200 CLUB | Mark Carrington and the 37 other post-war players to have made 200 league appearances for Wrexham

Macclesfield Town
Posted:Wed 07 Aug 2019

Mark Carrington’s appearance against Boreham Wood takes him into an elite group of Wrexham AFC players – one of only 38 post-war players to have played 200 league games for the club.

To put that achievement into context, Carrington – who made his debut in 2013 – is only the second player to make that many Wrexham appearances in the National League, after Neil Ashton.

Andy Morrell – the manager who signed Carrington – is the only other member of the 200-club to have appeared in the fifth tier, achieving the milestone across two spells at the Racecourse.

It is, therefore, a very elite gang of Wrexham AFC icons Carrington has joined. Here are the men Carra has replicated in achieving the very special mark…

Arfon Griffiths (591 league appearances)

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Wrexham-born inside forward Arfon Griffiths first joined the club in 1957, as a 15-year-old, on the recommendation of a former Robin, Frank Blew.

Griffiths’ first league game was in November 1959, a 2-1 home win against Reading, and over the next 15 months he was to play 41 league games, scoring eight goals.

His form prompted Arsenal to pay £15,500 for his services in February 1961 but he was back at the Racecourse the following year and the “Prince of Wales” stayed for the next 19 years.

The midfield general of John Neal’s promotion-winning team, Griffiths’ impact was not just limited to league games either: playing in Wrexham’s first European campaigns and helping the club to the 1974 FA Cup quarter-finals and 1976 European Cup Winners’ Cup last-eight.

Griffiths also played 17 times for Wales, scoring six goals – including the goal against Austria at the Racecourse in 1975 that booked Wales’ 1976 European Championship play-off place.

For Wrexham, he played a further 550 league games, including stints as player-assistant manager and player-manager.

He led the team to the second tier as manager and ended his playing career in 1979, before quitting as manager two years later.

1959-1961: 41 league apps, 8 goals
1962-1979: 550 league apps (6 as sub), 112 goals
TOTAL: 591 league apps (6 as sub), 120 goals

Gareth Davies (490)

Wrexham's Gareth Davies

Capped three times by Wales, Bangor-born centre-back Gareth Davies spent 16 years with Wrexham from 1967 to 1983.

A stalwart of Arfon Griffiths’ promotion-winning team, Davies captained the team to their Division Three success – and also lifted the Welsh Cup and Debenhams Cup that year.

He had already long-established himself as a Wrexham icon by then, having played a key part in Alvan Williams’ and John Neal’s teams.

Alongside playing 490 league games for Wrexham, of which he started 482, Davies also boasts Wrexham’s European appearance record (14) too.

1967-1983: 490 league apps (8 as sub), 9 goals

Ally McGowan (408)

Airdrie-born Ally McGowan arrived in North Wales in unassuming circumstances in 1953, after his release from St Johnstone, but went on to play more post-war games for the club than any other non-Welshman.

A defender, who could play on either side of the backline, the Scot joined Wrexham on a free transfer but soon slotted into Peter Jackson’s plans.

McGowan combined the early part of his Wrexham career with a job in the Bersham mines, until the club eventually went completely full-time.

A mark of his importance was the fact he was never dropped either, with only the odd injury restricting his appearances over the next ten years.

His career was brought to a premature end in 1963, however, when he suffered a freak ankle injury – landing awkwardly after jumping for the ball – from which he never recovered.

McGowan remained on the groundstaff after his playing days, however, with his roles including the maintenance of the iconic Racecourse floodlights.

1953-1963: 408 league appearances, 2 goals

Mickey Evans (383)

Welsh-born defender Mickey Evans started his career at Wolves but failed to break into the first team and joined Wrexham in 1966.

He had no such issues at the Racecourse, going on to play a prominent role in the next 13 seasons at the club – including the club’s finest years in the late 1970s.

The teenage full-back blossomed into an unsung hero of the Wrexham teams under John Neal and Arfon Griffiths, before a back injury curtailed his playing days.

After his playing career, he went on to become a stalwart at Caersws, managing them for 24 years from 1983 to 2007 before returning again in 2009.

1966-1979: 383 league appearances (15 as sub), 19 goals

Joey Jones (376)

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First spotted playing for Llandudno Swifts as a 15-year-old, across three stints with the club – either side of European Cup success with Liverpool – Joey Jones is one of the most revered players ever to play at the Racecourse.

The tough-tackling defender grew up on a council estate but turned out to be one of the country’s most renowned footballers, establishing himself as a full-back in his first stint with the club.

Jones joined boyhood club Liverpool in 1975 for £110,000 and went on to win the 1977 European Cup as the team’s left-back.

By now an established Welsh international, he returned to the Racecourse in 1978 for a club-record £210,000 and stayed with Wrexham in the Second Division until 1982.

A reunion with John Neal at Chelsea followed, helping them win promotion to the top flight, and he also played for Huddersfield – where he won the club’s player of the year award.

He finally rejoined Wrexham in 1987 and played a further 132 league games for the club under Dixie McNeil and Brian Flynn, before joining the latter’s coaching staff upon retirement.

Still a fixture at the Racecourse, “Mr Wrexham AFC” only stepped down from his full-time coaching role in 2017 and still helps with the youth development programme.

1973-1975: 98 league appearances, 2 goals
1978-1982: 146 league appearances (1 as sub), 6 goals
1987-1992: 132 league appearances (1 as sub), 11 goals
TOTAL: 376 league appearances (2 as sub), 19 goals

Mel Sutton (360)

Another stalwart of Wrexham’s iconic late-1970s team, Birmingham-born midfielder Mel Sutton moved the Racecourse from Cardiff City for a then club-record £15,000 in 1972.

He immediately started to repay the princely transfer fee, however, as he scored on his debut against Southend United and never looked back.

More known for his solidity and work rate in the middle of the park than for his goalscoring feats, Sutton was a key part of the team reached the quarter-finals of the League Cup, FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup during his time with the club.

Having also helped them to promotion to the second tier, Sutton took over from Arfon Griffiths as manager in 1981 but could not save the financially-struggling Robins from relegation.

Dismissed as manager as a result, Sutton’s playing career at the Racecourse also therefore ended. He was to reunite with Griffiths at Crewe but retired shortly afterwards.

1972-1982: 360 league appearances (5 as sub), 21 goals

Karl Connolly (358)

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First as a left-winger and then as the main striker, Karl Connolly signed from the Sunday League and went on to become one of the most popular players of Wrexham’s 1990s team.

A testament to Wrexham’s scouting at the time, Connolly signed a three-month contract at the start of the 1991-92 season that turned into a nine-year stay with the club.

As a left-winger, he was fleet of foot and good in the air and played in the club’s biggest games in the early part of the decade.

When Gary Bennett left, Connolly then moved inside and banged in the goals up front – including his iconic turn-and-volley in the FA Cup at Chester.

In the league, he scored 18 goals in the 1995-96 season and was top scorer across the next three seasons too.

He eventually left the club in May 2000 after nine years at the Racecourse, 358 league appearances and 88 league goals.

1991-2000: 358 league appearances (21 as sub), 88 goals

Alan Fox (350)

Alan Fox was just 17 years old when he made his Wrexham debut in a mid-week match at Crewe Alexandra in 1953.

The Holywell-born defender eventually established himself as a centre-half and became a mainstay of Wrexham’s promotion-winning team in 1963.

Of his 350 appearances for the club, a remarkable 198 of them occurred consecutively from 1958 to 1963 as he did not miss a match across those five years.

Despite being a Fourth Division defender at the time, he was named in Wales’ preliminary squad for their lone World Cup campaign in 1958 and earned under-23 caps.

He eventually left the club in 1964, going on to play for Hartlepool, Bradford and Dundalk before retiring.

1953-1963: 350 league appearances, 3 goals

Gareth Owen (350)

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A fan’s favourite over more than a decade with the club, a mark of Gareth Owen’s worth to Wrexham supporters was clear when his testimonial, against Manchester United, attracted 13,000 fans.

Making his debut in 1989, Owen was a regular in midfield in the 1990s as he played in all of Wrexham’s FA Cup runs of the era.

He also linked up with Mike Lake in the middle of the Robins’ midfield to help the club to promotion in 1993.

In Division Two, meanwhile, Owen cemented his place as a cult hero when he played 50 minutes in goal at Burnley after an injury to stopper Mark Cartwright.

Owen went on to keep a clean sheet and Wrexham snatched a winner at the other end to earn a 2-1 away win.

Long dubbed for full Welsh honours, Owen came close when he was an unused member of the national squad in 1998 having already earned Under-21 and ‘B’ caps.

Ultimately, however, a full cap was to desert him and he left Wrexham in 2001 to join Doncaster Rovers, before a successful stint playing and managing in the Welsh Premier League.

1989-2001: 350 league appearances (52 as sub), 36 goals

Phil Hardy (349)

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English-born former Irish under-21 left-back Phil Hardy was a mainstay of Brian Flynn’s Wrexham team in the 1990s.

He signed professionally in 1990 after coming through the club’s academy and was an ever-present in the 1991-92 season – including the FA Cup win against Arsenal.

His performances earned him a place in the fourth division’s PFA Team of the year and he then helped Wrexham to promotion the following season.

The remainder of the diminutive full-back’s Wrexham career was spent in the third tier and, after battling with the likes of Deryn Brace for a starting spot, he firmly established himself again from 1997 onwards.

He had to wait until April 2000 for his first – and only – Wrexham goal, however, as he converted a penalty in a 1-0 win at home to Colchester.

Hardy stayed with the club for one more season before leaving to join Port Vale but played just eight more league games and retired in 2002, aged 29, after failing to find another club.

1990-2001: 349 league appearances (3 as sub), 1 goal

Eddie May (334)

Towering defender Eddie May followed manager Alvan Williams to the Racecourse from Southend and immediately began to pay back his £5,000 transfer fee.

After helping the team to promotion, he then captained John Neal’s side through their Welsh Cup victories and FA Cup and European Cup Winners’ Cup runs.

A commanding presence in both boxes, May’s aerial ability helped him scored 35 times in his eight-year career with the Robins – during which he missed just 34 league games in total.

May, who spent the summer of 1975 in America with Chicago Sting, eventually left for Swansea in 1976, before retiring two years later.

His successful management career then included promotion with Cardiff City and a globe-trotting range of jobs, including domestic management in Zimbabwe and coaching in Finland.

May died at home in Barry in 2012, aged just 68.

1968-1976: 334 league appearances (4 as sub), 35 goals

Graham Whittle (306)

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Liverpool-born striker Graham Whittle gained the nickname “Thunderboots” during his 11-year Wrexham career, thanks to his thunderous shooting ability.

A Sun “Soccercard” of the era calls it one of the hardest shots in the game, and Whittle won Wrexham’s Player of the Season after his 28 goals in the 1976/77 season.

The following season, this time alongside Dixie McNeil – having partnered Billy Ashcroft the season before – he scored another 18 to help fire the Robins to the title and into the second tier.

Whittle stayed with the club in their early seasons in Division Two, but a persistent knee injury forced an early end to his career after 91 goals in 306 Wrexham league appearances.

1971-1981: 306 league appearances (18 as sub), 91 goals

Brian Carey (304)

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Reflecting on his career with Irish sports website The 42, former Irish international centre-back described himself as “rough, rugged and no-nonsense”.

Those attributes led to Brian Flynn signing “Big Bri” three times, twice on loan from Manchester United in 1990-91 and 1991-92, where his appearances included the FA Cup win against Arsenal, then permanently from Leicester in 1996.

Carey had helped the Foxes to Premier League promotion two years earlier but would spend the rest of his career at the Racecourse, at the heart of the Wrexham defence.

Often partnering Tony Humes, the commanding centre-back’s leadership on and off the pitch led to him being named captain and later managing the team – helping Wrexham stay up on the final day in 2007.

Capped one by Ireland under-21s and three times by the senior team, Carey scored 16 league goals for Wrexham.

After his spell as manager, Carey rejoined the coaching staff under former Leicester boss Brian Little and later Dean Saunders, before ending his long Wrexham association in 2011.

1991: 3 league appearances
1991-1992: 13 league appearances, 1 goal
1996-2004: 282 league appearances (6 as sub), 15 goals
TOTAL: 304 league appearances (6 as sub), 16 goals

Darren Ferguson (297)

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While he has always suffered from comparisons to his famous father, Sir Alex – certainly since following him into management – to Wrexham fans at least, Darren Ferguson is an icon in his own right.

Having started his career at Manchester United before moving to Wolves, Ferguson joined Wrexham in 1999 after a brief stint in Holland with Sparta Rotterdam.

The Scottish midfield general made a near-immediate impact at Wrexham, scoring one and assisting the other in the 2-1 FA Cup win against Premier League Middlesbrough in 1999.

In 2003, he was captain as Wrexham won promotion back to Division Two and then lifted the LDV Vans Trophy in 2005 after scoring in the final win against Southend.

Always destined to follow his father into management, Ferguson was linked to the Wrexham job in 2001 aged just 29 and again in 2007.

When Brian Carey was appointed instead of him, however, Ferguson left to take charge at Peterborough just weeks later – ending his Wrexham career with 297 league appearances and 24 goals.

1999-2007: 297 league appearances (5 as sub), 24 goals

Kevin Russell (282)

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Kevin Russell enjoyed two stints with Wrexham, enjoying a good measure of success on both occasions.

“Rooster” first signed in 1987 from Portsmouth, and became a prolific centre-forward for Dixie McNeil’s side in the fourth tier.

Russell scored 43 goals in 84 league appearances across his first two seasons at the Racecourse, firing Wrexham to the play-off final in 1989.

He won Player of the Season in both years and earned a £175,000 transfer to Leicester, two divisions higher, as a result of his performances.

Though he helped Leicester stay up and then fired them to the play-offs, injuries made for a frustrating time in the Midlands and he spent several spells out on loan before becoming somewhat of a journeyman.

His return to Wrexham ended that, however – Rooster scored the last-minute winner at West Ham in the 1996-97 FA Cup and played a further 198 league games until retiring in 2002.

He joined Denis Smith’s coaching staff and stayed with Wrexham until 2007, when Smith was sacked, later re-uniting with Darren Ferguson at Peterborough and Preston.

1987-1989: 84 league appearances, 43 goals
1995-2002: 198 league appearances (26 as sub), 17 goals
TOTAL: 282 league appearances (26 as sub), 60 goals

Brian Tinnion (279)

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Signed from Workington in 1968, Brian Tinnion proved to be a useful forward for the Robins in the early part of the 1970s.

Not to be confused with the Bristol City icon of the same name, who is 20 years younger, Wrexham’s Brian Tinnion spent eight seasons at the Racecourse – broken only by a brief stint on loan at Chester.

A handy goalscorer, Tinnion netted 54 times for the Robins in 279 league appearances before a surprise ending to his Wrexham career in 1976.

Former Workington boss Ken Furphy had landed a job with New York Cosmos and offered Wrexham £22,000 for Tinnion’s services.

Though unsure about moving Stateside, Tinnion – interviewed years later for David Tossell’s book on the NASL – says John Neal told him he wished him to go, in order to use the funds to sign other players.

Tinnion left to play alongside Pele, while Neal signed Dixie McNeil, Dai Davies and Bobby Shinton to add to the core of what became his promotion-winning team.

Tinnion was a key figure in the early years of professional soccer in America, including playing and managing in Detroit, where he still lives.

1968-1976: 279 league appearances (14 as sub), 54 goals

Brian Lloyd (266)

North Walian goalkeeper Brian Lloyd started his professional career with Stockport County in 1967 before moving to Southend in 1971.

He returned home in 1971, however, to play for John Neal’s Wrexham to become a regular fixture between the sticks.

After 35 games in his first season, Lloyd then did not miss a league game between 1972 and 1977.

A key figure as Wrexham pushed hard for promotion, he also won three Welsh caps – including keeping a clean sheet against Austria on his debut in 1975, at the Racecourse, as Arfon Griffiths scored Wales’ goal in a 1-0 win.

Lloyd was voted Wrexham’s inaugural Player of the Season in 1976 but left the club to join Chester the following year, after the Robins’ had missed out on promotion by just one point.

Lloyd also won Player of the Season at Chester, before re-joining Stockport – where he scored a goal for the Hatters (the consolation in a 5-1 defeat Bradford). He then ended his career back in North Wales, playing in the Welsh leagues.

1971-1977: 266 league appearances

Mickey Thomas (264)

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Mickey Thomas’ professional career spanned 21 years in all, bookended by his two spells at the Racecourse.

First picked up alongside Joey Jones as teenagers, Thomas made his Wrexham debut aged 17 during the 1971-72 season.

A key part of John Neal’s Wrexham team throughout the 1970s, Thomas only missed four league games across the 1976-77 and 1977-78 seasons.

His seven league goals in the latter campaign helped fire the Robins to the title, but he left the Racecourse the following season – signing for Manchester United for £300,000.

Having already netted the first of his five international goals, in a 7-0 win against Malta, Thomas was later an FA Cup finalist with United and a Second Division champion with John Neal’s Chelsea.

He played for Everton, Brighton and Stoke in between and later moved to West Brom, Derby, Wichita Wings in the USA, Shrewsbury, Leeds and Stoke again. Thomas won 51 Welsh caps in all.

He returned to the Racecourse from the latter in 1991, aged 37, and scored his most memorable Wrexham goal – the equalising free-kick in the 2-1 FA Cup giantkilling against Arsenal.

Thomas’ professional career ended the following season, however, after adding 34 league appearances to his Wrexham tally, when he was jailed for his part in a counterfeit currency scam.

He remains a hugely popular figure with several of his former clubs, however – including Wrexham, where he has been a regular guest back at the Racecourse.

1971-1979: 230 league appearances (13 as sub), 33 goals
1991-1993: 34 league appearances, 2 goals
TOTAL: 264 league appearances (13 as sub), 35 goals

Albert Kinsey (253)

Liverpool-born forward Albert Kinsey started his career at Manchester United but signed for Wrexham in 1965 after failing to make a senior league appearance.

He made up for lost time during his time at the Racecourse, however, scoring some important goals across his seven years with the club.

Kinsey was top scorer in the entire English Football League in the 1969-70 season, scoring 27 of Wrexham’s league-high 84 goals on their way to promotion from the Fourth Division.

That season included 12 goals in the final 16 games of the season, and he scored another 17 in 32 matches the following year.

Away from the league, a Welsh Cup-winning goal against Cardiff arrived the following year, before Kinsey scored Wrexham’s first ever European goal against FC Zurich.

He eventually left for Crewe in 1972, having scored 84 league goals in 253 appearances for the Robins.

1966-1973: 253 league appearances (8 as sub), 84 goals

Waynne Phillips (245)

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Bangor-born, Welsh speaker Waynne Phillips joined Wrexham as an apprentice in 1988 and worked his way through the ranks playing in defence and midfield.

He became a regular in the middle of the park, playing alongside the likes of Brian Flynn, Bryan Hughes and Gareth Owen, and winning the Player of the Season award in 1996.

Perhaps unfortunate not to have earned a full Wales cap, having been called into Bobby Gould’s senior squad, he did twice play for the Welsh B team.

Phillips left for Stockport in 1998 but was back at the Racecourse a year later and stayed with Wrexham until 2003.

His final season was ruined by a broken leg suffered on the opening day, however, leaving him just short of 250 league appearances for Wrexham as a result.

1989-1997: 207 league appearances (23 as sub), 16 goals
1999-2003: 38 league appearances (3 as sub), 2 goals
TOTAL: 245 league appearances (26 as sub), 18 goals

Neil Salathiel (244)

Wrexham-born full-back Neil Salathiel was almost the one who got away for the Robins after instead learning his trade in the Sheffield Wednesday youth team.

It was Wrexham who gave him his professional break – signing him in 1980 – but he was off again a year later to join Crewe.

In 1983, after also taking in a short-lived spell in South Africa with Arcadia Shepherds, Salathiel returned home, however, and stayed until 1990.

Capable of playing either side of the back four, but predominantly a right-back, Salathiel was a regular in the Fourth Division side of the era and also played in Europe.

After his release in 1990, Salathiel stayed locally playing non-league football and then moving into the League of Wales before retiring aged 38.

1980-1981: 4 league appearances, 0 goals
1983-1990: 240 league appearances (1 as sub), 3 goals
TOTAL: 244 league appearances (1 as sub), 3 goals

Mark McGregor (244)

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Born across the border, Mark McGregor came through the Wrexham ranks and signed professionally ahead of the 1995-96 season.

Predominantly a right-back, 18-year-old McGregor made 33 appearances in his debut season and kicked on from there to become a regular for the rest of the Brian Flynn era.

Between 1997 and 2001, McGregor missed just 11 league games in total and scored a handful of goals too – including a long-range screamer on the final day of the 1999-00 season against Gillingham.

The following year, McGregor was voted Player of the Season, but opted against a new deal at the Racecourse to sign for Burnley on a free transfer.

His career also took in Blackpool, Port Vale and Altrincham before five-and-a-half years as Connah’s Quay Nomads’ player-manager.

1995-2001: 244 league appearances (7 as sub), 11 goals

Grenville Jones (240)

An English right-winger, or outside-right at the time, Nuneaton-born Grenville Jones started his career at West Brom but signed for Wrexham in 1955 after just two senior appearances.

A relatively late starter, he was 23 when he signed on at the Racecourse but he was a regular on the wing throughout the late 1950s.

Jones’ ability on the wing allowed Wrexham to play a fluid passing style, supplying the likes of Ron Hewitt up front.

A former England youth international, he also chipped in with 36 goals of his own across his six years with the club before emigrating to Australia.

1955-1961: 240 league appearances, 36 goals

Billy Tunnicliffe (236)

Hugely revered by his contemporaries, post-war winger Billy Tunnicliffe enjoyed a phenomenal goalscoring record despite playing out wide.

The outside left’s shooting power is remembered fondly by fans of the time and it produced some spectacular goals in the early post-war years.

Tunnicliffe’s career started at Port Vale in 1936 before he moved to Bournemouth, only for the war to put league football on hold.

After one season back with Bournemouth after the war, Tunnicliffe moved back north to Wrexham in 1947 and promptly scored 21 league goals in 42 appearances that season.

He reached double figures in all competitions in each of his five completed seasons at the club and was on nine from 25 when he left for Bradford in 1953.

Tunnicliffe’s exit has been attributed as the beginning of the end of Wrexham’s promotion push that season, with the wiry winger difficult to replace as they missed out by three points.

Nevertheless, he finished his Wrexham career with 74 league goals in 236 appearances – a tally only a handful have bettered since.

1947-1952: 236 league appearances, 74 goals

Ron Hewitt (231)

Welsh World Cup star Ron Hewitt had two spells at Wrexham, either side of his appearances in Sweden in 1958.

Originally from Flint, Hewitt started his career at Wolves and later moved to Darlington before first joining Wrexham in 1951.

He became a prolific striker for the Dragons, forming a formidable attacking combination with Grenville Jones on his right, Billy Tunnicliffe on the left and Tommy Bannan alongside him.

In Hewitt’s first season with Wrexham he scored 16 times and then added another 23 the following year.

He reached double figures in five of his six Wrexham seasons, continuing to thrive even after Tunnicliffe and Bannan moved on, and was top scorer in three of those.

He became the first (and only) Wrexham player to play for the Third Division North representative side against the south and scored 22 times in 31 appearances in his final season.

It convinced Cardiff to pay £7,000 to sign him and, after continuing his goalscoring record down south, he earned his five Wales caps – scoring once against Northern Ireland and playing at the World Cup.

Hewitt returned to Wrexham for one season in 1959, scoring 11 goals in 25 games, but – with the club relegated to Division Four – he moved to Coventry.

He became somewhat of a footballing nomad thereafter, including two stints playing and then managing in Australia, before retiring from football in his 40s.

1951-1957: 204 league appearances, 83 goals
1959-1960: 27 league appearances, 11 goals
TOTAL: 231 league appearances, 94 goals

Fred Davis (230)

Wing-half Fred Davis’ journey to Wrexham was an unusual one. Born in the West Midlands, he moved south from his local team to sign professional with Reading in 1952.

After three seasons with the Royals, he then made the trip to North Wales and did not look back – clocking up 230 league appearances in midfield in a seven-year stay.

Despite having only just missed out on promotion a couple of seasons earlier, league success eluded the Robins during the late 1950s, however.

Nevertheless, Davis was part of three Welsh Cup wins and attracted rave reviews from the local press for some of his earlier appearances in the Wrexham midfield.

He eventually left in 1961, after the club’s first season following relegation to the new Division Four.

1955-1961: 230 league appearances, 12 goals

Steve Buxton (230)

Birmingham-born forward Steve Buxton enjoyed two spells with Wrexham, having come through the club’s youth system to make his debut aged 17 in 1977.

He was still a teenager when he scored one of his most famous Wrexham goals – stepping off the bench to score the winner at home to 1.FC Magdeburg in the European Cup Winners Cup in 1979.

The Robins went on to lose 9-4 on aggregate and Buxton continued to be in and out of the Wrexham team, playing 109 league games and scoring 21 goals in his first seven-year spell.

He left to join Stockport and Altrincham but was soon back at the Racecourse and back in European goalscoring action – netting in the 2-2 home draw with Real Zaragoza in an away-goals defeat.

Though never prolific, Buxton continued to be a useful forward in his second spell at the club – scoring 25 times in 121 more league appearances.

A play-off finalist in 1989, Buxton stepped off the bench to set up Wrexham’s goal at Leyton Orient as the Robins narrowly missed out on promotion.

He left again in 1990, this time to join Telford, before moving into Welsh football later in his career and playing into his 40s.

1977-1984: 109 league appearances (16 as sub), 21 goals
1985-1990: 121 league appearances (35 as sub), 25 goals
TOTAL: 230 league appearances (51 as sub), 46 goals

Peter Jones (226)

Salford-born full-back Peter Jones was a product of Manchester United’s youth team, making his only appearances in a 3-0 defeat to Portsmouth at Old Trafford in October 1957.

While several youth team players were thrust into first-team action in the aftermath of the Munich air disaster later that season, Jones was not one of them and left the club.

Jones signed for Wrexham and became an established member of the team despite the club bouncing between the third and fourth tier.

He was part of the team relegated in 1960 but helped Wrexham to promotion two years later – only to go down again in 1964.

Jones stayed for two more years before leaving to join Stockport County in 1966 and later ending his career at Altrincham.

1959-1966: 226 league appearances (1 as sub), 7 goals

Tommy Bannan (226)

Scottish striker Tommy Bannan enjoyed a prolific start to his career in the Scottish Football League with Aidrieonians and Stenhousemuir, prompting Wrexham to sign him in 1951.

He immediately endeared himself to the Racecourse faithful, scoring on his debut against Chester and becoming a regular up front.

Bannan was top scorer in each of the following three seasons, scoring 22 goals in 1952-53, 18 the following year and 19 in 1954-55.

His goalscoring prowess attracted the attention of Second Division Lincoln and he spent two years with the Imps before returning to Wrexham.

In his first season back, he scored in every round of the Welsh Cup campaign, including the winner in the replayed final against Chester.

Bannan then ended his Wrexham career by finishing as top scorer again in 1958-59, scoring 17 times. Only five post-war players have scored more than Bannan’s 83 league goals.

Barrow signed him for £1,500, convincing him to drop down a division, and he ended his career in Cumbria.

1951-1955: 158 league appearances, 60 goals
1957-1959: 68 league appearances, 23 goals
TOTAL: 226 league appearances, 83 goals

Andy Morrell (222)

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A slice of fortune gave Andy Morrell his big footballing break – meeting Sky Sports presenter (and Joey Jones’ biographer) Rob McCaffrey in a gym in Leeds, who got him a trial at Wrexham.

Previously a prolific striker for Newcastle Blue Star in the Northern League, having been a student in the North East, Morrell earned a full-time deal and the rest is history.

Initially a fringe player, Morrell caught the eye when he scored seven times in an 8-0 defeat of Merthyr Tydfil in the 1999-00 FAW Premier Cup quarter-fnals.

His big break came after Wrexham’s relegation in 2002, however – “Mozza” partnering Lee Trundle the following season and scoring 34 times to fire the club back to Division Two.

He was top scorer in the entire Football League that season and signed for Coventry City on a free transfer in the summer, before moving on to Blackpool and then Bury.

After nearly 100 goals in the Football League, Morrell then dropped down to the Conference to rejoin Wrexham in 2010.

He scored the only goal in the first game of the season and ten times in all that season as Wrexham reached the play-offs, before taking over as caretaker manager when Dean Saunders left.

Morrell took the player-manager job permanently, scoring ten more league as Wrexham finished second with 98 points but again fell short in the play-offs.

The following season, he led Wrexham to Wembley twice – playing in both the FA Trophy Final as the Dragons won on penalties and then in the play-off final defeat to Newport.

Morrell played just four times in his final season, however – scoring his final Wrexham goal against Forest Green Rovers before leaving as manager in the February.

1998-2003: 109 league appearances (33 as sub), 40 goals
2010-2014: 113 league appearances (29 as sub), 25 goals
TOTAL: 222 league appearances (62 as sub), 65 goals

Eddie Tunney (222)

Not all of Eddie Tunney’s 222 Wrexham league appearances came after the war, with his career spanning both sides of the conflict.

After signing from Everton in 1937, where he had played exclusively in the reserves, Tunney moved away from North Wales during the war having been stationed as a sergeant instructor.

He returned after the war though, and remained with the club until 1952 where he took his tally to 222 league appearances at full-back, without scoring a single goal.

Awarded a testimonial in 1949, in which Wrexham beat his former team 4-1, Tunney left to join Winsford United.

At the time of his death in 2011, aged 95, he was the oldest surviving former Wrexham player.

1937-1952*: 222 league appearances, 0 goals

Billy Ashcroft (219)

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Powerful striker Billy Ashcroft signed at Wrexham straight out of school in 1968 and was handed his first professional after turning 18 in 1970.

It started a seven-year spell as a firm fans’ favourite at the Racecourse, scoring plenty of goals as John Neal’s side established themselves in Division Three.

He scored 14 league goals in the 1972-73 season and matches that achievement in 1975-76, as well as playing (and scoring three times) in the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Ashcroft scored 72 league goals in all for Wrexham and was at his most prolific in his final year – netting 20 times, including four in a 6-0 win at Chesterfield, as the Robins finished fifth.

He was named alongside Arfon Griffiths in the PFA Team of the Season for his goalscoring exploits.

When manager Neal went to Middlesbrough, however, he paid Wrexham £120,000 to take Ashcroft with him, before the striker re-trained as a dominating central defender.

A successful stint in the Netherlands with FC Twente followed, before he closed out his career at Tranmere Rovers.

1970-1977: 219 league appearances (23 as sub), 72 goals

Albert Parker (216)

Tough-tackling full-back Albert Parker joined Wrexham in 1951 after making more than 100 appearances for Crewe Alexandra.

He became a regular at the back during the 1950s, operating alongside Ally McGowan, with whom he enjoyed a good relationship on and off the pitch.

Despite spending eight years at the club Parker scored just one goal, though it was a memorable one – his 60-yard punt bouncing awkwardly off the Racecourse turf and over the Workington goalkeeper.

Parker left Wrexham in 1959 to sign for Holywell Town but, like McGowan, would later return to the Racecourse to serve on the groundstaff.

1951-1959: 216 league appearances, 1 goal

Andy Marriott (213)

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A former Arsenal trainee, Andy Marriott had already played in a League Cup final for Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest by the time Wrexham paid £200,000 for his services in 1993.

The popular goalkeeper quickly established himself as Wrexham’s number one and he held the jersey for the next five seasons. He was ever-present in 1994/95 and 1995/96.

With the club looking to establish themselves back in the third tier after promotion the year before, Marriott was a mainstay of the team that began to challenge for the play-offs.

During the run to the FA Cup quarter-finals in 1996-97, Marriott was in outstanding form – though it was his breakdown in communication with Deryn Brace that led to Chesterfield’s winning goal in the last eight.

Nevertheless, Marriott was named Player of the Season and made his Wales debut during the campaign – replacing Danny Coyne in a friendly defeat in Switzerland.

Though born in England (and capped at Under-21 level by England), he qualified for Wales through his Bangor-born grandmother and made five appearances in all.

International recognition led to him chasing a move up the leagues, however, and he signed for Sunderland for £200,000 in 1998 after a loan spell on Wearside.

The move did not work out – he played just two league games for Sunderland and never again enjoyed the consistency he had at the Racecourse.

His career included moves to Barnsley, Birmingham – where he was infamously ‘pickpocketed’ by Robbie Keane on his only appearance – Beira-Mar and Bury.

He played more regularly later in his career, for Torquay, Boston United (including their 3-1 defeat at the Racecourse, as Wrexham stayed up on the final day in 2007) and Exeter City.

Marriott did not play for Wales again after 1998, however, and left football in 2011 to join the McLaren-Mercedes Formula One backroom team.

1993-1998: 213 league appearances

Les Speed (211)

Versatile Caergwrle-born defender Les Speed was stationed down south (and overseas) during the Second World War but returned to North Wales afterwards to sign for Wrexham.

Primarily a full-back, Speed played across the defence and also in midfield as a wing-half.

He would go on to make 211 league appearances but his only Wrexham goal came in the cup.

After clocking ten years at the Racecourse, he moved to Stafford Rangers as player-manager and had the same role at Holywell Town before joining the Wrexham backroom team.

1945-1955: 211 league appearances, 0 goals

Neil Ashton (204)

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Left-back Neil Ashton became the first Wrexham player to make 200 league appearances in the Conference/National League.

Previously with Tranmere, Shrewsbury and Chester, he was left without a club after the latter’s demise and impressed on trial at Wrexham.

He helped Wrexham to second place with 98 points in his first season, winning the Player of the Season award and scoring his first goal from the spot with the last kick of the league campaign.

Ashy took over penalty-taking duties full-time the following season, scoring eight times in all competitions that season – including both legs of the play-off semi-final against Kidderminster.

He missed the FA Trophy win that season due to injury, despite playing every round before the final, but then played at Wembley in the 2013 play-off final defeat to Newport.

Ashton stayed with the club for two more seasons, playing at Wembley again in the 2015 FA Trophy final defeat.

He was released alongside club captain Dean Keates at the end of the season, however, as new manager Gary Mills shook up the squad.

Ashton had short stints with Barrow and Southport and now plays in the Welsh Premier League with Cefn Druids.

2010-2015: 204 league appearances (1 as sub), 9 goals

Steve Watkin (200)

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An unassuming product of the Wrexham youth system, local lad Steve Watkin’s fairytale moment came when he scored the most famous goal in the club’s history – the winner in the 1992 FA Cup giantkilling of Arsenal.

And yet, more than a quarter of a century on, it is Mickey Thomas’ free-kick in that game which dominates highlights reels more than Watkin’s winner.

That suits down-to-earth Watkin, however, who was the foil to some of Wrexham’s modern greats – counting Gary Bennett and Karl Connolly among his former strike partners.

A useful striker in his own right, however, Watkin – who was handed his debut as an 18-year-old by Brian Flynn – scored 55 league goals of his own.

He moved to Swansea for £108,000 early in the 1997-98 season and went on to make more than 200 league appearances in South Wales too, before finishing in the Welsh Premier League.

1989-1997: 167 league appearances (33 as sub), 55 goals

Mark Carrington (200)

Mark Carrington’s special place in Wrexham’s history was assured when he played Wrexham’s first two matches of the 2019/20 season.

Carrington started his career with Crewe, having coming through their academy and played in the 2004 FA Youth Cup semi-finals.

He also played for MK Dons, Hamilton Academical and Bury but was released from the latter in 2013 after they were relegated amidst financial problems.

The Shakers’ loss proved to be Wrexham’s gain, with Carra signing on non-contract terms the following season and earning a permanent deal.

Named as Player of the Season for his exploits that year, Carrington has survived several managerial changes to remain an integral part of the squad.

He scored in the FA Cup third-round defeat to Stoke City and has also netted five league goals in a career spent predominantly at full-back – despite initially being a central midfielder.

Having passed 200 matches in all competitions in the 2018-19 season, the Dragons’ vice-captain signed a new contract in the summer to ensure he will pass a double-century of league games too.

2013-: 200 league appearances (23 as sub), 5 goals

Honorary mentions

Tony Humes (199)

Alan Hill (199)

Shaun Cunnington (199)

Dennis Lawrence (198)

Though listed in some places as having passed the 200-mark, former captain Tony Humes is one of three post-war players to have made 199 league appearances for Wrexham.

Humes would surely have gone well beyond the milestone had he not suffered a career-ending knee injury.

Versatile defender Alan Hill also played 199 matches, compiling his between 1973 and 1983, while Shaun Cunnington amassed 199 in the late 1980s.

Trindad & Tobago defender Dennis Lawrence made 198 appearances, meanwhile, becoming a mainstay of Denis Smith’s team in the early 2000s.

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