ADVENT CALENDAR | Wrexham AFC's Number 23s

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Sun 23 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 23 – Super-Sub Sam

Current- Stuart Beavon

Experienced forward Stuart Beavon signed for Wrexham on loan ahead of the 2018/19 season from Coventry City.

The 34-year-old, who has had previous spells in the Football League with Wycombe Wanderers, Preston North End and Burton Albion too – and was prolific in the non-league at Didcot Town – made his Wrexham debut at Dover.

Wearing the number 23, Beavon worked his way up to full fitness early in the season after struggling for game time in his final season with the Sky Blues, and scored his first Dragons goal in the home win against Aldershot.

Operating in the front three, he scored twice more in home games in September, including the winner against Barnet.

Beavon’s fourth Wrexham goal – and first away from the Racecourse – arrived in the FA Cup first-round win at Weston-super-Mare, while under Graham Barrow he has become part of a front two with Bobby Grant.

Stuart Beavon celebrates making it 2-0

First- Steve Cooper

Welsh defender Steven Cooper came through the ranks at Wrexham AFC and was on the fringes of the first team squad, aged 20, when squad numbers were introduced in 1999.

Cooper was handed number 23, but he only made one appearance in English football – playing in the Auto Windscreen Shield defeat to Preston that season.

He joined Total Network Solutions shortly afterwards and spent a few seasons in the Welsh Premier League, before returning to the Racecourse as head of youth development in 2008.

Cooper moved to Liverpool in 2008, before joining the English national set-up, where he is head coach of the under-17s – winning the World Cup in 2017, with the likes of Phil Foden, Rhian Brewster and Callum Hudson-Odoi in the ranks.

Longest- Hector Sam

The number 23 jersey will be best remembered for being Hector Sam’s for four of his five seasons at the Racecourse.

Sam joined Wrexham along with fellow Trinidad & Tobago international Carlos Edwards in 2000, playing 20 league games as Wrexham’s number 18 in his first year.

The following season, Sam took the 23 jersey for the first time and wore it from then until the end of his Racecourse career.

He scored five league goals in 2001/02 and again as Wrexham were promoted back to the Second Division in 2002/03.

Despite being transfer listed, he scored ten goals the following season to re-establish his importance to the squad, while also becoming somewhat of a super-sub in his later seasons at the Racecourse.

He again scored 12 goals in all competitions in 2004/05, and was an unused sub in Cardiff for the 2005 LDV Vans Trophy Final, before joining Port Vale at the end of the year.

Unfortunately, a broken leg ruined his time at Vale Park, but Sam did spend a season apiece at Walsall and Notts County before returning to his home country in 2008.

Embed from Getty Images

Promotion heroes and cup-final kings

Hector Sam made 26 league appearances during the 2002/03 season, scoring five times – his goals coming against Oxford, Macclesfield, Swansea, Hartlepool and Carlisle.

The Trinidad & Tobago striker was still number 23 in 2005, despite having been transfer listed at the end of the promotion season, and was an unused sub for the LDV Vans Trophy Final. Sam had previously featured in all five games in the run to the final and scored the winner in the first round against Notts County.

At Wembley, for the 2013 FA Trophy Final, Chris Westwood wore number 23. The centre-back was one of Wrexham’s four successful penalty takers in the shoot-out.

Wrexham AFC’s Number 23s

1999-2000: Steve Cooper (0 league apps)
2000-2001: Kevin Hannon (0 apps)
2001-2005: Hector Sam (130 apps/29 goals)
2005-2006: Gareth Evans (0 apps)
2006-2007: Neil Roberts (19 apps/3 goals)
2007-2008: Michael Carvill (8 apps/0 goals)
2008-2009: Sam Aiston (19 apps/0 goals)
2009-2010: Obi Anorou (6 apps/0 goals)
2010-2011: Mark Creighton (27 apps/0 goals)
2011-2013: Chris Westwood (50 apps/2 goals)
2013-2015: Jonathan Royle (0 apps)
2015: Jon Nolan (6 apps/0 goals)
2016: Simon Heslop (20 apps/3 goals)
2016: Nortei Nortey (6 apps/0 goals)
2017: Oliver Shenton (17 apps/1 goal)
2017-2018: Dane Rigby (0 apps)
2018-: Stuart Beavon (23 apps/3 goals)*
+Only includes league matches played in specified jersey; does not include play-offs
*Up to 23/12/2018

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