ADVENT CALENDAR | Wrexham AFC's number 21s

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Fri 21 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 21 - Welsh speakers, sub keepers and short-term Dragons

Current- Leo Smith

Porthmadog-born Leo Smith broke into the Wrexham AFC first team during the 2016/17 season, wearing the number 21 jersey on his debut against Bromley.

A Welsh speaker, Smith has represented Wales up to under-19 level and made 20 appearances in his breakthrough season – scoring his first Wrexham goal away to York shortly after signing a new contract.

After playing seven times at the start of last season, however, opportunities have been limited since and Smith is currently out on loan with Llandudno in the Welsh Premier League.

Leo Smith goes up against former Red Ross White

First- David Walsh

Wrexham-born goalkeeper David Walsh signed his first professional contract with his hometown team in 1997 but had been restricted to FAW Premier Cup appearances in his first few seasons.

He had still not made his Wrexham debut when squad numbers were introduced in 1999-2000, but was one of four – alongside Kevin Dearden (#1), Mark Cartwright (20) and Kristian Rogers (22) on the original list.

He played in the Football League Trophy defeat to Preston that year – his first senior appearance in English football.

The following season Walsh wore 26, and made his league debut in a 3-1 win against Luton in April 2001, before keeping his first clean sheet in a 1-0 defeat of Swansea.

Wearing 13, the 2001/02 saw Walsh make nine league appearances – including two as a sub – but his most productive year in a Wrexham shirt was also to prove his last.

Despite several trials, he dropped out of the Football League after failing to find a new club.

Longest- Marc Williams

Like older brother Mike, Welsh-born striker Marc Williams was a mainstay of the Wrexham squad in the later Football League seasons and early years at National League level.

The seventh set of brothers to represent Wrexham, Marc Williams took the 21 jersey – previously worn by Paul Linwood that season – when he made his career debut in January 2006.

A Wales under-21 debut followed for the 17-year-old striker, as did a new Wrexham contract, and Williams made 40 appearances in league and cup across the next two seasons.

In the Conference, Williams had scored 13 league goals – including a hat-trick against Eastbourne Borough – and two in the cup, before a broken foot ended his season two months early.

Injuries disrupted his 2009/10 campaign too – for which he had taken number ten after three-and-a-half years as Wrexham’s number 21 – and Andy Morrell’s return to the Racecourse saw him move on in August 2010.

Initially signing on loan with Kidderminster Harriers, Williams made the move permanent the following season.

He continued in the non-league before signing for Welsh Premier League newcomers Llandudno in 2015, where his goals earned him the WPL Player of the Year award as the Seasiders’ third-place finish saw them qualify for Europe.

He scored 27 goals in 80 starts on the North Welsh coast before being released at the end of last season and signing for Bangor.

Promotion heroes and cup-final kings

Goalkeeper Paul Whitfield made eight league appearances as back-up to Andy Dibble during the 2002/03 promotion campaign, sharing responsibility as sub keeper with Kristian Rogers – another former Wrexham number 21.

Levi Mackin took the jersey the following season and was still wearing it in 2004/05, but he did not feature in the LDV Vans Trophy final.

Jay Colbeck was not involved at Wembley in 2013, meanwhile, and neither was Sean Smith two years later.

Wrexham AFC’s Number 21s

Embed from Getty Images

1999-2000: David Walsh (0 league apps)
2000-2001: Lee Roche (41 apps/0 goals)
2001-2002: Kristian Rogers (27 apps)
2002-2003: Paul Whitfield (8 apps)
2003-2005: Levi Mackin (11 apps/0 goals)
2005: Paul Linwood (9 apps/0 goals)
2006-2009: Marc Williams (62 apps/17 goals)
2009-2010: Kai Edwards (1 app/0 goals)
2010-2012: Chris Maxwell (46 apps)
2012-2013: Jay Colbeck (7 apps/2 goals)
2013-2014: Rob Evans (16 apps/0 goals)
2014-2015: Sean Smith (0 apps)
2015: Mason Watkins-Clark (1 app)
2015-2016: Taylor McKenzie (0 apps)
2016: Louis Briscoe (4 apps)
2016-: Leo Smith (27 apps/1 goal)
+Only includes league matches played in specified jersey; does not include play-offs

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