Kev's moaning, Darren's hair ... and Sean's pit bull terriers

Nigel Beaumont

Nigel Beaumont

The Big Interview: Peter Davies continues his in-depth chat with unreconstructed late-'80s/early-'90s centre-half, Nigel Beaumont

Tell us about your teammates back in the late-'80s and early-'90s. Andy Thackeray?
"Andy was a good fit player. He'd run all day and did lots of work. Very similar to Phil Hardy in lots of ways."

Darren Wright? "Darren was a good laugh. He ended up at Cheltenham but suffered a very bad knee injury. He was the Don Johnson of the team - the hair style, the suits and all the women he pulled."

Roger Preece? "Not as wild as people made out, but on the football pitch he did change! He was sent off a few times and I think he went on to spend some time at Shrewsbury."

Geoff Hunter? "Used to tell a lot of jokes. He was a good player with the ball at his feet, but always used to get lost on our training runs round the outskirts of Wrexham. I'm not sure whether we lost him or just left him behind!"

Kevin Russell? "The real star of the team - famed for his lack of hair and his many goals. In those days he was very quick. I still see him around a bit now. He's a bit slower around the pitch but he could still moan for a World XI."

Graham Cooper? "My best mate back then. Don't know what he's doing now - he's just disappeared. He was my travel buddy, room buddy and drinking buddy. And he had lovely hair as well! He was a fit lad but he always looked tired during games. He always came alive, though, when the Cotton Club opened! Him and Darren were the real prima donnas of the side."

Sean Reck? "The ultimate hard man - when he wasn't injured. He loved his Staffordshire Bull Terrier - and he looked like one as well! He was unlucky with injuries, but some of his back-passes were memorably bad." 

Chris Armstrong? "He made his debut at Hartlepool. You've got to give Flynn credit for playing him early but it was Dixie who spotted him. Chris had great pace and was excellent in the air. He became a million-pound player - and good luck to him."

Karl Connolly? "A good lad. He had something about him and has really made the most of his talent."

Vince O'Keefe? "Great bloke, a good man to know. Now works as a PFA agent."

Jon Bowden? "He gave everything he had, even though he didn't like Wrexham as a place."

Mike Salmon? "The Fish. He did well. He didn't make many errors and was very consistent."

Wayne Phillips? "An up and coming player when I was there. An unsung hero, a bit like Phil Hardy. He did a job and just got on with it. He got a big move to Stockport in the end."

Mark Sertori? "An awkward looking player - centre-half and centre-forward. I always thought he was a bit like Joey - the same kind of mould. He got stuck in and gave 110 per cent."

What are your Euro-memories?
"I never thought I'd play European football, so the Cup Winners' Cup games were a real bonus. I don't remember a lot about the Lyngby home leg because I was affected by that stupid rule about non-Welsh players. It ended 0-0 and it basically deteriorated into a game of keep-ball. But I do remember the Manchester United games. The first leg was away and the atmosphere was incredible. It was a schoolboy dream to play at Old Trafford and there I was! I was marking Mark Hughes and Brian McClair, and even though we lost 3-0 it was a great night. We were the underdogs and we gave it a good go. Their team was full of stars: Ince, Wallace, Bruce, Pallister, Irwin, Webb. I've still got the video and the teamsheet. It was the early years of Ferguson's reign as boss and, looking back, I wasn't as intimidated as I first thought I may be. I brought Hughes down for the penalty - he just tripped over my foot or a divot. The penalty was a pity because we were doing very nicely and holding our own. It was still 0-0 after 35 minutes and the United fans were beginning to moan. But they got two before half-time and we did well to keep it down to 3-0. Cooper missed a header for us and Flynnie went close with an amazing 30-yard shot. Flynnie was actually a very good player - a little man who really got stuck in. When he had the ball he tried really hard not to lose it. I was skipper for the home leg and shook hands with Neil Webb!"

What do you remember of THAT game against Colchester?
"Colchester went 2-1 up and then it started hail-stoning. It made it very hard for them and we somehow managed to make it 3-2. Gary Worthington did the business for us, and he had to - it was the ultimate six-pointer. Everyone was very nervous. If we'd have lost, we could have gone out of the Football League."

What did you think of Wrexham fans?
"There were always two sides to the coin. If we were doing well they were great, if we weren't they could be pretty negative. Fickle really. There is always a very fine line between success and failure."

Tell us about your exit from the Racecourse…
"I won the Player of the Year award. Flynn called me in and said he wanted to build the side around me. A year on I was told I wasn't good enough and I was released. It was a big shock and I felt let down. The team had struggled throughout 1991-2 and the manager wanted me out. That Player of the Year trophy was the kiss of death."

How do you view Flynn?
"He was a very good player but the way I was treated in the end left a sour taste. I also thought he was inconsistent. He insisted that all the players lived in Wrexham, yet he travelled in from Burnley every day."

What then?
"I moved to Telford under Gerry Daly. I felt I was on a downward slope really. I had bought a house in Wrexham, so in time I decided to go back to the local circuit, to Brymbo and Lex where I was assistant manager. I like amateur football - there isn't the stress of the pro game. I love it in Wrexham. I've got a nice house and car and I work in a tissue factory on the Industrial Estate. I'm pretty happy."