It was at the very beginning of my FM journey with Wrexham that I wrote this article about creating a football utopia at a club.
I wrote about giving players the time to develop no matter how good or bad they were because I believe patience is a key ingredient in building a successful club. You can’t just discard someone because they have one bad game. And you can’t judge a player with a simple glance at their profile.
I imposed a transfer ban on myself and stuck to it during my first season with Wrexham. We sat pretty at the top of the Vanarama Conference for most of the year but fell away spectacularly as things drew to a close.
We performed incredibly well despite only having about 15 players to choose from each week and I have no doubt our success was due to the consistency that created. Not only was it a thin squad but my players weren’t great and most of them over-performed.
After seeing potential in my squad though, at the end of the first season, I wanted to keep the momentum going. I felt it was time to sign some additions to take us to a position where we could confirm promotion to League 2.
Those signings, including Elliott Whitehouse on a free from Notts County, Paul Marshall from FC Halifax (£17k), Jon Wallis from Kidderminster (£17k), Henrik Gyvelgaard from Liverpool (loan), Shaun Jeffers free from Newport and Jamie White on a free from Bristol Rovers.
I aimed to bring players through the Wrexham youth teams to the first team. This hasn’t been easy as we haven’t had anyone brilliant in youth intakes yet. I have signed lots of talented players who will hopefully make the first team one day though, including several Welsh youngsters.
However, I haven’t been able to improve the youth facilities since I joined so this is holding us back in producing our own. Don’t worry though, this is a priority. With the first team progressing well it is difficult to play a youngster. It’s a risk.
After reviewing my performance in creating a football utopia I’ve realised I haven’t stuck to every idea religiously so I’m going to set some new rules which I promise to stick by.
Rule 1: I have to give 10 youth players their debut in the next 10 games
Rule 2: My next three signings MUST be Welsh
Rule 3: I can’t transfer list anyone until the end of the 17/18 season
Rule 4: I must think of the long-term dream rather than quick on-the-pitch success