Saunders takes over ailing Wrexham
Friday 03 October 2008
Former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker Dean Saunders has been given the task of rescuing Wrexham from non-league football. Wales' oldest club suffered relegation from the Football League at the end of last season. But their start in the Blue Star Premier League has been disastrous, and one win in six league games cost Brian Little his job as manager last week.
Now Saunders, who has held top coaching jobs at Blackburn and Newcastle, has taken the gamble to start his management career outside of full-time football. Saunders has been working as coach to the senior Wales squad under manager John Toshack, and will be allowed to combine the two roles. His first match in charge, having been officially appointed yesterday, will be at Forest Green tomorrow before he joins up with the Wales squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Liechtenstein and Germany on 11 and 15 October.
Saunders, who also played for Derby, Swansea, Cardiff and Galatasaray in a glittering 12-club career and has always kept his home in Cheshire just across the border from the Racecourse ground, is Wrexham's fourth manager in 22 months.
Saunders' appointment has come as a surprise. Earlier this week he was invited – along with his former Liverpool boss Roy Evans – to oversee a practice match at Wrexham to help the chairman Geoff Moss evaluate the playing squad. Evans has also acted as an advisor to the north Wales club in recent months. At the time Moss made it clear that Saunders was only offering advice. But now Moss said: "I'm delighted to have secured someone of Dean's standing. Initially I only asked him to give me his advice but after long talks with him I realised that he wanted to get involved. His enthusiasm is infectious and it's something that really excites me and as to what he can bring to us."
Moss had revealed that Wrexham had 18 managerial applications since Little's departure but not one from Saunders. Moss said: "Dean is very keen to take his first managerial role and I'm looking forward to seeing him in charge at the Racecourse."
Moss is a close friend and golfing partner of Saunders, who scored 22 goals in 75 Wales appearances, and he had assisted the Racecourse chief by taking striking clinics for Wrexham's forwards last season. It has been thought that Saunders was being groomed by the FA of Wales to one day replace Toshack, whose contract expires in 2010.
Dean Saunders' career goals tally.
Latest in Sport
Arsenal have no plans to stock Petr Cech inspired caps in club shops - yet
Nathaniel Clyne joins Liverpool: Transfer news live - Arda Turan decision, Petr Cech reaction, Sergio Ramos to Manchester United
Christian Benteke to Liverpool: Aston Villa striker ready to reject Tottenham
Nigel Pearson: Leicester City sack manager despite Premier League survival
Arda Turan announcement expected on Friday: Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United possible destinations
- 1 Tunisia hotel attack: Locals form 'human shield' to protect hotel from gunman Seifeddine Rezgui
- 2 Russian officials ban yoga because it's too much like a religious cult
- 3 German ethics council calls for incest between siblings to be legalised by Government
- 4 Ginger Pride festival to take place next summer, organisers say 'time of bullying gingers is over'
- 5 Facebook rainbow profile pictures likely being tracked by social network
The moment a Queen's Guard soldier lost it and drew his gun at annoying tourist
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Pentagon accuses Russia of 'playing with fire' over nuclear threats towards Nato
They are neither a 'state' nor 'Islamic': Why we shouldn't call them Isis, Isil or IS