Stand Up If You Love Dean Keates

If the example Wrexham fans have set in recent weeks is anything to go by then, one thing is certain tomorrow; they will rise up and give Dean Keates a superb welcome.

It’s been very easy to feel proud of being a Wrexham fan lately, in so many ways. We’ve successfully taken over the club, enjoyed that wonderful mutual appreciation with Brighton, and raised a four-figure sum for Kettering last week. That’s why I know we’ll give Keates the pat on the back he deserves.

After missing the injury-time penalty at Forest Green, Keates must have been (well, I hate this word but it feels highly appropriate in this context) gutted. As the club captain and a senior pro, he put his hand up to take another penalty after his traumatic miss against Brighton; how must he feel having failed to score again?

Keates has been an excellent servamt for Wrexham already, certainly one of Dean Saunders’ best signings for the club. He was a driving force in our midfield as we got into the play-offs last season, and although injuries have hampered his campaign this time round, he remains terrifically consistent. He doesn’t have a bad game, and who could forget his courage when he broke his collar bone against Newport?

Fans expect to see committment from their players, but if you think about it, it’s remarkable we feel we have a right to expect so much. Players are hired guns, and apart from youth programme products don’t tend to have any particular affinity with their club. Keates isn’t from Wrexham, and has no particular link to the area as far as I’m aware. He’s at the back end of an impressive career, in which he has achieved a great deal; there’s certainly no sense in which he might want to grasp at a final chance to clinch a promotion as he’s experienced plenty of them, but he must be aware that an injury could curtail his playing days. But despite having a broken bone, he went back on the pitch with his arm strapped up because we were down to ten men and had used all our subs.

He put his body on the line for our club; after a rough week, tomorrow’s time for us to properly show our appreciation.

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