It’s not where we want to be, but the National League is where we are, and has been for a while now. Do the stats tell us anything about why we’ve struggled to get out, and who have been the players we’ve leaned on over the last 11 seasons? Read on to find out, and over the next couple of weeks join in and vote for Wrexham’s best National League XI.
The stat that stands out for me is how transient our squads have been. We’re in an unusually stable period at the moment, with a squad which has been developed over a couple of years. Usually we’ve endured a Summer of disruption as the playing staff is ripped to pieces, and this is reflected in the statistics. We used 224 players in the National League, and a remarkable 143 of them only made league appearances for us during one season. That’s an incredible 64% of our National League players who only stuck around for a year.
Another indication of our lack of continuity is how few players have made over 100 appearances in the National League for us. Only 11 players have reached that landmark for us, which is rather surprising when you consider that two full seasons amount to 92 games.
To put that into context, look at how stable our last three promotion-winning sides were. 14 members of the 2002-3 squad made over 100 league appearances for us; 13 of the 1992-3 side managed that feat; and appropriately, the legendary 1977-8 side was stuffed with players who stuck around, as 18 of the players used that season played in over 100 Wrexham league games. That puts 11 in 11 years into context.
Inevitably, the list of our top scorers in the National League tells a similar story. Just 5 players have accumulated over 20 league goals for us over the last 11 seasons.
Jay Harris, hardly a prolific goal scorer, gets into the top ten, while two-season Chris Holroyd also features despite his frustrating 2018-19 season. Remarkably, the most recent player to score his 30th league goal for Wrexham was Hector Sam in 2005.
Just for interest’s sake, the players with the best strike rate in the National League are as follows, with the codicil that I’ve only worked out games per goal rather than the more accurate minutes per goal.
Watch out tomorrow for the first poll as you pick Wrexham’s best National League goalkeeper.