Plenty of Wrexham fans are angry at the moment. I understand that, but their anger is being directed at the wrong target.
Andy Morrell is the subject of most people’s ire. As I’ve previously suggested, I feel that making him the scapegoat is unfair, not to mention incredibly short sighted. It wasn’t so long ago that he was the best thing since sliced bread, and statistically he still remains far-and-away the most successful Wrexham manager in history. Surely that, added to the fact that his personal attributes make him an asset for the club in a number of ways, has bought him some credit?
Anyway, to look at a thinner squad and point the finger at Morrell is erroneous. One might disagree with how he’s spent his money, but the fact is that in real terms he’s had less to spend than any Wrexham manager since Denis Smith in the early days of his reign, as far as I can see. This is a manager with two years’ experience under his belt trying to juggle a shrinking budget, and he deserves support, not approbium.
But that’s not to say that the anger should be directed to those who set the budget either. I’d love to see us bid for Neymar, but I have to admit that we’re living in the real world. We’ve gone through years of overspending, and eventually reality had to kick in. It’ll happen to Crawley, it’ll happen to Fleetwood, and it’s happening to us. We don’t tend to get lumped in with overspending clubs like that, partly because we drew succour from occupying the moral high ground while they were occupying the top of the table. I’ve been, and still am, as guilty as anyone in that regard. However, we did massively overspend in the time Brian Little and Dean Saunders were managing us, and there had to come a time when we paid the piper.
The WST might be criticised in some quarters for not allowing Morrell more financial leeway, but those critics have short memories. We spent over a decade on the verge of oblivion, for a variety of reasons. Now we have owners we can trust to protect the club’s future; I’d be furious if they suddenly started acting like their predecessors.
So don’t blame Morrell and don’t blame the trust. You won’t find the answer by looking at the club in its current form. The reason we’re toiling now is that massive overspend of the past. You can’t blame Little and Saunders though. Little might have been an unmitigated failure, and Saunders learned at our massive expense before finally getting things right, but I’m loathe to ever criticise a manager for asking for more money. That, after all, is what they naturally do. Fish swim, dogs bark, managers ask for extra cash so they can bring in a Belgian left back. That’s nature.
For the root cause of our frustration, you have to look at why Little and Saunders were given so much money. The previous management of the club was absolutely unsustainable and inevitably led to financial meltdown. How could you expect there to be any other outcome when the club leaked money in copious amounts for years, either through poor boardroom decisions, the separation of the club from its assets or overspending on wages. Bemoan the fact that we’ve got to economise to make ends meet, by all means. But don’t blame Morrell of the WST for it.