On January 10th I wrote this –
“Canny managers like Nicky Laws, Alan Devonshire and Kevin Wilkin (to name just a few) are doing their homework and working out what it takes to not only survive at this level but flourish too. Quite frankly, many of them seem to have worked out a way of frustrating footballing teams like Wrexham and picking up positive results.”
When Wrexham beat Luton Town 2-0 in front of the BT Sport cameras back in September the season was only 8 games old but the pattern of inconsistency had been set. Those 3 points against The Hatters made it 2 wins, 2 draws and 4 defeats. It was also arguably one of Wrexham’s best performances of the season and heralded the exciting debut of Theo Bailey Jones. However, after picking up another 3 points at Gateshead a few days later, it was then followed by a 4 game winless run and so the pattern of the season continued – a couple of promising results followed by a sequence of poor ones.
Also at the Racecourse that night (the Luton game) was now current Wrexham manager, Kevin Wilkin who was a guest analyst for BT Sport. Just 6 days earlier he had masterminded a 2-0 victory for Nuneaton over the Dragons. Asked about that particular result, he spoke with humility and there was no sign of bravado, just carefully considered words regarding what was probably one of his biggest results as a manager up until that point.
Nuneaton’s surge up the divisions, with Wilkin at the helm, has been nothing short of amazing and at the time of writing, The Boro (as they are still fondly nicknamed) sit 5th in the Conference with 61 points from 38 games (17 wins, 10 draws, 11 defeats) and despite a large chasing pack, remain well in contention for a play-off spot. Despite a couple of heavy defeats against Luton (who hasn’t had one of those?) they have been hugely competitive all season, something Wrexham really haven’t been on many occasions.
Personally, I think Kevin Wilkin is a great appointment from the Wrexham FC board, it’s ambitious as well as brave. From the names being mentioned as in the final 3 or 4, Wilkin is probably the one that most Wrexham fans will embrace – a manager with a track record in the lower leagues, someone who knows how to set his team up to get results against both similar and stronger opposition and someone who is young enough to be ambitious enough to want to take this great football club back up the ladder and hopefully into league football.
Of course, there is no guarantee of success, even for someone we think is a wonderful choice. The new boss will still have the same working conditions and restraints as the previous manager Andy Morrell (who for the record played his heart out and worked his heart out for the Wrexham FC cause) and will have to juggle any money available very carefully.
Apparently, men who had managed in the Champions League applied for the Wrexham job, but they too would have had the same budget to play with and would have arrived with far more expectation and perhaps baggage too. Kevin Wilkin seems like a very sensible decision – a hungry young manager who has produced positive results at this level of football.
It won’t be easy and it will always be a rollercoaster experience but welcome aboard the good ship Wrexham FC, Mr Wilkin. We wish you well and we are right behind you…Come on You Reds!