Fresh from securing the Vanarama National League title and promotion to the EFL, Ben Foster admits it was an easy decision to put his retirement plans on the back-burner for another season and extend his stay at the Racecourse Ground.
After coming out of retirement to play the final eight games of the season, returning to Wrexham 18 years after helping the Club to LDV Vans Trophy success, Foster received a hero’s welcome.
And his cult hero status among Wrexham fans only grew, after three clean sheets in eight games and a momentous penalty save in the final moments of the 3-2 win against title rivals Notts County.
After clinching the title with victory at home to Boreham Wood, Foster says he had no qualms about continuing with the Club as he targets back-to-back promotions.
He said: “At the end of last season, it was obvious that I enjoyed being at the Club, I loved being part of the team and everything that Wrexham stands for.
“The fans took to me so warmly, Phil Parkinson is brilliant, Steve Parkin is top class, I love Aidan Davison to bits, and the Co-Chairmen are out of this world.
“I’d decided before the end of last season I wanted to do it because it feels like home. I’ve never joined a football club and felt at ease so quickly.
“I want to win another trophy. I’ve played something like 25 games, and I’ve won the LDV Vans Trophy, the National League, and now I want to win League Two.
“To be a small part in what is going to become a big machine in years to come is special. I can’t wait to see all the fans again, and bring the good times back to Wrexham because that’s where they belong.”
To join a squad so late into the season was always going to pose its challenges, but the former England goalkeeper received a warm welcome from the start from players and fans alike.
The decision to come out of retirement to play a key role in the final stages of last season was never going to be straightforward, but one he says he will never regret.
Reflecting on the adjustment he made, he expressed how special the Wrexham supporters have been since signing, and his expectations for the Club’s future.
He said: “It was madness, I’ve never seen a fanbase that is so wild and crazy. The celebrations after the season at the trophy parade were something I’d never seen before.
“That is a bit special, and the journey I think Wrexham are going to go on, this is just the start.
“I honestly believe the Club can get to the Championship and the Premier League because they want to do it a different way.
“They want to do it properly and against the grain and I love that. They don’t want to do the traditional football route which has been done forever in this country.
“That’s what I stand for; the little person that doesn’t conform – it’s what I’ve been doing my last few years in football. That’s what I want to be a part of, and I’ve found that here at Wrexham.”
There were plenty of standout moments for such a short period in his initial stint, with the Notts County game going down as one for the history books.
Despite winning the League Cup, and playing for England at the World Cup, Foster described the physical battle in the National League as unlike anything he has seen before.
The fixture away at Barnet may have ended goalless, but the stopper added it was another moment that reinforced his passion for the sport and Wrexham.
He said: “I realised very quickly that playing for Wrexham in the National League is tough, and it doesn’t matter who you are, if you don’t have your wits about you, you’re going to find out.
“As a goalkeeper the amount of ariel balls you’ve got coming into the area, and having to punch and scrap, you’ve really got to be on your game.
“The Barnet game was a big example of that, it was an outrageous battle because it was aerial ball after aerial ball being pumped into the box.
“They had 6ft 7 monsters wanting to head everything and I loved it, it was a bit of me.
“The Notts County game is in the top three best moments of my career. The 30 seconds between the penalty save and Elliot heading it off the line was a different level.
“I have never saved a penalty before in the 96th minute when we’re 3-2 up to preserve a win and for it to be in that moment against our rivals was so special.
“I watch my YouTube videos back and it just gives me goosebumps and I can’t wait to have more moments like that.”
Away from the pitch, Foster heaped praise on the Co-Chairmen, for the way they have forged a new kind of ownership.
Throughout his years of experience, Foster described their style as refreshing, and he identified with their outlook on ownership.
He said: “We were in Vegas and Rob and his wife Katlin were mixing in with us getting on it and having a nice time, and they will be so open and honest with us about anything.
“Rob is very big on empowering us, they will support us in everything we do, and Ryan is of the same ilk.
“They love it, it’s nice having owners like them because it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before.
“You wouldn’t even know they owned the football club because they are such normal blokes.”