ADVENT CALENDAR | Wrexham AFC's Number 16s

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Sun 16 Dec 2018

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?

Number 16 – Internationals and a Wembley hero

Current- Brad Walker

Crewe loanee Brad Walker arrived at the Racecourse after the start of the current season but the defensive midfielder/defender made an immediate impression.

Taking the number 16 jersey - which had been vacant since Marcus Kelly was released in the summer - Walker immediately established himself as the number one choice at the base of the midfield.

The 23-year-old, who started his career at Hartlepool, opened his Wrexham account from the spot against Chesterfield and added further goals against Gateshead and Maidstone.

His loan deal is due to expire in January, however, with Crewe boss and former Wrexham defender Dave Artell telling the local press he is keen on his return to Gresty Road...

First- Neil Roberts

Neil Roberts started his career at the Racecourse and the Wrexham-born striker made a bright start to his career after making his debut in 1997.

Five goals in the next four games saw him earmarked as a star for the future, and he was handed the number 16 jersey at the start of the 1999/2000 season.

Roberts made his Wales debut at the Racecourse shortly afterwards, coming on for the final 13 minutes of a 2-0 defeat to Switzerland, despite being yet to feature for Wrexham that season.

Upon his return, he scored twice in two games - including a strike against Wigan - but he was too leave Wrexham after six more goals to sign for the promotion-chasing Latics.

Teenage full-back Mark Evans took the number 16 jersey later in the season, but did not make any senior appearances that year.

Roberts returned to Wrexham as club captain in 2006, scoring 11 goals across two seasons despite injury problems, but was released after relegation to the National League and later went into coaching at Manchester City's academy.

Longest- Johnny Hunt

Wrexham's number 16 for the 2013 FA Trophy final, and scorer of the match-winning penalty, Johnny Hunt was assigned the squad number for four seasons in all.

The tenacious, versatile Hunt made his debut at the end of the 2009/10 campaign and was handed the number 16 the following year.

He did not play regularly until the latter part of the 2011/12 season, including the play-off semi-final defeat to Luton, before becoming a mainstay the next year.

Hunt played in both games at Wembley in 2013, scoring that aforementioned winning penalty to seal the FA Trophy, and scored three goals in 49 appearances in all that season.

He also represented the England C team at the end of that season, making his representative debut in Bermuda in a 6-1 win against the hosts.

The following year was a mixed bag for Hunt, who played in defence, midfield and attack. He was sent off for a bad foul in a feisty, televised match against Barnet but then finished the season up front and was Wrexham's top goalscorer with 12 goals in 46 appearances.

He turned down a new contract at the end of the season to join Cambridge and, after briefly dropping back into the non-league, has since played for Mansfield and Stevenage.

Promotion heroes and cup final kings

Waynne Phillips wore the number 16 jersey for the 2002/03 promotion campaign but his season lasted just nine minutes before, having already had his career beset by injuries, he suffered a fractured leg in the opening game at Scunthorpe.

In the LDV Vans Trophy final it was Matt Crowell in number 16, meanwhile, playing the first 105 minutes as Wrexham beat Southend 2-0 at the Millennium Stadium.

Eight years later, it was Wrexham's number 16 who made one of the most telling impacts - Johnny Hunt converting the winning penalty as the Dragons beat Grimsby in a shoot-out to win the FA Trophy at Wembley.

Wrexham AFC’s number 16s

1999-2000: Neil Roberts (19 league apps/6 goals)
2000: Mark Evans (0 apps)
2000-2001: Danny Williams (15 apps/2 goals)
2001-2003: Waynne Phillips (28 apps/1 goal)
2003-2006: Matt Crowell (72 apps/4 goals)
2006-2007: Levi Mackin (8 apps/0 goals)
2007-2010: Silvio Spann (50 apps/1 goal)
2010-2014: Johnny Hunt (97 apps/13 goals)
2014-2016: Wes York (82 apps/13 goals)
2016-2017: Jordan Evans (22 apps/0 goals)
2017: Russ Penn (16 apps/0 goals)
2017-2018: Marcus Kelly (43 apps/2 goals)
2018-: Brad Walker (13 apps/3 goals)*
+Only includes league appearances made in the specific jersey, does not include play-offs
*Up to 16/12/2018

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