BRIAN CAREY revealed his delight yesterday as Wrexham confirmed a friendly date with Liverpool, insisting the club’s exciting pre-season schedule is a fitting reward for their fans’ loyalty last term.
Rafael Benitez’s men will make a fifth appearance in four seasons at the Racecourse on Saturday July 7, joining fellow Premiership side Blackburn and Championship outfit Burnley on the Dragons’ summer fixture list.
The now traditional July meeting with the Reds – whose reserves play their home games at Wrexham’s ground – has provided a much need source of funds for the club, particularly during their 18-month period of administration.
And Dragons boss Carey yesterday moved to thank the Merseyside giants for sustaining the special relationship enjoyed between the two clubs.
He said: "It’s a great one for us. We are delighted. Liverpool are the one club who have really helped us out, particularly when we were in administration.
"I’m quite delighted we have got them back here again. It really benefits us. Smaller clubs are often very much at the mercy of the bigger clubs and we are just thrilled to bits that they are helping us out and we can’t thank them enough for coming again.
"We have got a relationship with Liverpool which we are really proud of.
He added: "It means it is going to be an exciting pre-season – it is a good reward for the fans, really. It will be good for them to come and see Premiership footballers, because last year we put them through an awful lot.
"We are just glad now that they have got something to latch on to for the next few weeks.
"It will be a good test for the players, as well. As a former player myself I know that it is always good to face the best players in the country."
The connection between Liverpool chief executive Rick Parry and Wrexham – both of his sons are involved in the Dragons’ youth set-up – has often been credited with helping to forge the friendship.
However, club secretary Geraint Parry says the Racecourse outfit’s relationship with the Reds has always gone beyond links with his namesake.
"The friendship has always gone beyond just the relationship with Rick Parry," he said. "Many of our best players have always come from the Liverpool area and we still have a strong Merseyside element in our squad.
"Out of the public eye we have always got on well with Liverpool at youth level.
"Their reserves have played here for the last three years and it is just nice that they have an opportunity to come to us."
"There is an awful lot that goes on between the two clubs beyond just the friendlies. That is not to say that we don’t receive help from Everton or United.
"But Liverpool have stuck with us and were a good friend during our dark days. They really did support us and it is nice that they are still helping us now and are continuing that friendship."
Despite the fixture coming early in the pre-season – Liverpool return to training on July 4 – Parry still expects to see Benitez field a strong line-up.
"We know it won’t be a full side, because a few of their players have been involved in internationals, but basically it will be the strongest available," he added.
"Even their fringe players, though, are all internationals.
"It will make for a really exciting pre-season."
Tickets go on sale on Monday at 10am. Police have insisted the game is an all-ticket affair, so no tickets will be available on the day.