Adam Barton, Wrexham’s newest signing who is with the squad on their pre-season trip to Portugal, is ready to make sweet music with the Dragons.
Central midfield player Barton has a quality musical background, a drummer who can also play bass guitar.
The former Preston North End, Portsmouth, Coventry City, Partick Thistle, Dundee United, Connah’s Quay and Blackburn Rovers player has a lifelong passion for football and music.
His dad, Peter toured with The Animals, Boomtown Rats plus Wayne Fontana & The Mindbenders, while Adam performed in tribute bands for The Jam and Arctic Monkeys in pubs and clubs around Blackburn, Preston and Manchester.
Clitheroe-born Barton junior is intent on playing a major role in Wrexham’s bid to challenge for promotion to the Football League this season, but he would love to carry on playing.
“Back up north, music was where I could kind of forget about football for a few hours, it’s always good to switch off a bit,” he says. “There are only so many extras you can do after training without injuring yourself, so you can’t really stay at the training ground too long.
“You don’t really want to be doing weights every single day because you’ve got to have that rest time which is important. So you go home and then have all the time in the world. As a footballer you have a lot of spare time.
“I am a drummer, but can also play bass guitar and even set up a little studio at the house to do some recordings.
“I was in a Jam tribute band and also an Arctic Monkeys one, but would play to anything just to get out there.
‘It’s doing that other thing in life which keeps your mind off football for the times when you need to.
‘Music is a release. If it’s not going well in football, your mates can come round and have a bit of a jam and you try to pick yourself back up. That has always been key for me.’
Barton was spotted playing for Clitheroe Wolves and signed up by Blackburn Rovers. When they released him at the age of 16 because of a back injury, Preston snapped him up on a scholarship the same day.
Dad, Peter, who was frontman and manager of reformed Animals, says: “Adam is very dedicated to everything he does.
“His first love is football, his second love is music. He’s never been pushed in either direction. I have a recording studio and he would just go in and mess around.
“He formed a band and became a phenomenal drummer – better than me!”
Away from football, Adam counts his heroes as The Jam and Paul McCartney.
Barton junior made his Wrexham debut in their pre-season friendly at Fleetwood Town and is fired up for the new season.
“I like to get on the ball and start moves off, passing the ball, sitting-in in front of the back four,” says Barton. “It’s up to me to get in the squad and keep my place when the season starts.
“I have been speaking to Bryan Hughes for a while. He really wanted me to come and I wanted to be here.
“Bryan said that sitting in midfield is where he sees me playing my football here, where my best position is, so that’s what I’ll do for the team if and when I get a chance.”
Barton, 6ft 3in s tall, has played at Parkhead, Ibrox, the Emirates Stadium and White Hart Lane, while one of his best football memories is scoring for Preston against Burnley.
In a rollercoaster derby clash in September 2010, Burnley overturned a two-goal deficit, scoring three times in the final six minutes to win 4-3, Jay Rodriguez striking the winner with seconds left at Turf Moor.
Former Cardiff City player Jon Parkin played a part in Barton’s goal.
“It remains so clear in my mind – Jon Parkin winning a header,” he says. “I knocked it past Clarke Carlisle and suddenly the target opened up.
“I was face to face with goalkeeper Brian Jensen and, for a second, it was like time had stood still. I could see all the faces in the crowd, begging me to miss.
“But I gave the goalkeeper the eyes, clipping the ball into the bottom corner.
“I’d been charging around like a kid before that, with raw energy, and I could have been playing for Clitheroe Wolves junior team with the freedom I felt on that pitch.
“With my friends and family watching on, I became a man when I scored that goal.”
When Blackburn released him aged 15, carrying a back injury, he struggled even though Preston quickly signed him.
“I went to Preston and was struggling for confidence, seeing a psychologist at 16, and every day I was questioning myself,” he says.
The arrival of Darren Ferguson, the son of Sir Alex, made a massive difference for Barton junior.
“He put me on the bench at Charlton when I was 16 and all of a sudden you could see a different picture, how the first-team lads prepared, the intense focus needed to succeed,” he says.
“Suddenly it wasn’t a kickabout, it was business.”
He was even called up by Northern Ireland, playing a friendly against Morocco.
Wrexham have played two pre-season fixtures and now fly to Portugal on Tuesday, taking on Portimonense SC two days later.
The Dragons won 4-0 at Cefn Druids, but went down 1-0 against League One Fleetwood. They produced a disciplined performance, but a defensive error late on led to defeat against Fleetwood at Poolfoot Farm.
Shaun Pearson and Mike Fondop had previously forced good saves from Matt Gilks, while Christian Dibble produced a suberb reflex stop at the other end.
Ultimately, however, as younger players were introduced towards the end, Fleetwood snatched the only goal after 81 minutes. Lincoln-born former Burnley striker Michael Fowler was the scorer.
Fleetwood Town: (3-5-2): Cairns (Gilks 46), Morgan (Southam-Hales 46), Sheron (Eastham 46), Andrew (Clarke 46), Burns (Saunders 46), Dempsey (Matete 46), Biggins (Sowerby 46), Smith (Morris 46), Hunter (Clarke 46), Morris (Baggley 46), McAleny (Fowler 46)
Wrexham AFC: (4-3-3): Dibble (Szczepaniak 71), Trialist A (Thorn 71), Pearson (Beaumont 62), Trialist B, Jennings (Carrington 46), Young (Barton 71), Summerfield (Redmond 46), Wright (Rutherford 62), Trialist C (Sargent 62), Hooper (Fondop 62), Harris (Grant 62)
Referee: Ben Toner
Wrexham FC pre-season fixtures
Saturday 29 v Cefn Druids 0, Wrexham 4 (away at the Rock)
Friday 5 Fleetwood Town 1, Wrexham 0
Tuesday 9 v Portimonense SC v Wrexham (Estádio Municipal de Portimão, Portugal, 7pm)
Saturday 13 v AFC Telford United (New Bucks Head, 3pm)
Wednesday 17 v Stoke City (home, the Racecourse, 7pm)
Saturday 20 v Curzon Ashton (Tameside Stadium, 3pm)
Saturday 27 v Crewe Alexandra (home at the Racecourse, 3pm).