- Bryan Hughes ‘very grateful’ for opportunity to become Wrexham AFC manager and promises promotion target does not change.
- Hughes is actively searching for an experienced assistant manager after Graham Barrow elected not to remain with the club.
- Former Wrexham midfielder planning for long-term, including improvements to the youth set-up in order to provide more first-team players.
- WST chairman Peter Jones slams ‘appalling’ comments targeted at Wrexham AFC director Spencer Harris online.
- Confirms ‘difference of opinion’ between Football Club board and WST board resolved after meeting.
- Spencer Harris explains timeline of events leading to Graham Barrow’s resignation and Bryan Hughes’ appointment; confirms Barrow made approach in week leading to AFC Fylde match due to ‘personal issues’.
New Wrexham AFC manager Bryan Hughes concluded his first day in charge at the Racecourse by meeting supporters at a ‘Meet the Manager’ evening in the Cent, which also gave WST members the chance to hear from the board regarding recent off-the-pitch events.
Hughes, a popular figure among fans at the Racecourse after his stint as a player in the 1990s – which included his FA Cup exploits in the run to the quarter-finals – is back at Wrexham having signed a three-and-a-half-year contract as manager.
And in front of a packed Cent, Hughes reflected on a career which also included Premier League appearances with Birmingham City, Charlton Athletic and Hull City and outlined his vision for the club.
Addressing fans, “Yosser” said he had been keeping a close eye on things at Wrexham and admitted he could not believe his luck at being handed the opportunity to lead the bid for promotion.
He also addressed fans’ concerns regarding the lack of goals scored by attacking players in the current squad and called for the Wrexham AFC faithful to get right behind the team in the final 15 games of the season.
“The future looks really bright,” Hughes said. “We are all after the same goal at the end of the day.
“I want to get that feeling back here like I had as a player.”
New assistant manager
Hughes also admitted he had hoped to have former manager Graham Barrow on board as an assistant manager after the 64-year-old stepped down.
However, with Barrow electing not to stay at the Racecourse, and former assistant manager Mike Newell leaving by mutual consent, Hughes is now actively searching for a new assistant – who he says will be an experienced figure ‘to help bring the club forward’.
Outlining his philosophy and long-term plan, Hughes admitted he needed to galvanise the whole squad and ensure every player feels part of the title run-in.
In the long-term, however, he explained he wanted to be able to operate on a smaller senior squad by bringing more players through from the youth team.
After Hughes’ introduction to fans, members of both the WST Board and Football Club board also spoke to supporters.
Having condemned the ‘appalling’ abuse directed at individual directors online, WST chairman Peter Jones handed over to Spencer Harris, who explained how Barrow’s tenure had come to an end.
Graham Barrow’s contract offer and resignation
Confirming the decision was Barrow’s alone – and therefore no compensation was paid, unlike in the case of Newell – Harris said he had first learned of Barrow’s desire to step down, due to ‘personal issues’ in the lead-up to the AFC Fylde fixture.
Barrow had initially signed a two-and-a-half-year deal as assistant manager after Sam Ricketts’ departure – though the deal had been struck before Ricketts’ decision to join Shrewsbury.
Harris explained Wrexham had agreed a financial package with another managerial target - while in constant contact with existing staff - but, after that move fell through, Barrow expressed his interest in taking charge.
However, just before the trip to AFC Fylde, Barrow approached the board to express his need to step down due to personal issues.
“Graham is a man of values, and honesty, and integrity,” said Harris of the former assistant and manager.
Ultimately, after agreeing to stay on while the club sought a replacement – and with the club in constant communication with Barrow – consultation with his family led to him stepping down and deciding not to stay on as assistant manager.
January Transfer Window and finances
Other questions put to the board included the relationship between the WST Board and Football Club Board, which WST chairman Peter Jones confirmed had been fixed after a ‘difference of opinion’ regarding the handling of the managerial change.
The club also confirmed the amount of money that had been made available in the January transfer window, as Jason Oswell, Bobby Grant, Kieran Kennedy and Tranmere loanee Cole Stockton all joined last month.
Harris confirmed the compensation package paid to former assistant manager Mike Newell does not affect the transfer money available to Bryan Hughes either.
Hughes’ attention now turns to Saturday’s fixture with Dagenham & Redbridge as he looks to get his managerial reign off to the best possible start on home soil. For more information, visit our match-day guide.