Ben Foster And Wrexham Cling To Special Memories . . . And Are Ready To Make More Next Season

WREXHAM, WALES - APRIL 22: Wrexham goalkeeper Ben Foster celebrates after the Vanarama National League match between Wrexham and Boreham Wood at Racecourse Ground on April 22, 2023 in Wrexham, Wales. (Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images)

Ben Foster And Wrexham Cling To Special Memories . . . And Are Ready To Make More Next Season

By David Williams

Ben Foster was left clinging on to his GoPro camera “with dear life” after Wrexham fans celebrated promotion back to the English Football League with a mass pitch invasion.

Foster’s goalmouth camera which films footage for his popular YouTube videos was targeted as the final whistle blew on Wrexham’s 3-1 victory over Boreham Wood on Saturday night.

“At full-time I had to get my GoPro quick in my goal because somebody tried to nick it,” said former England and Manchester United goalkeeper Foster.

“They rugby tackled me and I was on the floor thinking: ‘this is bonkers’. Then I was on shoulders.

“I was clinging on with dear life (to the camera), that’s what I was doing at the end.

“Everybody was trying to grab it, turning it and squeezing it. You could see how much it meant to everybody, people were on the pitch within seconds.”

Foster’s career came full circle as Wrexham won the National League title to return to the fourth tier of English football.

The 40-year-old won his first silverware 18 years ago when Wrexham lifted the 2005 Football League Trophy final while he was a young goalkeeper on loan from Stoke.

Foster was retired for nine months until he answered a Wrexham SOS in March after regular goalkeeper Rob Lainton was ruled out for the rest of the campaign through injury.

But he admits that he could extend his career now that Wrexham are back in the EFL after a 15-year absence.

“You have to contemplate it because to be part of Wrexham is a special thing,” said Foster, whose stoppage-time penalty save in the 3-2 Easter Monday victory over Notts County was arguably the defining point of a thrilling title race.

“The lads were asking me in the car the other day: ‘Fozzy, what you doing?’ I really don’t know, I haven’t got a clue yet.

“It’s nice to be a man of leisure and freedom and I really enjoyed my retirement. I had a great time for nine months.

“But everybody who plays here can see that Wrexham is a really special club.

“If you live in Wrexham, you are a Wrexham fan. People here are so die-hard and live for the weekend.

“In football also there are so many big-times. But there’s no big-times in our dressing room, and that’s the bit I’ve really enjoyed.”

Ryan Reynolds believes Wrexham’s promotion to the English Football League is vindication of his and Rob McElhenney’s decision to purchase the Welsh club two years ago.

The Hollywood actors bought Wrexham for £2million in February 2021 and have invested heavily on strengthening manager Phil Parkinson’s squad with some reports suggesting an outlay of over £10m at the Racecourse Ground.

The celebrity backing paid off on Saturday as Wrexham beat Boreham Wood in front of 10,000 jubilant home fans to clinch the National League title with a game to spare and end their 15-year exile from the EFL.

The victory sparked wild scenes that will live long in the memories of Wrexham fans who saw their club threatened by a winding-up order in 2011 and nearly went out of business.

Deadpool star Reynolds told BT Sport: “I’m not sure I can actually process what happened, I’m still a little speechless.

“One thing that’s running through my head over-and-over again is people said at the beginning: ‘why Wrexham, why Wrexham?’ this is exactly why Wrexham.

“What’s happening right now is why.
“To see the joy on the players’ faces and, of course, the entire stadium is what it’s all about.”

Reynolds certainly appeared to enjoy the celebrations that went long into the night in Wrexham.

The Hollywood A-lister tweeted on Sunday morning: “Everything I own smells like champagne, beer and grass.

“I’m still somewhere between giggling and sobbing. This town and this sport is one of the most romantic things on earth. Thank you, @Wrexham_AFC.”

Boreham Wood manager Luke Garrard said his play-off hopefuls had been “Mullined” after Wrexham’s top scorer took the game away from them with two superb second-half strikes.

Paul Mullin made it 47 goals for the season after Elliot Lee had cancelled out Lee Ndlovu’s instant strike with a far-post header.

McElhenney said: “I’d like to say Paul Mullin is one of the greatest football players in the world.”

On the crowd’s reaction to promotion, he added: “I think we can hear how it feels to the town and that’s what’s most important to us.

“I think this is a moment of catharsis for them and celebration and for us to be welcomed into their community and to be welcomed into this experience has been the honour of my life.”

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