It was on platform one of Carmarthen station at 8:01 am that I left to watch my last Wrexham game at the Racecourse for who knows when, the idea of going months without going is an inconceivable thought. A place I’ve based my life around for the last four years will suddenly be no more as the nearest I’ll have to the Racecourse will be Cheltenham Town’s Whaddon Road as I move away for University.
The reason I mention Carmarthen station is because it isn’t my normal beginning to a game day, for the last few years I’ve been rudely awakened as early as 9 o’clock (I know, preposterous) so I can catch the bus to Wrexham, an hour later I’m in a weird town full of shoppers and chewing gum smothered floors. But today I waved goodbye to my long distance other half for a period of time apart unfathomable to the majority of others. The five hour journey through South Wales and the West of England is familiar to me, done once before in December for football purposes, I could miss a day of College, but we had Oxford in the Cup and I couldn’t miss that!
Back to North Wales, it seems a million miles away from when I first began coming to the Racecourse on a regular basis, a 2-0 win over Grimsby Town on a freezing cold January in 2011. Morrell and Harris’ goals trapped me, I just wanted to come back for more, maybe my second match, a 7-2 defeat to Gateshead and a small riot on the Kop would have put a lot of new fans off, but I loved it (not the rioting though). In total I saw five games in the 2010/2011 season, maybe I loved it so much as it helped me forget how my other club, Portsmouth were doing, failing miserably in the Championship, two seasons and two back-to-back relegations meant League 2 football for the 2008 FA Cup winners.
Perhaps my favourite memory of the first few games was meeting my future football hero. I’ve spoken to people whose idols have been George Best or Kenny Dalglish, but for me my footballing idol is and always will be Glen Little. I remember turning around when sat next to the tunnel in the Yale Stand and being greeted by Glen’s beak and Wimbledon tones. I was stunned. A good 15 minute chat before a steward, obviously not recognising who this God is, interrupted. He must not have known that at 17, Little scored the winning goal in the 1996 Irish Cup Final. But over the next three seasons I developed by little footballing crush on Glen and the squad as a whole, the whole town did.
I’d been caught up, over the next year I watched Wrexham gain 98 points and finish second in the league before those damn Hatters beat us in the play-offs once again. We’ll never get closer than that unless we win the league. Well…..the next season was by far the most exciting. Topping the league for a while before winning the FA Trophy and reaching the play-off final, what a joy! But then the worst 10 minutes of all of our lives came and I never want to talk about it ever again.
All of this happening as a fan, my dream to be a Sports Journalist never crossed my mind when it came to watching Wrexham, until I saw a tweet from Wrexham Player. A new feature set to take the World by storm, ‘Players vs Cats vs Fans’. Having taken part in the much over-looked feature, I was introduced to the team, albeit very briefly. A month later I find the WSA blog and ask to be a part of it, but I got so much more than that when I was asked to join the team. We have lift off, after so many hours outside the players entrance stalking Glen and his pals, I’m in. Nobody has ever been so excited to go to a Tuesday night fixture with Tamworth in the pouring rain. Not only did I have the chance to commentate and witness interviews as they happen, but I walked out of the very entrance I’d stalked for years.
Over the next 8 months I took part in some fantastic projects, the biggest being Derby Day Live which was a great success. The 150th Anniversary celebrations have been terrific and I’m very proud to be a part of it. The cherry on the top of the cake has been writing for the programme, being an avid arorak (dubbed a programme geek, cheers Carl and Gemma) when it comes to the ‘Match-day magazine’ as some clubs insist on naming it, to write for one is the dream inside the dream. I remember once going to Crewe Alexandra’s Gresty Road where I found a programme stall. I purchased a few Pompey ones, and in Portsmouth v Carlisle United I found my tweet inside it, I was bouncing around the room for hours! So the chance to have my own feature is an unbelievable honour.
Before leaving for University in September I’d like to thank Mark for introducing me to the team as well as the team itself Carl, Alex, Jamie, Andy, Richard and Gemma. Also Terry from the programme. I can’t wait to return to the club and will miss every second I’m not there