMorganLAB @MarkDrakeford @johnpringdns @PaulNeilMartin @IanCLucas @lesley4wrexham @DavidRowlandsAM @JFinchSaunders @RhunapIorwerth @MikeHedgesAM @neiljmcevoy Still they want to close WILG. MANY LA’s are in similar situations: http://www.leaderlive.co.uk/…/16345358.wrexham-social-serv…/ … 1/4

Disabled people with high care and support needs across Wales MUST be protected. This is what EVERYONE believes is right apart from a few civil servants and Minister’s in Cardiff. Our FOI’s clearly show that there is chaos and confusion across Wales over WILG reassessments. 2/4

As my progressive condition deteriorates I am in urgent need of 24/7 care within my own home as I struggle against Mother Nature. No one should be forced to sleep on a urine soaked mattress due to inadequate care. This is happening NOW in the 21st century. 3/4

Welsh Labour need to look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they are in power if they can’t help those who need their help the most. 4/4

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Here is the article in question taken from The Leader

FEARS have been raised that social services in Wrexham are close to breaking point after it was revealed they could face a £3m budget cut.

Wrexham Council is looking to save approximately £11m in the next two years and has warned that a reduction in spending across both adults and childrens’s social care could be required unless central funding increases.

While stressing that the £3m figure had yet to be formally agreed, leading councillors are lobbying to be given more money to allow them to continue to protect vulnerable residents.

Addressing an executive board meeting this morning, leader of the council Mark Pritchard said: “They’re all important services and we’re here to protect and look after these difficult cases and individuals.

“We can’t continue to cut in these areas, because the departments and the service will break and it’s close to that now. I have no problem saying that.

“It’s only down to the dedicated staff in Wrexham and all across Wales that we continue to deliver these services.

“You can’t continually put money in health and not put money into social care. I have no problem with extra going into health, I celebrate it and it’s a must as well, but you can’t then not put it into social care as well.

“I don’t think a lot of people understand it, because I go and visit people and they are not aware of all the money being cut from us by Westminster and Cardiff.”

In a report it was revealed that Wrexham Council has made more than £6.3m worth of cuts to adult social care during the last four years and savings of approximately £1.3m from childrens’ services.

The social services department said it had made every effort to reduce the impact on vulnerable people while reshaping services.

However, an opposition group leader questioned where the suggested £3m savings figure had come from.

Labour leader Cllr Dana Davies said: “Can I have some clarity over where that £3m figure has come from over the next two years, as my understanding is we’re still in the budget process and no firm decisions have been made.”

In response, finance officer Mark Owen said the figures had been outlined at a previous meeting and were only indicative at this stage.

He said: “The executive board report that went in January of this year included savings which were agreed in principle at that stage in the adult social care area of about £1.9m and childrens’ social care of around £30,000.

“Then there was some other cross cutting savings associated with developing the budget for 2019/20. Those haven’t been decided that they’re going to happen, but they were clearly laid out in that report.

“You all know that we’re looking to save around £11m over the two years based on our planning assumptions and given the scale of the social care budget then the £3m would not be unreasonable in terms of the level of savings that would apply to that service area.”

Councillors voted to approve the annual social services director’s report and the improvement priorities highlighted.

The council’s final budget, including cost savings, is set to be decided at a future meeting.

Letter from Lesley Griffiths AM Concerning Blue Badge Proposals

I received the following letter from Lesley Griffiths AM regarding Wrexham Council’s appalling decision to push ahead with the proposed Blue Badge parking charges. I share this letter to highlight the positive support that is being offered to me by my Welsh Labour AM and a small group of Local Councillors in the face of heartless, overgrown bullies who cannot see the absurdity of their actions.

I am hopeful that I will soon receive word from Lesley about whether or not she can help us move the #SaveWILG exhibition to the Senedd. If she is not in a position to help us do this due to party pressures then I must accept this – however much I disagree – and I will try to contact other AM’s for their support.

Anyway, here is the letter, followed by an article by Wrexham.com which is referred to by Lesley.

Dear Nathan 

Further to my letter of 6 February 2018, I enclose a copy of a detailed article published by Wrexham.com on 8 February 2018, which details events at the call-in meeting regarding Wrexham Council’s proposals to introduce charges for Blue Badge holders.

As you are aware, I am totally opposed to the proposals and have made my views known to the Leader of Wrexham Council. 

Despite the call-in notice from Welsh Labour Councillors, which attempted to get Wrexham Council’s Executive Board to reconsider their proposals, the motion was defeated.

The final page of the Wrexham.com article highlights how individual Councillors voted and I was disappointed to see that your local Councillor, I David Bithell, voted with the ruling body to reject the report going back to the Executive Board.

This ill-advised policy has been solely devised and pursued by the Tory/Independent administration which runs Wrexham Council.  Many constituents contacted me about the proposals so it is frustrating that Councillors who had the ideal chance to challenge the Executive Board’s decision, chose to spurn the opportunity.  

I believe it would be worth your while contacting your local Councillor to ascertain why he voted this way and I will continue to make my views on the matter clear to the Council Leader.

I hope this information is useful and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Lesley Griffiths, AM                                                                          

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Full Council on track to decide country parks & disabled parking charges as consultation goes ahead

Published by Wrexham.com: Thursday, Feb 8th, 2018

An attempt to get the Executive Board to reconsider how they carry out a consultation into charging for disabled parking and at Wrexham’s country parks failed after a lengthy two and a half hour debate.

The call-in meeting was explained to members of the employment, business and investment scrutiny committee as being more of a ‘technical meeting; rather than

scrutiny of decisions itself – with the call in reasons before the meeting being the topic of debate. However that point was lost on some of the councillors taking part.

The call-in notice from Welsh Labour councillors claimed the Council’s Executive had failed in numerous ways, including informing councillors of the financial implications, any risks to the Environment Budget, and if mitigation plans were in place for any

unintended displacement affects for various parking charge changes.

The call-in notice explained that due to this they felt the decision to start a necessary statutory legal consultation was ‘premature’, and in essence there should be a new decision – effectively to start a consultation with all the allegedly missing information in place before going out to get the views of the public or specific groups.

That was the ‘calling in’ of the decision, so the committee would decide if they thought that was the case, and if so refer the decision back to the Executive Board to reconsider the decision, or not. If referred back Executive Board could either stick or alter their

original decision, which would then be immune to further call-in.

The decision would mean a consultation would take place either way, and the decision on introduction on charges would still be subject to approval by councillors at a Full Council meeting scheduled for 21 February 2018.

With that backdrop some councillors took the opportunity to re-run the debate on if charging for disabled parking, or if charging for parking in country parks is a good thing or not, rather than focusing on the five points up for debate on the call in.

The responsible Lead Member for Environment and Transport, Cllr David A Bithell was on hand to answer questions, along with the relevant council officer plus various other council staff. Cllr Bithell appeared to have a pre-prepared set of statements to answer each of the five points in turn, but was happy to add further detail when requested.

Cllr Derek Wright presented each formal question on the call-in notice, with several appended queries to each where possible. Members of the committee also posed questions, which ranged from anecdotal evidence to specific financial queries.

1

Cllr Marc Jones and Cllr Dana Davies queried on the basis the financial implications had not been made clear to Councillors, with questions on if figures presented were net or

gross numbers.

News that parking machine and other costs are pencilled in as a E50k capital spend did appear to be new information to those on the cnommittee, which was then probed

further by Cllr Marc Jones who asked if extra staff would be needed to empty machines or monitor the site – but was told no.

After a short grilling Cllr Marc Jones indicated he was still unhappy, stating: “All these figures are based on predictions of people using these services, what if they do not use them and they park on side streets?

“The E50k capital cost will not be recovered.”

Cllr Bithell noted that the debate was veering to the third point on the call-in notice, regarding mitigation on people using street parking instead of car parking.

Cllr Davies did some rough maths to point out she did not believe the figures presented added up, and invited clarity to where the E25k revenue sum came from – stating either she made El 9k based on the figures and method infront of her.

Cllr Bithell disputed her numbers, pointing out that Cllr Davies was basing her figures off a El charge when some figures were off a El .80 charge – a ‘confusion’ attributed to

the difference in country park rates being in the same debate as disabled bay charging.

Cllr Davies said the figures had come from a previous meeting, however this was disputed again, with the formulae and forecasts being described as a ‘fluid process’ and based off ‘conservative estimates’.

After details on numbers of spaces and various calculations Cllr Davies said: “l am still not getting where the E25k is substantiated from, the figures do not add up, I am not

sure where we have plucked the E25k from.”

Cllr Paul Jones interjected to call the E50k capital cost as ‘brand new information’, saying “Someone should have done a cost benefit analysis and shared it. This is what this call-in is all about.”

Head of Environment and Planning Lawrence Isted spoke to reassure the committee: “Whenever we are working out things like this we use our best judgement and best estimates. We do not over egg things.

“The capital costs are not new, or a new situation.”

Mr Isted added that the proposals were based on ‘previous work with our reshaping partners PWC’.

Cllr Paul Jones bluntly asked: “So why are we hearing about these costs now?’

2

Cllr Bithell replied to point out there had been five budget workshops, five extra scrutiny meetings before Christmas and that on the relevant scrutiny meeting before Christmas

‘there were not many questions on this.’

He added: “A lot of these costs are fluid until we come to a decision. It has been worked up with the help of Officers, and the Executive Board agrees the Budget.

“l did highlight at the Executive Board meeting there would be costs. There is not much rocket science behind this, it is standard procedure.”

Cllr Paul Jones was not swayed, accusing Cllr Bithell of ‘playing up the savings that are the good news, but underplaying the capital costs’.

Cllr Wright said he was ‘shocked’ by the f50k capital cost, saying it had been ‘magiced out of the air’.

He then asked about if savings were a single saving, or year on year ‘as there was nothing in the second column’. A question that had been asked many times in the set of

scrutiny meetings before Christmas, as the documents before them had a Year 1 saving and a Year 2 saving.

As explained several times previously, and again at the meeting, the Year 1 saving was ongoing thereafter and any Year 2 saving would be new and on top – and ongoing as

well.

Questions over risks were batted back by Cllr Bithell who gave a quick bleak overview over the budget of the Environment Department, ending with “if we do not generate income in one way or another we will have to cut services.”

Cllr Davies gave the analogy of putting a risk, if the proposals were unsuccessful and were a cost rather than a revenue raiser, on top of existing problems in the department, saying ‘It could make the situation worse not better, the risk is escalating, it is risk on another risk’.

The finance officer also pointed out that in a previous report before councillors an appendix had risks detailed.

Other questions in the call-in notice were dealt with in a similar manner, with it noted that the claim there was no mitigation for people being displaced to on street parking.

The council officer pointed out it was acknowledged in documents presented to councillors previously, pointing out that the majority of the town centre’s roads were subject to some kind of parking regulations already.

Cllr Marc Jones was particularly unhappy, stating: “It is human nature, people are price sensitive to parking. People will spend El 00 in a shop but will not pay El .80 to park.

“People will circle streets to look for a space than pay to park. We know what a problem parking in the town centre is, and as a result of this we will see people use side streets.”

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“I was not on the council two years ago, and I am concerned we are looking at PWC modelling from two years ago, it is old information.”

Cllr AlunJenkins made a very long speech giving a grim appraisal of the current austerity situation in the UK, and how he disagreed with the proposals being made, but did recognise the decisions before the council saying it was like ‘having both arms cut off but which one first’, adding he would prefer not to have either chopped off.

Cllr Jenkins was keen to get assurances that nothing would be progressed without consultation, which Cllr Bithell was happy to offer, as that was on the table either way.

Cllr Bithell pointed out to the meeting that the proposals were ‘not about deterring people from coming to the town centre, it is about making spaces accessible.’

Cllr Davies queried the consultation process, noting that it had been described several times as ‘implementing a traffic order’, “My understanding is we have to identify who we want to consult with, if we have a group with protected characteristics we should be consulting with them specifically.”

“It has been mentioned we would encourage them to take part on our website or in newspapers, but the public have to engage and to do that they have to understand the process and context. They need to know the information to make it a meaningful

consultation. We are going through the motions with a traffic order.”

Cllr Bithell pointed out an impact equality statement had been ‘done’, describing it as a ‘fluid document’, and offered assurance that the statutory process would be followed.

The debate then turned to the principle of charging for disabled parking, with Cllr Bithell saying “It is about having accessible spaces” noting that Blue Badges were not means tested.

Cllr Paul Jones angrily pointed out a range of cases Blue Badges could be used for, stating very young children who were terminally ill, fixed income adults, veterans who

were on fixed incomes, ending by stating the proposals were regressive “If they can’t afford to pay it, they do not have access”.

Cllr Tina Mannering gave a personal account of why she held her view, saying: “It is more about access and space not the money.

“Not all haven’t got money or funds, some are very well off, more than those working. It is about access than the cost of car parking.”

Cllr Paul Jones cited data that says there are 9,000 Blue Badge holders in Wrexham, saying that Cllr Mannering was talking about one or two’.

Cllr Mannering said it was “Offensive to assume they do not have money, they are as

equal as everyone else. It is not the money it is the access.”

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Cllr Paul Jones said, “Some can afford it. Some can’t afford it. We do not know if 8,000 or how many can’t afford it.”

Cllr Mannering retorted, “If we do not consult we will not know.”

Cllr Paul Jones again reiterated why the call-in was made, to request a more detailed consultation: “I would expect Officers to know that before a decision was made, not to implement and hope for the best, not trade anecdotal stories, we should be working on hard evidence.”

The debate moved on to specific points, including asking if council enforcement was a seven day operation (it is) and it noted that if proposals proceed then Blue Badge

parking on double yellow lines in Ty Mawr could increase. The meeting was told the

yellow lines were brought in as a response to improve child safety at the park, and thus the proposals were seen by some as increasing risk on that front.

The meeting headed past the two hour mark and just before 6pm Cllr Bithell left, leaving Cllr Marc Jones and Mr Isted to have an interesting exchange over revenue raising and cuts proposals recently.

Cllr Marc Jones said he had ‘sympathy’ with officers on the proposals: ‘We are told we have to do these or do worse, and we are told to come up with alternatives. We are told ‘if you do not support this you have to find something else’. Really, we pay council officers to give us options. What are the other options?”

Cllr Marc Jones contrasted the health aims of Wrexham Council to the policy of charging for parking at country parks, and also pointed out it was not equal if councillors were able to park in the town centre cheaper than disabled people, adding: “How the hell is that equality?”

Mr Isted replied pointing out the goal of the lead member was likely to ensure no loss of services or core services and thus the proposals: ‘We used to call them efficiencies, then efficiency savings, and now we have to accept they are cuts.

“We went through a long list years back of ‘green’ things, like we used to do twinning, that went. Then we did the ‘amber’ things, and now we are in the ‘red’ area.”

Hinting at the ‘alternative options’, a grim pointer towards cutting of ‘core functions’ was made which the meeting was told would be made up of ‘largely reducing staff in core

activities’, with the ‘worse case scenarios affecting the core functions of the council’.

Mr Isted concluded that the committee would not be wishing to do that, and thus the suggestions and proposals put forward

Clr Jenkins cites Northamptonshire Council that recently started emergency spending controls – says Wales is 3-4 years.behind England, says ‘watch this space’ for Wrexham, “If austerity continues there is no point having councils”.

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With the doom and gloom and two and a half hours of debate appearing to sap the will of the committee to keep going, despite the frustration of Cllr Wright who pointed out he had ‘many more questions to ask’ proceedings headed towards a vote.

The choice before councillors was clear to some, despite the attempts to form a specific recommendation.

Finally it was basically agreed for a simple success v failure vote on the 2nd 3rd and 5th points of the call-in notice contents, and if the ‘case’ had been successful.

The motion was proposed by Cllr Davies and seconded by Cllr Marc Jones, with Cllr

Mannering attempting a counter motion. The vote was about to proceed before Cllr Atkinson spoke to explain his view on the various points, explaining that he felt officers were aware of risks and the financial issues raised had been ‘clearly explained’.

A point of order was called by Cllr Wright to point out the debate had ended and a vote was due and the Chairman Rodney Skelland should not allow further debate.

After two and a half hours the vote saw the proposal to refer the decision back to the Executive Board fall, with the councillors for and against neatly falling into party and administration alliance lines.

The Plaid Cymru (Cllr Marc Jones), Liberal Democrat (Cllr Alun Jenkins) and Labour (Cllr Paul Jones, Cllr Adrienne Jeorett and Cllr Dana Davies) members present voted to refer the decision back to the Executive Board.

Members of the Conservative group (Cllr Andrew Atkinson) and two Independent groups (Cllr Trevor Bates, Cllr Geoff Lowe, Cllr I David Bithell, Cllr Nigel Williams, Cllr Sonia Benbow-Jones and Cllr Tina Mannering) voting to reject the report going back to the Executive Board.

We don’t think the Chairman Cllr Rodney Skelland (Conservative) voted as per convention – however due to the layout of the room it was unclear due to the architecture, and we have no video or pictures to show you as the Councillors do not allow filming or the taking of pictures of raised hands.

A final decision is set to be made at Full Council on Wednesday 21st February. The meeting is open to the public

 

Links and updates

his is a busy time for me, so I would like to keep you up to date with my recent activities by sharing a few links with you that show the pressures that I have been under and the local celebrity status I have been creating for myself 🙂

Blue Badge Petition

Independent Living Debate with Ian Lucas

Daily Post Feature

The Leader

I am also looking forward to the following two events which I am busy trying to organise. The first of which is a #SaveWILG Art exhibition at Theatr Clwyd in Mold, north Wales. This event runs from January 24th to February 12th and includes art, poetry and pictures from a wide range of disability activists and artists. The official media day for this is on February 2nd. I am very proud of what we have put together in such a short space of time.

A leaflet for the Theatr Clwyd event has also been produced by Heather Wilson.

Our North-East Wales WLG/M comrades are centrally involved in organising this great event. It will be a fantastic occasion, but we need to get as many people there as possible! This is a day of entertainment and information. There is alcohol, soft drinks and food on sale at the venue and there is full Disabled access and a Disabled toilet. Some of our comrades are performing, but we would love to hear back from you or anyone you know how is in any way creative and/or a performer. Please do get in contact with either Vic Grout (vic.grout@glyndwr.ac.uk) or Louise Bosanquet (louise.bosanquet@hotmail.co.uk) if you would like to perform or know someone who would. The least we hope anyone can do is promote this event by sharing the flyer and printing it off and putting around your area, disability groups, CLPs etc etc. Raising awareness of the event is crucial to the campaign’s success! The event is FREE to all. Please do help in any way you can!

 

Memory Match – 05-11-21

Throughout the 2015/16 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.

I am particularly proud of this edition as I have set right something that has been wrongly taken for fact for many years. I am chuffed that my historical research has uncovered this information and has helped the excellent work of official club historian, Peter Jones.

Read on to find out who really scored the first hat-trick for Wrexham AFC in the Football League…

05-11-21

Wrexham v Chesterfield

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 6-1

Wrexham: Godding, Ellis, Simpson, Matthias, Moorwood, Roberts, Burton, Cotton, Elvidge, Regan, Lloyd

Goalscorers: Cotton (3), Regan (3)

Chesterfield: Mitchell, Stirling, Saxby, Clarke, Broome, Paltridge, Smithurst, Fisher, Cooper, Connor, Marshall

Goalscorer: Smithurst

Attendance: 6,000

Season 1921/22 was our first in the Football League and began with a 0-2 defeat against Hartlepools United at the Racecourse Ground. Our form had since been inconsistent – as you might expect from a team that was adapting to life in a new set-up – and we went into the encounter with Chesterfield in a solid, if unspectacular, mid-table position. Meanwhile, our opponents were licking their wounds at the bottom of the league after conceding 26 goals in their opening 10 games – including a 7-0 demolition at Darlington.

The Wrexham forward line had been changed for this match with Bert Goode and Reg Leck missing out. Billy Cotton came back to spearhead the attack, 21-year-old Ted Regan was moved to inside-right and Chris Elvidge was given a trial at inside-left.

The first half-hour of the game was goalless and George Godding in the Wrexham goal was by far the busiest goalkeeper as Chesterfield threatened. The Caergwrle-born shotstopper made a good save early on, but was injured in the process and had to spend some time on the sidelines. Defender Jack Ellis took over in goal and was called upon to punch clear a high dropping shot from Tommy Broome before Godding returned. At the other end of the pitch, the Wrexham attack – as originally constituted – misfired.

This new-look forward line was struggling and, according to the mysteriously named X, Y, Z in the Leader, the fact that they eventually clicked into gear was only due to the foresight of Bobby Simpson who directed Cotton and Regan to swap positions. This change certainly proved effective as the game was quickly turned on its head. Before half-time, Cotton headed home from Matt Burton’s well-placed corner and Regan added a second after good work from Elvidge.

On the hour mark, Regan added a third and Cotton was then on the end of a well-executed passage of play to head a fourth. The race was now on to see which player could score the first hat-trick for Wrexham in the Football League.

Before Wrexham could continue the goal glut, Chesterfield scored a consolation when Edgar Smithurst delivered a high centre into the Wrexham area. The flight of the ball deceived Godding who could not prevent the visitors from getting on the scoresheet.

The history books and Internet pages tell us that Ted Regan was actually the first player to land a hat-trick in this game and become the club’s first ever hat-trick hero in the Football League. However, according to match reports in the Leader and North Wales Guardian this honour belongs to Billy Cotton. Two newspaper journalists who attended the game agree that Cotton claimed our fifth by accepting a pass from Jack Moorwood and shooting with speed and power from 30 yards to electrify the crowd. Regan then completed the rout late on with his fifth goal in his first two games for the club.

I’m glad I have the opportunity to set the record straight and celebrate the achievement of Billy Cotton who deserves recognition after spending so many years in the shadow of Ted Regan.

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In those days teams faced each other on a double-bill basis – at home and away ­– before moving on to their next opponent. Unfortunately this gave Chesterfield a chance for revenge just seven days later at the Recreation Ground. Charles Buttrell, Horace Clarke and Tommy Broome scored for the Derbyshire side in a 3-0 revenge mission.

This was only the third win of a long season for Chesterfield. Their form only improved with five straight victories in the final games of the season to lift them to 13th position in the League table. Wrexham finished the campaign just two points better off in 12th.

Memory Match – 28-09-68

Throughout the 2015/16 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.

28-09-68

Wrexham v Notts County

League Division Four

Racecourse Ground

Result: 3-2

Wrexham: Livsey, Ingle, Bermingham, Davis, May, Bradbury, Beanland, Moir, Charnley, Smith, Kinsey

Goalscorers: Charnley (2), Ingle

Notts County: Rose, Ball, Worthington, Oakes, Gibson, Farmer, Pring, Murphy, Bradd, Masson, Bates

Goalscorers: Bradd, Masson 

Attendance: 4,277

Reds manager Alvan Williams tended his resignation after an inconsistent start to 1968/69 that saw a League Cup exit, the sale of David Powell and Steve Stacey, to Sheffield United and Ipswich Town respectively, and subsequent bitter demonstrations from the fans.

The official line was that the departure of Williams was caused by “a disagreement with the Board of Directors over club policy”, but word on the grapevine suggested that club directors wanted to curtail his power as general manager with a demotion to the specific role of team manager only.

Despite the fact that the vacant post was not advertised, Wrexham still had 14 applications for the job, which was eventually given to John Neal. George Showell became first-team trainer. This new managerial duo certainly had their work cut out as we prepared to play bottom-of-the-table Notts County as we’d suffered five straight defeats without scoring.

The Magpies started the brighter and conspired to hit the woodwork, miss a sitter and had a penalty claim turned down before Ray Charnley ended Wrexham’s goal drought on 23 minutes. Charnley hit the ball past Mick Rose who had failed to deal with Ray Smith’s shot. Rose may still have been feeling the effects of his collision with Smith just four minutes earlier.

County equalised on the half-hour mark when Don Masson headed home from an inviting free kick. This parity only lasted for three minutes as Charnley out-jumped several defenders to connect with Alan Bermingham’s cross.

Wrexham were at their brightest during this period as Steve Ingle and Albert Kinsey tested Rose, but it was County who struck after 44 minutes with another headed goal. This time it was Les Bradd who met a centre from Ron Farmer.

From the re-start, Ingle restored the home sides lead with a fine solo effort when he collected a loose ball, raced forward and unleashed a thunderbolt from 20-yards to put us ahead at the break.

The second period promised much, but actually delivered little in terms of goalmouth action as the closest we came to adding a fourth goal was when a late effort from Eddie May went a foot wide. It also says a lot that Charnley’s only competition for man of the match was goalkeeper Gordon Livesey.

According to Reg Herbert of the Leader, the majority of our players performed under par. Apparently, Ian Moir had a “nightmare game” characterised by “erratic passing” that frustrated the fans while Kinsey and Smith were deemed to be “still struggling for form and luck”. Bermingham was criticised for “not being his usual ebullient self” and Gareth Davis was lambasted for a “first half miskick” that presented County with a chance that they should’ve scored from.

John Neal looked on the bright side: “Not having scored and won a match for so long a time the players were all tensed up.  If they had relaxed it might have been so different.  Still, we achieved our main objectives – we scored goals and we won.”

As underwhelmed Reds fans trudged home that afternoon, little did they realise that the new man in charge was sowing the seeds of a Racecourse revolution…

Memory Match – 27-02-82

Throughout the 2015/16 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.

27-02-82

Wrexham v Chelsea

League Division Two

Racecourse Ground

Result: 1-0

Wrexham: Niedzwiecki, Jones, Bater, Davis, Dowman, Ronson, Leman, McNeil, Fox, Vinter (Hill), Carrodus

Goalscorer: Carrodus (66)

Chelsea: Francis, Locke, Hutchings, Nutton, Chivers, Pates, Rhoades-Brown, Britton (Mayes), Lee, Walker, Fillery

Attendance: 3,935

Star-studded Chelsea may be experiencing a season of turmoil, but it is still hard to believe that back in 1981/82 we played them five times. What’s more, the Stamford Bridge hot-seat was occupied by a certain John Neal…

It all began with a disappointing League trip to Stamford Bridge that ended in a 2-0 defeat before a trio of tussles in the FA Cup fourth round. A goalless draw in West London was followed by a 1-1 draw at the Racecourse and a second replay took place at the same venue on the toss of a coin. Home advantage did not help on this occasion though as we lost 1-2 and missed out on a lucrative fifth round home encounter with Liverpool.

The fifth meeting between the sides came at the end of February 1982 on the back of six straight defeats. The mood around the Cae Ras was one of resignation as the club were staring relegation in the face under Mel Sutton, had not won at home since their 3-1 victory over Cardiff on November 24 and had only won three home games in the League all season.

Writing in the Leader, Les Chamberlain said:  “It now looks a certainty that there will be Third Division football at the Racecourse next season.  Only a superhuman effort by the team and the collapse of teams above Wrexham can now save them”.

Ahead of this must-win game, Wrexham were without Wayne Cegielski through suspension but Billy Ronson and Steve Buxton, who had both been suspended, come back into the reckoning. Wrexham fans also had their first chance of seeing Denis Leman who was on loan from Sheffield Wednesday.

The match was only nine minutes old when Joey Jones brought down Clive Walker in the penalty area for what seemed a certain penalty, but fortunately the referee ignored passionate appeals from the Pensioners.

Two minutes before the interval, Mike Fillery beat Eddie Niedzwiecki with a thunderous drive, but the ball hit the side of the bar, bounced on the line and back into play. Once again Chelsea players felt aggrieved as they felt the ball had crossed the goal line.

Wrexham’s goal started from a mistake by Fillery as his under strength pass to Gary Locke was intersected by Steve Fox who took the opportunity to whip in a pinpoint cross to the unmarked Frank Carrodus who calmly drove it past a helpless Steve Francis in the Chelsea goal.

Mel Sutton said: “We played the ball about today and the goal gave them confidence.  Now this has given us a lift and I think it has given the players a lift.  We have now got to work on that and make it pay.”

There is no doubt that this victory gave everyone at the club a confidence boost as the Reds had still to play fellow strugglers so their fate was largely in their own hands. Unfortunately, despite an immediate upturn in fortunes that saw us undefeated in March, we conspired to win just one of our last eight games and we were relegated along with Cardiff City and Orient.

***

1981/82 was also the first season that the three points for a win system was introduced.

Memory Match – 14-04-34

Throughout the 2015/16 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.

14-04-34

Wrexham v New Brighton

League Division Three (Northern Section)

Racecourse Ground

Result: 5-4

Wrexham: Foster, Jones, Hamilton, Bulling, McMahon, Lawrence, Weale, Frewin, Bamford, Snow, Smallwood

Goalscorers: Bamford (2), Snow (2), Smallwood

New Brighton: Bradshaw, Bower, Carr, Smedley, Major, McPherson, Liggins, Allen, Davis, Butler, Pegg

Goalscorers: Allen (2), Davis, Pegg

Attendance: 2,936

 

The 1933/34 season was one to remember as free scoring Wrexham scored over 100 League goals for the second season in succession. It should be no surprise that Tommy Bamford topped the goal scoring charts with 44 League goals, which is still a club record.  Bamford also set another club record when he scored five goals in the 8-1 victory against Carlisle United at the Racecourse.

 

In the first round of the Third Division North Cup, Wrexham faced New Brighton and put them to the sword with an outstanding 11-1 win that included a five-goal haul for Tommy Bamford and a hat-trick for William Bryant.  In the next round Wrexham beat Chester and Crewe before losing in the semi final 3-1 at Darlington.

 

The demolition of New Brighton came on January 3. Shortly before this we had also beaten our no0w defunct rivals 1-0 at Sandheys Park with Bamford getting the only goal.  The Rakers had their chance for revenge in an end of season game that counted for little apart from jostling for inconsequential final league positions.  Manager Ernest Blackburn led his charges to a comfortable sixth position.

 

I chose to cover this game for the Memory Match feature as I thought a game with nine goals would be full of thrills and spills, therefore making for entertaining reading. However, according to ‘Rida’ in the Leader this was a dull and featureless derby encounter with the only redeeming feature being the quality of the forward play in the closing stages of the match.  Indeed, ‘Rida’ doesn’t supply a match report in the way we are accustomed, but simply adds his general impressions of the afternoon’s offerings.

 

Apparently, “neither side showed more than average ability in this game” and Wrexham, who were on top in the first period, faded away in the second half. This nearly proved disastrous as New Brighton were 3 goals behind at one stage and surprised many with the way they fought back and almost forced the draw.

 

Alf Jones and Jimmy Hamilton were both praised for being “good backs” while the latter’s “effective covering made up for the defensive failures of the halves”. Special mentions are also given to midfielder Jim Bulling (“the only one to play steadily throughout”), Bamford (“an excellent leader”) and Bobby Weale (“Fast and tricky, he centred well and at every opportunity”).

 

***

This was a special time for club captain Alf Jones as he was celebrating the completion of 11 seasons with the club between 1923 and 1934. ‘Our Alf’ displayed remarkable consistency and his appearance record of 503 League games for Wrexham has only ever been surpassed by Arfon Griffiths. A benefit match was arranged against his hometown club of Chester.  The match was won 2-3 by our cross border rivals. This was Jones’ second benefit match with the first coming against Everton in October 1928.

 

Wrexham fans were fortunate that Alf Jones was limited by his stature. “What a bonnie back Alf Jones is. I only wish he was two inches taller,” said former Chester manager Alex Raisbeck. If Jones was just a touch taller then he would have undoubtedly been a target for clubs in Division One and missed the opportunity to win three Welsh Cup winners medals and two runners-up medals. Swings and roundabouts…