In a different sporting world long ago, though some would scarcely believe it, this corner absolutely detested horse racing. Alteration to that first probably came about due to what somebody described to me the other day as ‘Exposure Therapy’. Put in simpler terms, if you’re around them long enough you’ll become like them.
In the case closest to home, that meant because da and his brother Tom were so wrapped up in affairs of the turf some of it eventually had to rub off. Though it still took the epic battle between Richard Dunwoody and Adrian Maguire and the interview with Noel Meade a decade later to seal the deal.
Long before that, mind you, there remains a vague recollection of watching one of the Grand Nationals – I’ve no clue where or when – on the old Bush black and white television in what to me will forever be The Corner House.
However, what there is absolute clarity about is watching Wrexham’s usurpation of Arsenal in the FA Cup. Now, I wouldn’t attempt to say their progress has been tracked closely since. Aside from the spell Brian Carey spent at the Welsh club after leaving Manchester United.
That was, mind you, before my wonderful, patient, understanding other half Susie introduced me to the wonder that is Netflix. Whereon, among many other gems, the documentary pertaining to Rob McElhinney and Ryan Reynolds buying Britain’s oldest football club.
From those heady days when the reds boxed well above their weight, they had fallen on tough times to such an extent they had fallen out of the football league and their mere existance was being called into question.
That said, apprehension felt and expressed by Wrexham players and fans regarding the takeover by the Hollywood actors was wholly understandable. Especially when placed against the backdrop of the supposedly super wealthy taking over clubs like Blackburn and Blackpool and Watford and Sunderland only to virtually destroy them.
Though it might seem a bit far fetched at times, first impressions are generally the correct and lasting ones. And in this case, right from the off it was clear that the two lads were genuine football fans and not just bluffers like some of those who sunk the claws into other clubs – including Manchester United.
They have, quite literally, let their actions speak louder than words. Firstly by appointing a well travelled and experienced manager in Phil Parkinson. Also, however, by signing the likes of Paul Mullin who had proven himself adept at operating at a higher level.
And an Irish connection to anything never does it any harm. Thus, where it was Brian Carey years ago, Eoghan O’Connell was the tricolour representation when the men from the Valleys once again achieved the extraordinary when battling their way back into the Football League.
However, in a cruel irony, the Irishman actually found his own net on Wrexham’s first outing at the higher level. That said, it’s quite likely that he will have been as surprised as anybody to learn that he will have company in the wearing of the green at the Racecourse Ground. Actually, not so much that he has Irish company. Just that it happens to be James McClean.
The most misunderstood, under appreciated Irish player of his generation. The following is not, in any way, meant as a dig at Wrexham, but, the Derry man is well capable of playing at a higher level.
Then again, another way of looking at that is that Parkinson et al have pulled off something of a coup with the acquisition of his services.
Things may have got away to a slightly shaky start against Milwall, but with 45 matches still to go, the class McClean will undoubtedly add and the redoubtable spirit of the club itself, they should be more than OK.
From my own perspective, since my one and so far only trip overseas for a match – to Old Trafford – ended up being such a horrendous personal embarrassment, the promise was always held to oneself that a return journey would at the very least be attempted. Manchester United still remains atop the desired destination list, but there’s also one other Racecourse I definitely want to visit now too!