Already in place in the top flight, squad numbers were introduced into the English Football League ahead of the 1999/2000 season – making this the 20th season of Wrexham squad numbers since.
Some names and numbers will be permanently linked in Wrexham fans’ minds: “Ugarte 30”, “Edwards 7”, “Sam 23”, “Ferguson 10” … the list goes on, right up until “Carrington 13” in the current squad.
But what is the story behind each of Wrexham’s squad numbers? And who have the current crop of players got to live up to?
12 – Hard men and midfield engines
Current- vacant (most recently worn by Jonathan Franks)
Despite two members of the current playing squad, Mark Carrington and Doug Tharme, having both been assigned the number 12 earlier in their Wrexham careers, the shirt number is currently vacant.
Carra wore 12 for the 2015-16 season, before taking on his current number 13 – the third different squad number he has held during his five seasons at Wrexham – the following year.
Tharme, meanwhile, is listed as number 12 for the 2016-17 season – following Kai Edwards’ departure – but he did not appear in the playing squad until the following year, by which time he had taken his current number 24.
The most recent Wrexham number 12 was Jonathan Franks, who signed in February after his release from Hartlepool. The former Middlesbrough winger made seven appearances – five of which were off the bench – and was released at the end of the season.
First- Dave Ridler
Liverpool-born hard man Dave Ridler turned professional with Wrexham in 1995 and made more than 100 league appearances for the club during his time at the Racecourse.
With club captain Tony Humes struggling with injury, Ridler had established himself as Brian Carey’s centre-back partner the previous season – and scored his first and only league goal for the club.
He was handed the number 12 jersey for the following season and appeared 25 times that season – starting 22 of those games.
He made a similar number of appearances the following season, but with Dennis Lawrence having been signed, he was released in 2001.
Ridler later had stints with Macclesfield and Shrewsbury before dropping into the non-league and had a stint as Prescot Cables manager before moving into coaching abroad.
Longest- Dean Keates
Wrexham’s number 12 jersey is probably best associated with two midfield engines – first Paul Barrett, who took the jersey in 2000 and wore it for the next four seasons, and later Dean Keates.
Keates signed for Wrexham in 2010 and was named club captain, establishing himself with a 30-yard screamer in just his fourth game, as the Dragons drew with Keates’ former team, Kidderminster.
The 5’5” midfielder was a key part of the Wrexham team which reached the play-offs in three consecutive seasons, while he captained the team to FA Trophy success at Wembley in 2013.
A fans’ favourite, the terrier-like midfielder featured 180 times for Wrexham in total before his release in May 2015 – moving into coaching upon his release, while continuing to play part-time for Rhyl.
A year-and-a-half later, after Gary Mills was sacked, Keates took charge at the Racecourse – winning 26 and drawing 25 of his 73 games in charge of Wrexham.
The club were fourth in the National League, having beaten Chester 2-0 in his final game in charge, when he left to lead boyhood team Walsall, for whom he had made 200 appearances and earned three promotions as a player.
Promotion heroes and cup-final kings
Paul Barrett was Wrexham’s number 12 in the 2002-03 promotion season, starting 22 of his 26 league games in central midfield, and scoring one goal as Wrexham celebrated promotion with a 5-0 home win against Cambridge United.
The former Newcastle trainee made more than 100 appearances for the club in total but had left by the time of the LDV Vans Trophy final appearance in 2005.
Dean Bennett was Wrexham’s number 12 at the Millennium Stadium instead where, despite an injury-hit time with the Dragons, he appeared off the bench for the second half of extra time.
Fast forward to the FA Trophy final at Wembley in 2013 and Dean Keates was leading the side while wearing the number 12 jersey. Keates was followed in the area with ten minutes remaining, and Kevin Thornton scored the subsequent spot kick.
Keates – who missed in the shoot-out defeat to Brighton in the FA Cup the previous season – did not take a penalty, as Wrexham converted all four spot-kicks to enable him to lift the trophy.
Keates was number 12 again two years later, and was substituted off with the Dragons leading 2-0 against North Ferriby United. The less said about what happened next, the better.
Wrexham’s Number 12s
1999-2000: David Ridler (25 league apps/0 goals)
2000-2004: Paul Barrett (102 apps/3 goals)
2004-2006: Dean Bennett (47 apps/2 goals)
2006-2007: Matty Crowell (21 apps/0 goals)
2007-2008: Gavin Ward (22 apps)
2008-2009: Levi Mackin (16 apps/1 goal)
2009: Angelos Tsiaklis (1 app/0 goals)
2010: Danny Mitchley (6 apps/0 goals)
2010-2015: Dean Keates (153 apps/13 goals)
2015-2016: Mark Carrington (32 apps/1 goal)
2016-2017: Kai Edwards (22 apps/1 goal)
2017: Doug Tharme (0 apps)
2017: Callum Preston (1 app/0 goals)
2018-: Jonathan Franks (7 apps/0 goals)
+Stats only include league matches played in the specified jersey, does not include play-offs
*Up to 01/12/2018