The Pain from Spain and the Ugarte Party
On Saturday (27/10/18) we renew old rivalries with Chesterfield for the first time in more than a decade.
Wrexham endured one of the most painful days in the club’s history at Saltergate but it was also the scene of one of the most surreal away wins.
Former striker Chris Llewelyn shares his memories of our last win at the Spireites.
We also look ahead at the team news for the big game.
The last time we played at Chesterfield was on New Year’s Day 2008.
We trailed 2-0 at half time before Steve Evans reduced the arrears at Saltergate. Neil Taylor was booked. Nine of the starting XI were Welsh.
Our last triumph their was way back on January 22, 2005. And what a win it was.
The hosts took the lead but were stunned by a quickfire double salvo from bearded Basque beauty Juan Ugarte (that’s ‘you-gart-eh’).
Spanish stopper Xavi Valero had been a total liability and was hooked by boss Denis Smith at the interval with Michael ‘Carrots’ Jones replacing him.
The irrepressible away day poacher Ugarte grabbed his third and fourth goals before Chesterfield struck a late consolation.
Valero had made his second howler in as many games. His goalkeeping was as wild as his hair. He never played for the club again as Smith captured future Manchester United and England goalkeeper Ben Foster on loan from Stoke City. The Reds boss had essentially traded in a Morris Minor for a Maserati.
Bizarrely, Valero (pictured below) has gone on to have a brilliant career as a goalkeeping coach, holding positions at Liverpool, Real Madrid and current employers West Ham United.
Chris Llewelyn started alongside Ugarte that day.
He told us: “Juan was a great finisher and I think we blended quite well. I basically did all his running and he stayed in the box!
“As for Valero…I recall that the players weren’t having him at all, even in training. I think the gaffer and Rooster (assistant boss Kevin Russell) had heard a few of us talking about how he made everyone nervous and they decided to act on it.”
The Ugarte Party was one of the better Saturdays in a tumultuous season which ended in relegation to League Two.
“I really enjoyed playing in that team”, added Llewelyn. “We should never have got relegated that year but the 10 point deduction (for entering administration) killed us.
“On our day we were a match for anyone, and unlucky for Chesterfield they caught us on a good day. I’m hoping for the same result on Saturday.”
Llewelyn keeps tabs on his old club and reckons Sam Ricketts could succeed were so many have failed before him.
“Yes I think they can (win promotion). I was really impressed with them when I watched the match against Dagenham. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.”
Dad-to-be for a second time Shaun Pearson is almost certain to be recalled to skipper the side for our first visit to the £13m Proact Stadium.
Mike Fondop could start after impressing in Tuesday’s FA Cup win over Harrogate whilst Luke Young looks to cement a run of starts after capping a fine performance with another corking strike from distance.
Commanding midfield beast Akil Wright should feature despite having seven stitches put in a head wound shortly after he broke his scoring duck for the Reds on Tuesday.
For the hosts, Martin Allen will hand a start to Zavon Hines in place of injured giant Tom Denton.
Former Wrexham goalkeeper Shwan Jalal has been sidelined with an Achilles problem whilst another ex-Red, Sam Wedgbury will be an interested onlooker as he recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament injury sustained at the start of the season.
Chesterfield are unbeaten in four games — their 3-1 FA Cup win at Fylde arrived off the back of three successive league draws.
They won their first two home games of the campaign but then lost four and drew one of the next five at a place that has been anything but a fortress for them so far.
August 11 was the last time Chesterfield’s restless fans saw their side triumph on home soil, Braintree Town going down by a solitary goal.