ADVENT CALENDAR | Wrexham AFC's Number 20s

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Thu 20 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 20 - From Cartwright to Akil Wright

Current- Akil Wright

Midfielder Akil Wright first joined Wrexham on loan from Fleetwood at the start of the 2017/18 season, taking the number 20 jersey.

He made his debut on the opening day of the season and his first start a week later, impressing sufficiently to earn a permanent move in the January.

The former Ilkeston midfielder, who also had a loan spell with Barrow before his switch to North Wales, made 30 league appearances in his first year at the Racecourse.

This season he started the campaign in a slightly deeper position, claiming the Vanarama National League Player of the Month award for August after impressing at the base of the three-man midfield.

He dropped to the bench for a few games after Brad Walker arrived, but scored his first Wrexham goal in the FA Cup qualifying-round replay defeat of Harrogate and has since passed 50 Dragons appearances.

Akil Wright heads the ball

First- Mark Cartwright

Goalkeeper Mark Cartwright spent most of the 1998/99 season as Wrexham's number one, after Andy Marriott left to join Sunderland.

He earned plaudits for his performance - and a string of fine saves - in a goalless draw with Manchester City at Maine Road but was also inconsistent and Brian Flynn opted to sign Kevin Dearden in the summer.

It meant Cartwright, who first signed for Wrexham in 1994 and made his career debut with the club, took the number 20 jersey for the season.

Cartwright did not make a single league appearance, however, and spent time on loan at Bury before leaving permanently to join Brighton the following year.

Longest- Simon Spender

Flintshire-born defender Simon Spender wore the number 20 jersey when he made his career debut in March 2004, having graduated from the Wrexham youth team.

Spender came off the bench for the final 30 minutes of the away draw with Plymouth, helping Wrexham earn a goalless draw despite finishing with nine men.

Spender made six appearances in that first season, and played 19 more times in the following campaign too - two of those were in the LDV Vans Trophy, including the derby with Chester, but he did not feature in the final.

His first game of the following season saw him sent off against Carlisle, but he scored his first two Wrexham goals later in the campaign.

Spender wore 14, 2 and 17 across his final three seasons with Wrexham and then left the club in 2009 to join Barrow after a successful loan spell.

He won the FA Trophy with Barrow and the moved to TNS in the Welsh Premier League, where he still plays.

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Promotion heroes and cup-final kings

Mark Evans wore number 20 in the 2002/03 promotion season, but the jersey only got a single airing - one sub appearance against Leyton Orient, which was also the former youth player's final Wrexham appearance.

Simon Spender played two games in the successful LDV Vans Trophy campaign in 2005, but not the final.

In fact, there was no number 20 for any of the Wembley finals either – Leon Clowes and Louis Gray having been handed the squad number in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

Wrexham AFC’s Number 20s

Embed from Getty Images

1999-2000: Mark Cartwright (0 league apps)
2000-2002: Michael Blackwood (46 apps/2 goals)
2002-2003: Mark Evans (1 app/0 goals)
2003-2006: Simon Spender (38 apps/2 goals)
2006-2008: Matt Done (58 apps/1 goal)
2008-2009: Shaun Pejic (1 app/0 goals)
2009-2010: Jamie McCluskey (20 apps/0 goals)
2010-2012: Nat Knight-Percival (75 apps/8 goals)
2012-2013: Leon Clowes (4 apps/0 goals)
2013-2014: Anthony Stephens (0 apps)
2014-2015: Louis Gray (0 apps)
2015-2016: Connor Bell (0 apps)
2016-2017: Gerry McDonagh (22 apps/5 goals)
2017-: Akil Wright (51 apps/0 goals)*
+Only includes league matches played in specified jersey; does not include play-offs
*Up to 20/12/2018

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