In the spotlight: Wrexham

Fact File

Full Name: Wrexham Association Football Club

Year Formed: 1864

Nickname: The Dragons

Stadium: Racecourse Ground

Capacity: 10,771

2021/22 Finish: Second in the National League

Review of the 2021/22 season

Pre-season favourites Wrexham endured an indifferent start to the 2021/22 National League season. The Welsh side fell to defeats against Grimsby Town, Stockport County and Maidenhead United before November as fans questioned whether promotion was possible. However, Phil Parkinson’s side were resolute and started to put together a good run of form. A few surprising defeats would slightly hamper Wrexham’s climb up the table – a 2-1 loss to Woking in late April a prime example. A 3-0 win over Stockport in the penultimate game set up a final day title showdown against County but a 3-0 defeat to Dagenham and the Hatters’ defeating Halifax ended the Dragons’ hope for automatic promotion. Any hopes of EFL football for the 2022/23 season were extinguished after a 5-4 defeat at home to Grimsby Town in the play-off semi-finals. Wrexham had a very good FA Trophy run but fell at the final hurdle after losing 1-0 to Bromley at Wembley.

Manager – Phil Parkinson

Following an 18-year playing career at clubs such as Southampton, Bury and Reading, Phil Parkinson moved immediately into management with Colchester United. He enjoyed three years with the U’s, leaving in 2006 after winning an unlikely promotion for Colchester up to the Championship. Spells at Hull City and Charlton Athletic followed before Parkinson joined Bradford City in 2011. The former midfielder transformed the Bantams into a fantastic football team; in 2012/13 he guided the Yorkshire side unbelievably to the EFL Cup final, where they lost 5-0 to Swansea City, and to promotion to League One – after a 3-0 play-off final win over Northampton Town. Upon leaving the club in 2016, the 54-year-old struggled during spells at Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland. Parkinson joined Wrexham in the summer of 2021 and got the club to the National League play-off semi-finals and the FA Trophy final, but they fell short against Bromley.

Phil Parkinson

Star Player – Paul Mullin

Paul Mullin is a name that many National League fans thought they wouldn’t hear before he joined Wrexham in the summer of 2021. The striker started at Huddersfield Town but made his name at Morecambe. He played well over 100 times for the Shrimpers, scoring 28 times in his three-year spell. After stints at Swindon Town, Tranmere Rovers and Cambridge United, Mullin joined the latter on permanent deal in July 2020. The forward finally found his ruthless scoring touch at the Abbey Stadium as he scored 34 times in just 50 appearances as the U’s won promotion to League One. A move to Wrexham followed at the start of last season and the 27-year-old won the National League Golden Boot as the Welsh side missed out on promotion to the Football League.

Paul Mullin

Overall Head-to-head Record

P124   W54   D29   L40

Chesterfield versus Wrexham is one of the most played games between any two National League clubs and it is a fixture that is always drama-filled and entertaining. The first fixture saw a fantastic performance by Chesterfield as Fraser Kerr’s goal was the difference going into the last five minutes. However, Paul Mullin’s equaliser secured a share of the spoils for Wrexham. The reverse fixture was won by the Welsh club; a second-half brace by Ollie Palmer enough to take the points away from the Technique Stadium.

Played for both – Callum McFadzean

Callum McFadzean started his footballing career climbing through the youth ranks at Sheffield United before signing his first professional contract with the club. With first-team appearances being very limited, the defender moved on loan to Chesterfield during the 2013/14 season where he played five times. After leaving the Blades in 2016, he had spells at Kilmarnock, Alfreton Town, Guiseley and Bury as he tried to climb his way up the ladder. McFadzean joined Sunderland in in October 2020 until the end of that season; the wing-back played 34 times for the Black Cats including in the EFL Trophy final where they beat Tranmere Rovers 1-0 at Wembley. He was released by the club at the end of the 2020/21 season before joining Crewe Alexandra. After a difficult spell with the Alex, the 28-year-old made the move down two divisions to join Wrexham in January 2022.

Callum McFadzean

*Photos courtesy of Gemma Thomas & Rob Stead