WREXHAM staved off competition from several other clubs to make Richard Hope their fourth signing of the summer, the player said yesterday.
Hope, 28, who was surprisingly released by Shrewsbury Town only days after leading them out at Wembley in the League Two play-off final, has signed a three-year deal at the Racecourse, subject to a medical which will take place today or tomorrow.
Hope, who joins close season captures Anthony Williams, Michael Proctor and Conall Murtagh in Brian Carey’s Dragons squad, said: “It was a bit of a shock when I was told by Shrewsbury that I was being released.
“I didn’t expect it after the season we had because I’ve been club captain for the past couple of years and we were just a game away from moving up into League One this year.
“Fortunately for me though Wrexham were on the phone the same evening and I went across to meet (assistant manager) Steve Weaver. I liked what I saw at Wrexham, the facilities are top-class and I believe they are an ambitious club who will be going places next season.”
The central defender said he had also spoken to a number of other clubs but in the end decided to join the Dragons, despite their narrow escape from relegation.
“When I weighed everything up, Wrexham came out on top,” he added. “The set-up is unbelievable for a club in this division and I believe there are a lot of quality players in the squad.
“The manager and his staff seem to have a clear idea of what they want to achieve so where they finished last year was not something I thought about too much. I see this move as a terrific opportunity for me and I believe Wrexham have every chance of doing well next season.
“I’m pleased for my peace of mind to have sorted out my future so quickly, which means I can get away for a holiday. It’s been a long season and we had the extra month at the end, so I need a break but I’m looking forward to meeting up with everyone at the end of the month.”
Racecourse assistant boss Steve Weaver said he was delighted to have secured Hope’s signature.
“We saw him play a few times during the run-in and felt he was just the type of player we need here,” he said.
“I’m delighted we were able to convince him that Wrexham was the club for him because he is the right age and has the right experience. He is a communicator and a leader on the pitch, rather like Neil Roberts, and we feel that will be invaluable for some of the younger lads in the squad.”
Hope, who began his league career at Darlington 10 years ago, has played more than 350 first team games at Bristol Rovers, Northampton and Shrewsbury.