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Club News

WEMBLEY | Q&A - Andy Morrell

20 May 2022

Club News

WEMBLEY | Q&A - Andy Morrell

20 May 2022

Former Manager Andy Morrell led Wrexham to Wembley glory back in 2013, as his side beat Grimsby Town to lift the FA Trophy for the very first time.

Similarly to Phil Parkinson, Morrell managed to secure a Play-Off place in the National League, finishing on 98 points the same season.

We caught up with Andy ahead of this season's Final to discuss his memories of the week building up to the game and what it was like leading the Club to Wembley glory.

Firstly Andy, as a former Wrexham player and Manager, how good is it to see the Club in its current position?

I think the most pleasing thing is to see the structure of the football Club in a really good place. The Club seems to be going in one direction which is brilliant because the way the team has been playing is a bonus. Hopefully, those foundations will send the Club in the right direction for many years to come.

You were in the same position as Phil Parkinson back in 2013. Just what is it like preparing the Club for a cup final at Wembley?

It's exciting to be part of a final for starters but to get over that hurdle and win the game is a huge achievement. Your mindest has to be that you’re preparing for a matchday like all the others that have brought you success. That preparation is so important, it’s crucial to keep everyone focused because not everybody can play. Those players that aren’t part of the first 11 have to be just as bigger part to those on the pitch. 

What can you recall from the build-up to the game and the Final itself?

Our game plan was good, we felt that was the way to go. The plan was for me to play as a bit of experience then bring Adrian Cieslewicz to go up against tired legs and try to win the game. That worked really well and we probably should have won the game in normal time, I think we got it spot on but their keeper was very good. It’s good to look back and say we got it right for that one because for the Play-Off Final we didn't get it quite so right. I thought we got it right on the day, the nerves didn’t get to us, we were dynamic and the lads were ace.

To say the relief when Jonny Hunt’s penalty went in was overwhelming. Maxi [Chris Maxwell] came over to me and said 'don’t worry gaffer I know which way Brodie’s going here', and he was right, but I don’t think he was expecting him to hit it over the bar! I’ve got really fond memories from it and the celebrations afterwards were just fantastic.

How difficult was it to name the final 11 ahead of such a momentous occasion for the Club?

I had to let Joe Clarke down because he wasn’t in the starting 11 and he was really upset with that. He did get on and he was going to take the fifth penalty, but in the after-match celebrations, he put me in a headlock and said 'no hard feelings'. That was a credit to him and the rest of the squad as a whole.

It’s gut-wrenching to make those calls, because as a non-League team, getting the opportunity to play at Wembley doesn’t happen very often. To potentially kill somebody's dream of playing there is tough, but they're the decisions we were paid to make. I’d have played all the players if I could and there was a dilemma about whether I would start, and part of the reason was I could let myself down rather than someone else. Joe had a big part to play, playing the last 20 minutes going into extra-time and it’s really important that the lads that are around it and not in the squad push the team on.

What was that feeling like watching on as Wrexham Manager and lifting the FA Trophy?

There is no moment like it, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up just talking about it. To go to Wembley and win there as Wrexham Manager was incredible, there really is no feeling like it. To stand there at the end of the line when Keatesy [Dean Keates] was lifting the trophy and see the Wrexham fans jumping up and down singing was such a proud moment for me. Nobody can ever take that moment from me and to be a part of it and mastermind the win if you like was something special. I really hope they can repeat that again for the fans.

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