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Breathing new fire

SMITH for Flynn is not the sexiest managerial switch ever made, but columnist Pete Davies thinks history might show it to be one of the shrewdest.

Solid rather than spectacular; safe and sensible rather than imaginative and inspiring. That's how I interpret the appointment of Denis Smith to the Racecourse hot-seat.
I can understand why some fans appear underwhelmed by the move, but we have to put things in perspective. Club directors have been admirably realistic in their thinking and, mercifully, have not been seduced by the charms of a Welsh glamour name (Saunders, Southall) nor been naïve enough to think that a current player (Russell, Carey, Ferguson) could do the job
Smith for Flynn is not the sexiest managerial switch ever made, but history might show it to be one of the shrewdest. In my view, the ex-Stoke City defender has many attributes. He's fresh in North Wales, he's been around elsewhere, and he has already made a lot of constructive noises regarding the future of the club.
Given the plight of the team, I think it was important to appoint someone with experience. And given the current financial situation, it was also vital to appoint someone who was not employed in another post.
Smith has managed bigger clubs than Wrexham (Sunderland, West Brom, Bristol City), smaller clubs (York) and clubs about the same size (Oxford). The 54-year-old has also gained promotion with three of these outfits (Sunderland, York, Oxford) so he knows how to exit divisions from the right end.

I think it's also significant that during his playing days Smith was a centre-half. At present, the work that needs doing on the Wrexham side needs doing primarily at the back.
And already, I have been struck by Smith's high expectations. He has indicated that he wants to be in the promotion frame next season, if not this season - just the kind of positive vibes I want, and expect, the manager of a football club to give off.
Brian Flynn had lots of qualities but, personally, I was never massively inspired by his expectations. If you say every year, as he did, that your main aim is to avoid relegation and hit the 50-point mark, it should come as no surprise if, every year, your team merely avoids relegation and scrapes past the 50-point mark. It would be excellent if Smith's aspirational language pays dividends.
In other ways, however, the new boss reminds me of the old boss: hardworking, respected, loves the game, and knows his trade inside out.
However, supporters are never happy. It has been pointed out that his last two forays into management were not hugely successful (West Brom and Oxford), and this has led some to wonder whether his powers are on the wane.

Others argue that he is merely a journeyman, desperate to get back into soccer and happy to land any job in the game.
But I'm optimistic. In his statements so far, Smith has reminded everyone that Wrexham, as a club, has a lot going for it, and his appointment could herald the dawn of a new, progressive era in Racecourse history.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
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