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?
5 – Big men at the back
Current – Shaun Pearson
Captain Shaun Pearson took over the number five jersey when he joined the club in 2017, following in the footsteps of some dominant defenders.
The current number five made an immediate impact too, contributing to last season’s vastly improved defensive record and scoring five goals in 45 league appearances.
Pearson was named Player of the Season in the summer and has continued that form into the current campaign – he is yet to miss a league game and has scored twice in his 22 appearances.
The defender’s consistency has helped Wrexham concede just 14 goals so far, keeping 14 clean sheets in all competitions.
First (and Longest) – Brian Carey
On the topic of big, dominant defenders captaining Wrexham and winning Player of the Season honours… step forward the club’s first official number five: Brian Carey.
The 6’3” Irish defender first played for Wrexham on loan from Manchester United in 1991 and joined again the following season – playing in the FA Cup win against Arsenal.
After helping Leicester win promotion to the Premier League, Carey returned to the Racecourse in 1996 and became a key figure in the dressing room over the next nine seasons.
Player of the season in 1997-98, Carey went on to captain the club and wore the number five jersey from the first season they were introduced in 1999.
The Irishman made over 300 league appearances for Wrexham in total, before a knee injury suffered in 2005 ultimately forced him to retire aged 37.
Carey stayed at the club as a coach and replaced Denis Smith as manager in 2007 – leading the Dragons to safety after a 3-1 win against Boston United on the final day of the season.
He was replaced as manager in November 2007 but remained on the club staff, and returned as caretaker manager for one game in the National League when Brian Little was sacked.
Carey then served as assistant manager under Dean Saunders before following the manager to Doncaster in September 2011 – ending a 15-year stay at the Racecourse.
Promotion heroes and cup final kings
Brian Carey played 33 matches in the 2002-03 promotion campaign, usually partnering Dennis Lawrence at the back as Wrexham finished third in Division Three.
He missed the Football League Trophy win against Southend in 2005, however, having been sidelined for much of his final season as a player due to a knee injury.
Injury also cost Mark Creighton in 2013, when he missed almost the entire campaign – including the FA Trophy final. Incidentally, Grimsby’s number five that day, of course, was Shaun Pearson.
The only Wrexham player to wear the Dragons’ number five jersey in a major final, therefore, is Blaine Hudson – who was part of the defence against North Ferriby United in 2015.
Wrexham’s Number 5s
1999-2005: Brian Carey (153 league apps/10 goals)
2005-2006: Paul Warhurst (11 apps/1 goal)
2006-2008: Steve Evans (66 apps/5 goals)
2008-2009: Aurelien Collin (12 apps/0 goals)
2009-2010: Mansour Assoumani (37 apps/1 goal)
2010-2011: Chris Blackburn (43 apps/1 goal)
2012-2013: Mark Creighton (8 apps/1 goal)
2013-2014: Danny Livesey (16 apps/0 goals)
2014-2016: Blaine Hudson (73 apps/7 goals)
2016-2017: Martin Riley (30 apps/0 goals)
2017-: Shaun Pearson (67 apps/7 goals)*
+Stats only include matches played in the specified jersey, does not include play-offs
*Up to 01/12/2018