ADVENT CALENDAR | Wrexham AFC's number 9s

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Sun 09 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?

9 – King Karl

Current- Mike Fondop

Having signed in the summer after helping to keep FC Halifax Town in the National League with some vital goals at the end of last season.

He took over a fabled jersey in the club’s history, having long been associated with one of Wrexham’s greatest modern strikers (more on him in a minute), and made a blistering start to his Dragons’ career.

Cameroon-born Fondop, 24,  scored the winner against Dover on the opening day with a brilliant overhead kick and added a further four goals before the end of August.

The goals have dried up lately, but the big striker has promised fans that after the drought, ‘the rain will come’…

and celebrates...

First- Karl Connolly

The number nine jersey was already associated with King Karl Connolly long before the introduction of squad numbers in 1999.

Having moved from the left-wing to a centre-forward position when Gary Bennett left in 1995, Connolly became a modern-day Wrexham AFC legend with plenty of goals.

He played in some of the club’s most notable games, including the 1992 FA Cup win against Arsenal and the run to the quarter-finals in 1996-97 – scoring in the win against Birmingham.

Connolly wore number nine when Wrexham won the Welsh Cup for the final time in 1995 and was subsequently Wrexham’s number nine in their final European Cup Winners Cup campaign the following year too.

Unsurprisingly he was handed the number nine jersey again for his final season with the club, but had to wait until the FA Cup fourth round defeat to Cambridge for his first goal of the season.

He scored what proved to be his final league goal at the Racecourse a fortnight later, when Wrexham beat Cardiff 2-1, with his other eight league goals that season coming away.

Connolly scored a hat-trick at Chesterfield on April 22 and scored his final Wrexham goal in a 1-0 win away to promotion-chasing Wigan on the penultimate day of the season.

King Karl left on a bosman in the summer, ending a nine-year spell with the club in which he made more than 400 appearances and scored more than 100 goals.

Embed from Getty Images

Longest- Lee Trundle/Chris Armstrong/Danny Wright

The number nine jersey has been worn by 18 players in the 20 years since squad numbers were introduced with only three men holding it longer than one season.

Of those, Lee Trundle made the most appearances – appearing 80 times across the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons and scoring 19 league goals. He had previously worn 28 after signing from Rhyl during the previous campaign.

When Trundle left for Swansea, Chris Armstrong took over the jersey – 12 years after leaving the club as a 20-year-old – and also held the number nine for two seasons, scoring 13 times in 59 appearances.

The top league scorer in Wrexham’s number nine jersey, however, is Danny Wright – the last player to hold the squad number for two seasons.

Wright signed from Cambridge in 2011 and scored six league goals in his maiden campaign plus what proved to be the winner against his former team in the FA Cup first-round replay.

He was more prolific in his second campaign, scoring 15 times in the league and netting the goal that earned Wrexham’s place in the FA Trophy Final, but injury ruled him out of the play-offs and he left the club after the Wembley defeat to Newport.

Wright finally earned his promotion in 2016, however, scoring 22 goals as Cheltenham won the league – the striker playing in the Football League for the first time across the following two seasons.

While Wright scored more league goals than any other Wrexham number nine, however, Louis Moult enjoyed the club’s most prolific season in the jersey – scoring 23 times in 51 games in all competitions, including twice at Wembley, in 2014/15.

Promotion heroes and cup-final kings

Lee Trundle scored 11 times in 44 appearances in the Third Division in 2002/03, forming a brilliant partnership with Andy Morrell as the Dragons won promotion at the first time of asking.

Trundle was also man of the match in the FAW Premier Cup final that year, but left the club to join Swansea in the summer.

Chris Armstrong wore number nine in the 2004/05 season but an injury-hit campaign meant it was Juan Ugarte and Hector Sam who played up front in the LDV Vans Trophy Final – with Armstrong not even in the squad.

Danny Wright was Wrexham’s number nine for the FA Trophy Final in 2013, meanwhile, having scored in both legs of the semi-final against Gainsborough Trinity.

Wright converted the Dragons’ first penalty as Wrexham won the shoot-out.

Louis Moult enjoyed a prolific FA Trophy campaign two years later, including two goals in the final, but Danny Wright remains the only Wrexham number nine to lift a trophy at Wembley.

Wrexham’s Number 9s

1999-2000: Karl Connolly (41 league apps/9 goals)
2000-2001: Craig Faulconbridge (39 apps/9 goals)
2001-2003: Lee Trundle (80 apps/19 goals)
2003-2005: Chris Armstrong (59 apps/13 goals)
2005-2006: Jonathan Walters (38 apps/5 goals)
2006-2007: Lee McEvilly (28 apps/7 goals)
2007-2008: Neil Roberts (36 apps/8 goals)
2008-2009: Jefferson Louis (42 apps/15 goals)
2009-2010: Gareth Taylor (26 apps/8 goals)
2010-2011: Andy Mangan (42 apps/15 goals)
2011-2013: Danny Wright (73 apps/21 goals)
2013-2014: Andy Bishop (38 apps/7 goals)
2014-2015: Louis Moult (39 apps/16 goals)
2015-2016: James Gray (27 apps/7 goals)
2016-2017: Jordan White (24 apps/7 goals)
2017: Ntumba Massanka (23 apps/3 goals)
2018: Scott Quigley (17 apps/8 goals)
2018-: Mike Fondop (20 apps/5 goals)
+Stats only include matches played in the specified jersey, does not include play-offs
*Up to 01/12/2018

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