Wrexham FC Media Team member Richard Griffiths recently caught Chris Westwood before the Hartlepool game, to talk all things football and beyond…
RG: Chris, welcome back to the Racecourse – it’s been a few years since you’ve been here, but you had a couple of good seasons with us, what are your memories of that time?
CW: Well, going to Wembley is probably the biggest memory, actually winning, and getting to take a penalty, topped off with getting manof the match, I think that’s everyone’s dream!
RG: What was it like taking a penalty at Wembley? What do you remember of it?
CW: The gaffer had said “right, we’ll start with who wants to take a penalty”, and I put my hand up along with a couple of others. I think he had to twist a few arms to take the other two! My overriding feeling was that once it went to penalties, I was probably never going to get this chance again.
RG: Apart from not gaining promotion, you enjoyed a successful season as a team – it must have been a good group to have been in…
CW: Yes, definitely. It was obviously disappointing the way it ended, because we’d had the euphoria of winning the trophy, and then going back to Wembley for a second time – in the back of your mind, you know what comes if you win…
RG: Did you feel you would have an advantage over Newport, having only been there a few weeks before?
CW: No, I always thought it would be whoever was best on the day, whoever takes the chances.
RG: That must have been a hard pill to swallow?
CW: Yes, and it had been the same the season before with Fleetwood, we ran them all the way. That’s the devastating thing about this league, only one team going up automatically. I don’t think it’s a fair system really.
RG: You also had six seasons with Hartlepool..
CW: Yes, it’s nice for me to come back here and see two of my previous teams – I still have an affinity with both clubs, and of course, Keatsy is my mate, I must have played 200 plus games with him! I still look out for both results on a Saturday.
RG: What are your thoughts on this season’s Wrexham team so far?
CW: This is a tough league, and I’ve been here at the Racecourse with Alfreton, and I know that everybody always raises their game when they come here. Wrexham is always a team that everyone wants to beat. It’s the pitch, the stadium, the name, and the fact that they’ve been ‘up there’.
Dean’s obviously got a new group of players, but he’s starting to get some consistency, it’s just a matter of how long it takes for them to ‘click’, but I do believe that he’ll get it right. I know him well, and I know what makes him tick, and I know what it takes, which is probably why I’m not in management myself!
RG: So what are you up to now?
CW: I work with adults with learning difficulties. I was doing it part time when I was playing, and went full time once I’d finished. I love it, it’s very rewarding.
Follow Richard Griffiths on Twitter: @welshmapleleaf