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Keep a place for fired-up Joey

THE commitment of Joey Jones to the Wrexham cause is refreshing, reassuring and uplifting, writes columnist Pete Davies.

The last fortnight has been great fun for those supporters who enjoy rumour and speculation. It has also been an eye-opener for fans like me who are fascinated by body language.

At one extreme there is Joey Jones, erstwhile coach and current stand-in boss. His record in the hot seat may be unremarkable - played two, lost two - but he does for me what few managers or coaches have ever done. He inspires me.

On Saturday afternoon I have to admit that I was more enthralled by Jones' antics on the touchline than the Wrexham-Peterborough game itself. I am convinced that in a previous life JJ was a jack-in-a-box.

For 90 minutes, he was pointing, shouting, yelling, cajoling, enthusing, encouraging, jumping, leaping and bouncing around. When Faulconbridge equalised for the Reds, I have never seen one man look so utterly ecstatic.

And when, minutes later, Barry Fry's outfit went 2-1 up, I have never seen one man look so completely distraught. When the Reds lose, he hurts in a way that I want all the players to hurt.

I understand why Brian Flynn always chose to sit in the stands at games; but seeing Joey, as manager, get excited and frustrated on the touchline is refreshing, reassuring and uplifting.

As boss, Jones has two other key attributes: honesty and modesty. It goes without saying that there has to be a place for him in the post-Flynn set-up at the Racecourse.

At the other end of the body-language scale, step forward Darren Ferguson. Clearly, the Wrexham no.10 is an accomplished playmaker and the man around whom the current side revolves. There is no doubt that on his day he is one of the top three midfielders in the second division.

However, in recent weeks I have been slightly disappointed by the negative vibes he seems to be giving off. When Wrexham lost at Chesterfield, he scored with an excellent free-kick, but for most of the game he moped around - frustrated, it seemed, with his own teammates' inadequacies.

During other games I have seen him raise his arms, as if to say: "Look, I'm playing well, but everyone else is letting me down!" As a senior pro, and the team's vice-captain, Fergie should, I feel, have a much better attitude, particularly if he wants to play at a higher level (which, not very subtly, he keeps saying he does).

In a recent interview, DF confronted his demons head on: "As the lads will tell you, I never stop moaning at them. It is never personal though, just that I want to win no matter what." Personally, I do not think this explanation holds water.

I have heard many people at the Racecourse say that the ex-Man United and Wolves man is a "winner". But, to be honest, I never really know what this phrase means.

It is unfortunate that Darren has inherited the "moaning" gene off his father, but for everyone's sake, not least his teammates, I think he should try and improve his on-field deportment.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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