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Page last updated at 07:22 GMT, Friday, 3 October 2008 08:22 UK

Saunders concedes Wrexham gamble

Saunders determined to sort Wrexham out

New Wrexham boss Dean Saunders admits he is 'putting his neck on the line' by agreeing to help rescue the Welsh club from non-league obscurity.

The former Wales star has signed a rolling deal to succeed Brian Little at the Blue Square Premier strugglers.

Wrexham owner Geoff Moss will allow Saunders to combine his Racecourse role with his part-time job as Wales boss John Toshack's right-hand-man.

"People must be wondering why go down to manage at non-league," he said.

"Yeah I needed a bit of persuading, I wouldn't have dropped to this level for any other club than Wrexham. I wouldn't have contemplated it.

"I've obviously worked at the highest-level in the Premier League and at international level for six or seven years since I finished playing but this is different.

"It's a challenge you probably wouldn't do unless you're a Welshman.

Brian Flynn during his 12-year stint as Wrexham manager
Brian Flynn
Nov 1989-Sept 2001
Denis Smith
Oct 2001-Jan 2007
Brian Carey
Jan 2007-Nov 2007
Brian Little
Nov 2007-Sept 2008
Dean Saunders
Oct 2008-

"I've come to get the club back in the league because Wrexham should not be in non-league, it's a joke and I am determined to succeed for the good of Welsh football.

"Newport County disappeared years ago and that cannot be allowed to happen at Wrexham - this club cannot stay down here for much longer.

"I want to get players who want to go in the same direction as me, I want winners.

"I'm not interested in having losers at the club, there has been too many of them here over the last five or six years - and I'm not frightened to say that. This place has been full of losers.

"We want to get people who will fight for the club, who care about how they play, care about the result and care about the supporters.

"I can't ask them to Maradona or Pele but I can ask them to give the fans 110% effort and determination because they have paid to come and watch their team."

"Wrexham and the North Wales catchment area have produced some great players like Mickey Thomas and Joey Jones and that conveyer belt must not be allowed to stop.

"I'm excited about the challenge and I know I can do it.

"But it will take time because I'm not magician."

The Wrexham role is 44-year-old Saunders' first managerial job and the ex-Oxford, Derby, Liverpool and Aston Villa striker is Wrexham's fourth boss in 22 months.

Hugely-respected coach Saunders was Moss' number one target when former Villa manager Little parted company with Wrexham after just 11 months at the club on the weekend.

Saunders has been given the task of rescuing Wrexham from non-league football after Wales' oldest club suffered relegation from the Football League at the end of last season.


Moss said: "I'm delighted to have secured someone of Dean's standing.

"Initially I only asked him to give me his advice on certain aspects of the club but after long talks with him I realised that this is something he wanted to get involved with.

"His enthusiasm is infectious and it's something that really excites me and as to what he can bring to us.

Moss revealed on Wednesday that Wrexham, who have won just one of their last six Blue Square Premier games, had 18 managerial applications since Little's departure.

But admitted that Saunders, Graeme Souness' former assistant manager at Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United, had not applied.

"I thought his position with Wales would rule him out," said Moss. "But that has been talked through with John Toshack.

"Dean is very keen to take his first managerial role and I'm looking forward to seeing him in charge at the Racecourse."

Little's former assistant Martin Foyle, who was in caretaker charge, has left the club but coach Brian Carey remains at the non-league club as Saunders' number two.

A Wrexham statement said: "Martin took on the role in difficult circumstances and the club appreciates his efforts and thanks him for all the hard work and professionalism he has shown throughout.

"He was devastated at the departure of Brian Little from the club and now feels it is time for him to also move on."

Moss is a close friend and golfing partner with Saunders, who scored 22 goals in 75 Wales caps, and he assisted the Racecourse supremo by taking striking clinics for Wrexham's misfiring forwards last season.

Saunders and his fellow Wales assistant Roy Evans, the former Liverpool manager, gave Moss their views on Wrexham's players during a bizarre training session on Tuesday.

Previously the closest Saunders came to becoming a boss was in February 2007 when he was linked with the vacant job at Swansea - since filled by Roberto Martinez.

see also
No quick replacement for Wrexham
27 Sep 08 |  Wrexham
Saunders is new Wales number two
30 Jun 07 |  Internationals
Saunders makes Wales shortlist
31 Oct 04 |  Internationals
Saunders joins Newcastle
08 Sep 04 |  Newcastle
Saunders to coach Blackburn
22 May 03 |  Blackburn
Count me in, says Deano
26 Sep 01 |  Wrexham
Saunders calls it a day
18 May 01 |  Wales

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