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The news that glovesman Andy Dibble has signed on the dotted line at the

The news that glovesman Andy Dibble has signed on the dotted line at the Racecourse is very welcome.

Ever since the departure of cult man Kevin Dearden 12 months ago, the Red Dragons have been crying out for a seasoned keeper. Norwegian Marius Rovde filled the gap for a couple of months earlier this year, but a permanent signing was urgently required.

Dibble was only offered a one-year contract, but even so, there is now some prospect of stability, in the short-term at least. To my mind, Denis Smith's latest capture has a number of valuable assets:

EXPERIENCE: Dibble is 37 and boasts a truly astonishing CV. He's played for champion teams in Scotland and Wales (Glasgow Rangers, Barry Town), two other Celtic outfits (Aberdeen, Cardiff) and four Greater Manchester sides (Altrincham, Bolton, Stockport, Man City).

Add in double spells at a trio of clubs - Middlesborough, Sheffield United and Luton - and outings also for Carlisle, Hartlepool, West Brom, Huddersfield and Sunderland, and you have one well-travelled footballer.

All in all, he has played over 300 league games.

SIZE: The new man is tall (6'2") and bulky (13.7). Personally, I feel it is essential for a goalkeeper to exude strength, power and "presence" - and Dibble looks to fit the bill. The full-backs and centre-halves who play in front of him can only benefit from this.

COACHING ABILITY: In a sense, Smith has got two for the price of one: a player and a coach.

The new signing began his coaching career at Edgeley Park last year and has also indicated his ambitions to work at a national level. Manager Smith has made it clear that he wants Dibble to help groom youngsters Rogers and Whitfield, and this arrangement can only work well for everyone involved.

WELSHNESS: It is always nice when Wrexham sign a Welshman. Dibble might hail from the South rather than the North - Cwmbran to be exact - but as he said on Wednesday, "It's nice to be back in Wales."

And, of course, he is a full Welsh international - he played twice against Canada in 1986 and also against Israel in 1989. Dibble may be 13 years past his peak, but he will add much needed authority, as well as patriotic zeal, to the back line.

There are other matters of interest as well. When Dibble played for Sunderland (1986-7), his manager was a certain Denis Smith. So, the Reds boss knows his man - and that is good news.

It is also a fact that last year Dibble received two red cards, plus one yellow, in the space of 11 league games for Stockport. Clearly, he wears his heart on his sleeve and is not afraid to get stuck in.

The new keeper has many attributes, but Reds fans are already criticising the deal. One supporter emailed an online discussion list to say "Good luck to Dibble, but I think most people weren't expecting a Barry Town reject to come and play for Wrexham. I hope I'm proved wrong, but I really suspect that this could be a poor signing."

Let's hope our friend is forced to eat his words.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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