Login Register


The Phil Hardy era may be long gone, but his testimonial is just around the

The Phil Hardy era may be long gone, but his testimonial is just around the corner. Carroll Clark, chairman of the Wrexham AFC Official Supporters Association, and treasurer of Hardy's benefit committee, recently contacted all fans groups to ask for donations to the cause - a sure sign that wheels are now in motion.

Given the acrimonious manner in which Hardy exited North Wales in May last year, and the perilous nature of club finances, it was a nice gesture of Wrexham FC to grant him a testimonial. Ex-Reds manager Dixie McNeil is chairman of the benefit committee and the hope is that they will be able to attract high-profile Premiership opposition for the player's testimonial game.

The Shropshire Reds supporters club have agreed to put on a fundraising event, and the Holywell Reds, Manchester Reds and WINS Group have also been sounded out as to their possible involvement.

For a defender who had such a long and steady career at the Racecourse - 442 league and cup appearances (and one goal) between 1990 and 2001 - Hardy has had a difficult time since ex-manager Flynn told him he was surplus to requirements.

Soon after his release, he joined second division club Port Vale - a decent move on paper, given that his former teammate Gareth Owen ended up in the Conference with Doncaster - but played only 10 games in 10 months for the Potteries side. When he departed, Vale boss Brian Horton explained that the Chester-born defender had not adapted well enough to the wing-back role - no real surprise to the many Dragons fans who had become frustrated with Hardy's lack of poise in the opposition half of the pitch.

Thereafter, he had a trial at Kenilworth Road, but Luton boss Joe Kinnear told him he wouldn't be taking him on because he was "too small" to operate effectively as a full-back in the bottom division.

After this, there was nothing. At the moment, Hardy is without a club and has even been refused permission to train with other sides. Thus, he is now training on his own in an effort to keep fit and be ready if a team does come calling.

In the 21st century, with players' wages as they are, the concept of a footballer's testimonial may seem anachronistic, but for every millionaire like Ryan Giggs - who was granted a benefit by Manchester United last year - there is a down-on-his-luck player like Phil Hardy, who, it could be argued, is fully deserving of a whip-round.

Indeed, if it was up to me, I would reserve testimonials exclusively for needy: players (either without a club or suffering from serious injury) and groundsmen or other club officials (whose remuneration is low, but who have made a significant or long-standing contribution to their club).

All donations to the Phil Hardy Testimonial Fund can be sent to Carroll Clark at 4, Lyndale Grove, Wrexham LL12 8DQ.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
Contact Us
Full contact details