DENIS SMITH repeated his call for Wrexham's missing fans to join his new crusade following a confidence-boosting 1-0 win against Queens Park Rangers at the Racecourse on Saturday.
The club's first victory since September 11, which ended a run of five straight defeats, heralded an optimistic start to his stewardship and the 53-year-old veteran whipped up the home crowd with his direction of operations from the dug-out.
"I wanted to get the fans behind us," he said afterwards. "It's important they realise we are all together and I wanted them to know I'm passionate about my football. I want them to be equally passionate about Wrexham. And if the lads work like that they deserve support."
Morale-boosting performances from new boys Keith Hill and Jim Whitley brought an immediate response from the players around them but Smith now wants the North Wales public to get involved as well.
"I've brought the two lads in and they've done extremely well today and I've got players coming back from injury and suspension," he added.
"We've then got to look at the attendances. It was over 4,000 today, which was a hell of a lot better, and if we can get it over 5,000 we should have money to spend. But we've got to give the fans a reason to come in.
"QPR are a good side so it was a hard-fought, hard-won game and it was everybody's success, including Kevin Russell and Joey Jones, who have all had an input.
"I hope the fans can match my passion. I think they would be insulted if I claimed to have more passion then them and I doubt that I have. What I am is a football man and I like winning and to win well."
Despite his obvious pleasure with the performance, Smith also sounded a note of caution. "Today we've started but there is a long, long way to go," he said. "We have to win nearly 50 per cent of our remaining games but if we play like we've played today, we've got a chance.
"We only need another 14 wins now and if they are all like that I'll be dead. But the credit goes to the lads, their workrate was tremendous, the discipline was good and they kept a great shape.
"In the end, although QPR had a lot of the ball, we hit the post and their 'keeper's made a great save. Our goalkeeper might as well have had a fag and a bottle of wine out there."
The Red Dragons' boss was twice spoken to by referee Mike Ryan for touchline incidents but he insisted that his players deserved all the plaudits.
"What I do is not important because it was the players who were magnificent," he said. "The back four was superb and Michael Blackwood, apart from scoring, has worked so hard. He did things today I didn't believe he was capable of but he has to go out and do it again next week.
"I think we deserved the victory but we have to take it on from here. They've got to work like that every week and I've said that's the minimum standard that I will accept from now on.
"I think a new manager coming in is always going to make a difference but it was not until Wednesday that I got them out and I was doing the coaching.
"We worked on shape, pattern and the defensive side of things but we've created things as well today. I don't want us just to sit back and get battered and possibly the big decision was playing Lee Trundle, who has not been having the best of times. But up there on his own in the second half he gave an absolutely magnificent performance. I'm not going to be carried away by the result but I'm absolutely delighted it's happened."
The only blot on Wrexham's performance was the sending-off of midfielder, Steve Thomas. His two cautions brought about the club's fifth dismissal of the season and a potential date with the Football League's disciplinary commission.
But Smith said: "The first booking was unlucky because it was a 50-50 ball. Because the other lad won the ball, Steve was booked, but for the second he was standing on the ball and you can't do that."