Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
An open letter to the Wrexham team:
Be ready to seize the moment on Sunday. Obviously being a winner at Wembley will be something to tell the grandchildren. But it represents so much more than that.
You will get a chance on Sunday to do something the great names of Wrexham Football Club never managed.
Some you won’t be familiar with, like Tommy Bamford, who scored over two hundred goals at a rate approaching a goal a game. Some of them you will know, like Mickey Thomas and Joey Jones.
True greats of the club, and true greats of football, but they never got to step onto the Wembley turf in a Wrexham shirt. You will.
The possibilities don’t end on Sunday. The play-offs aren’t happening this season, but you’ve shown enough over the last few months to indicate we’re getting somewhere.
And I tell you this. If you think players who claim victory at Wembley will earn the adoration of the Wrexham fans, wait to see what will happen to the squad which eventually gets Wrexham out of non-league football.
Because Wrexham Football Club is special. Over one and a half centuries we’ve been through so much. Yet through it all this remains the lowest level at which we’ve played, and the fans are now desperate for that part of the story to end.
Recent history is littered with examples of clubs which enjoy success and then push on. Winning a trophy creates forward momentum. We won the FA Trophy two years ago but for a variety of reasons failed to capitalise. Now we have another chance to start something very special. This time we can win at Wembley and grasp the opportunity. The character we showed in an incredibly tough run to Wembley shows that.
Remember how we survived an onslaught at Southport? How we came back from two down at Stockport? How we came back from behind twice against Gateshead, then showed real character in the penalty shoot-out?
We showed guts in those early games. But that developed into something else after we triumphed in the north east. When we went to Halifax, one of the strongest sides in our division, something had changed. You’d created momentum. There was a real feeling that we were going to go to The Shay and beat them. You’d earned that self-belief which transmitted itself through the side with the heart and togetherness you’d shown in the earlier rounds.
And you built on it in the semi-finals, when deep down we all knew you were going to go through. The emphatic manner you negotiated the final obstacle before Wembley was the perfect illustration of that.
You’re on the verge of achieving something very special for this club, and if you can do it you’ll never be forgotten. And why else would you go into this sport if it wasn’t to be a hero?
On Sunday you can step up and make yourself a hero. And then you can go on to achieve even greater things. Get out there and grasp the moment.