By Peter Jones
It was with great sadness that we learnt of the passing of former Wrexham striker Mickey Metcalf, who spent almost six years at the Racecourse with a remarkable goalscoring average of a goal every other game, having scored 73 goals in 145 league and cup appearances for the then ‘Robins’.
Liverpool born (24 May 1939), upon leaving school Mickey joined Everton as a junior, and it was following Wrexham manager Cliff Lloyd's visit to watch the Everton Youth side that he enquired about the possibility of signing Mike, and to his surprise Everton agreed to release him.
That was in May 1956, and Mike went on to make steady progress with the Wrexham reserve side in the competitive Cheshire County League.
He was eventually given his first team opportunity in October 1957, when he made his Football League debut at home to Hartlepool United in a 3-1 win and remained in the side the following match at Bradford, which Wrexham lost 2-0.
However, he then had to wait almost two years before appearing in the senior side again. His chance came in a 3-2 home defeat by Chesterfield in October 1959, and he made his mark by scoring both Wrexham goals. Mike played in the next three matches before being replaced.
It was the 1960/61 season that saw Mike make the inside-left position his own, as he helped Wrexham to reach the Quarter-Finals of the newly-formed Football League Cup competition, scoring a hat-trick against First Division Blackburn Rovers on the way.
His goals helped the 'Robins' to gain promotion in the following season, though he missed out on a Welsh Cup winners' medal as Wrexham crashed to Bangor City in the Final. 'A Clever ball player', Mike's impressive record for Wrexham averaged a goal every other game, but he was surprisingly allowed to leave the Racecourse in December 1963 to join rivals Chester.
At Sealand Road, Mike went on to make over 250 appearances for the 'Cestrians', scoring 86 goals in League and Cup competitions, collecting another Welsh Cup runners'-up medal in 1966, whilst forming part of Chester’s ‘Famous Five’ strike force in the mid-1960s.
That also included Gary Talbot, Jimmy Humes, Hugh Ryden and another former Wrexham player Elfed Morris, who all netted at least 20 goals each in the 1964/65 season, which included playing at Old Trafford in a FA Cup Third Round match that saw Chester come close to a shock in their 2-1 defeat.
It was following the signing of Derek Draper, that Mike decided to leave Sealand Road having scored 68 goals in 221 league appearances. In December 1968 he joined Cheshire County League side Altrincham, where he remained until the end of the season.
He then signed for Bangor City, where he spent a little under two years before being appointed player/manager of his local side, Connah's Quay Nomads, in March 1971. However, he was on the move again at the end of the season, when he joined Welsh League side, Bethesda Athletic.
Mike took up another managerial appointment in 1972, as player/manager of Cheshire County League side Witton Albion. However, by October 1972 he had joined Hawarden, which was followed by playing for a number of local sides in the Chester district until well into his fifties.
After retiring from professional football Mike became a qualified chemist, later running his own highly successful laboratory supplies firm based on Deeside, where he was to live in retirement until passing away on Boxing Day aged 79.
He is survived by his widow Denise and sons Ian, Barry and David. A grandfather of seven, he died following a long illness.
Everyone at Wrexham Football Club would like to pass on their condolences to Mickey’s family.
Mickey’s impressive Wrexham record:
Season League FA Cup Welsh Cup League Cup Total
apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls apps gls
1957/58 2 0 - - - - - - 2 0
1959/60 4 2 1 0 - - - - 5 2
1960/61 40 16 1 0 3 0 5 6 49 22
1961/62 28 17 3 3 1 0 1 0 33 20
1962/63 29 13 - - 1 0 1 0 31 13
1963/64 18 10 3 2 - - 4 4 25 16
121 58 8 5 5 0 11 10 145 73