Christian Dibble and Devonte Redmond were young schoolboys when they sat in the back seat of a car on their way to Wrexham’s Racecourse ground.
The pre-teenage kids chattered excitedly as they went with their dads, goalkeeper Andy Dibble and wing-back Paul Edwards, to watch the Dragons’ latest match in their quest for promotion.
Manager Denis Smith and his Wrexham team were successful, finishing third behind champions Rushden and Hartlepool.
Now Christian and Devonte are in a Wrexham squad intent on promotion to the Football League – and their dads will be popping along to support the Dragons’ bid for new glory.
“I’ve always followed Wrexham,” says Redmond, a former Manchester United player who has joined the National League club from Salford City.
“Maybe it was written that I should follow in dad’s footsteps. Christian and I travelled to home games by car with our dads when we were young.
“I’m delighted to sign for a club where I have family ties. Wrexham ambition is massive – they want to be in the Football League at a minimum.
“Promotion via the play-offs with Salford last season inspires me to go again with Wrexham and this time we want to go straight up.
“There was interest from other clubs, but I felt Wrexham was the place for me to be.”
Redmond, now aged 22, spent 16 years at Manchester United before being released by manager Jose Mourinho.
Among his admirers was current England international Marcus Rashford, who wrote about Redmond when the friends were playing for Manchester United’s under-11 team.
During September 2007, Rashford was asked to answer a number of questions about his favourite position, strengths and areas to improve plus selecting the best Under 11’s player at United.
He went for ‘Dev’ and Rashford wrote ‘he has everything a great player needs.’
Rashford quoted that phrase, scrawled in his blue pen, twice and Redmond said: “I never saw it at the time and didn’t know about it until it came out that he’d said it.
“It was nice of him to say that. We had some good times together in the teams coming up and you could see what a good player he was.”
Redmond has no doubts about the role United played in his progress, saying: “A great club to learn the game. I could not have been at a better place.
“Now it feels right to play for Wrexham. I want to be attacking, create goals, score goals and generally excite fans.
“My hope is that I can finish off games and help our team. I watched my dad play at the Racecourse and can’t wait to be out there.”
Dad Paul is certain to be a regular spectator at Wrexham home matches and he says: “I have had a long association with then club.
“I hope Devonte he can do as well as his old man did. I have talked to him about Wrexham, of course, and hope he can help the club have a good crack at promotion.
“He knows how special it was when I was playing and we were promoted.
“Devonte is a quality footballer who dictates games, dominates games, controls games. He’s honest and I’d love to see him top really well for Wrexham.
“I have many fond memories of my time at the club and perhaps the best was when we won 5-0 at home against Cambridge United and clinched promotion.”
Manchester-born Redmond had a difficult time after being released by United before he took a call from Salford City manager Graham Alexander in January.
He accepted a contract, helped Salford earn promotion via the play-offs and has now committed to the Dragons from North Wales.
Redmond, an imposing 6ft 2ins figure, likes to play off the wing, but is extremely effective drifting inside has honed his assets as a central attacking midfielder.
Wrexham have also signed Leighton McIntosh on a one-year contract. The Dundee-born player finished 2018-19 playing for Scottish League One club Airdrieonians where he was top scorer.
“It’s a really good opportunity for me and I’m over the moon,” said McIntosh.
“It’s a new challenge for me coming down from Scotland and I’m really looking forward to getting started.
“I can play out wide or through the middle as a striker and I like to get on the end of the last defender. I’m sure I can cause a lot of problems for opposition.
“First and foremost I hope to add goals to the team. I have a good goal record over the past few seasons and I want to continue that.
“I feel that I can bring several extra dimensions to the team, I can go in behind, hold the ball up and bring an unpredictability for defenders.”
Winger Paul Rutherford, Mark Carrington, goalkeeper Rob Lainton and left-back James Jennings have signed new contracts with Wrexham.
Carrington is Wrexham’s longest serving player having made well over 200 appearances for the Dragons since he joined in 2013.
The Warrington-born player joined Wrexham as a midfield player, but has capably filled in at right-back and left-back during the past few seasons as well has playing a ‘number 10’ role.
Centre-half Doug Tharme has also agreed a new 12-months deal, while fellow teenagers and Academy graduates Matty Sargent and Jack Thorn have signed their first professional contracts.
Wrexham’s retained list showed they released five players and a further five players returned to their parent clubs after loan spells.
Nine players remain contract for next season.
The Dragons have, though, suffered a blow with goalkeeping coach Jussi Jääskeläinen moving on.
It is thought he may move back to his native Finland.
Contracted for the 2019-20 season:
Bobby Grant (Player exercised option)
Players offered new contracts:
Player to have rejected new contract
Kieran Kennedy (set to join Port Vale)
Players and already accepted a new deal:
Players who were on loan have returned to parent clubs:
Invited back for pre-season training:
Wrexham have arranged a number of pre-season matches. They take on Cefn Druids, Fleetwood Town, Telford United, Stoke City, Curzon Ashton and Crewe Alexandra.
Saturday 29 v Cefn Druids (away at the Rock, 3pm)
Friday 5 v Fleetwood Town (home at the Racecourse, 7.30pm)
Match in Portugal (to be confirmed)
Saturday 13 v Telford United (away at New Bucks Head, 3pm)
Wednesday 17 v Stoke City (home at the Racecourse, 7pm)
Saturday 20 v Curzon Ashton (away at Tameside Stadium, 3pm)