Darren Wrack

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Darren Wrack
Personal information
Full name Darren Wreck[1]
Date of birth (1976-05-05) 5 May 1976 (age 41)
Place of birth Cleethorpes, England
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
Derby County
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1994–1996 Derby County 26 (1)
1996–1998 Grimsby Town 13 (1)
1997 Shrewsbury Town (loan) 4 (0)
1998–2008 Walsall 336 (46)
2008–2010 Kettering Town 64 (1)
2010–2011 Stafford Rangers 6 (0)
Total 449 (49)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

Darren Wrack (born 5 May 1976) is an English former professional footballer who played as a midfielder; he now works as chief scout at Port Vale. He scored 55 goals from 509 league and cup appearances in a 17-year career in the English Football League and Conference.

He began his career at Derby County in 1994, and helped the club to win promotion out of the First Division in 1995–96, before he was sold on to Grimsby Town in July 1996. He never established himself in the Grimsby first team, and had a brief loan spell at Shrewsbury Town, before moving on to Walsall in July 1998. He went on to spend ten years with the club, winning promotion out of the Second Division in 1998–99 and out of League Two in 2006–07. He was also voted onto the PFA Team of the Year in 1998–99. He joined Kettering Town in July 2008 after receiving treatment at the Sporting Chance Clinic for a gambling addiction. He joined Stafford Rangers in September 2010, before announcing his retirement in January 2011. He later worked as a scout for Brighton & Hove Albion and Port Vale.

Playing career[edit]

Derby County[edit]

Wrack began his career as a trainee at Derby County in 1994, and made his debut for the "Rams" under Roy McFarland in the 1994–95 season. Jim Smith led the club to promotion into the Premier League as runners-up of the First Division in 1995–96. Wrack played 31 games during his two seasons at the Baseball Ground.

Grimsby Town[edit]

Wrack returned home to Cleethorpes and signed with his home town club Grimsby Town in July 1996 for a fee of £100,000. He was handed his "Mariners" debut by player-manager Brian Laws on 17 August 1996 when he came on as a 78th-minute replacement for Neil Woods in Town's 3–1 home defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers. Grimsby were relegated from the First Division at the end of the 1996–97 season with Wrack featuring 11 times, scoring once in a 1–1 away draw with Reading. During the same season Wrack also spent a month on loan at Shrewsbury Town, featuring in five games for Fred Davies's "Shrews".[2] During the 1997–98 season, with the club now under the tenure of Alan Buckley, Wrack failed to make an impact in the first team with the likes of Kevin Donovan, Tommy Widdrington and Paul Groves favoured over Wrack. Wrack would only feature twice for Grimsby under Buckley this season, a Football League Trophy victory over Hull City and a league defeat to Northampton Town. Grimsby earned promotion back to the First Division via the play-offs as well as winning the Football League Trophy in a Wembley double, however Wrack did not feature in either occasion. Speaking in 2006, Wrack stated that he felt he was "never given the chance to shine" at Blundell Park.[3]

Walsall[edit]

Wrack was signed by Walsall manager Ray Graydon on a free transfer in July 1998.[4] He was voted onto the PFA Team of the Year as the "Saddlers" secured promotion out of the Second Division in the 1998–99 season after finishing in second place behind runaway leaders Fulham.[5][6] He played 50 games during the 1999–2000 season as Walsall were immediately relegated back into the Second Division. Walsall achieved promotion via the play-offs at the end of the 2000–01 campaign, but Wrack was not included in the matchday squad for the play-off final victory over Reading.[7] He signed a new one-year contract in July 2002.[8] He scored seven goals from 50 games in the 2002–03 season, and manager Colin Lee praised Wrack's versatility and willingness to play out of position.[9] He signed a new two-year contract in June 2003.[10] He was limited to 29 appearances during the 2003–04 season due to injury problems as Walsall suffered relegation.[11]

He scored seven goals in 43 League One games during the 2004–05 season. He signed a new contract in June 2005 which resulted in a pay cut but guaranteed him a testimonial; manager Paul Merson said that: "this is a real boost to us because when he's fit his name is first on the team sheet".[12] Wrack broke his leg following a challenge by Colin Miles during a 2–1 defeat to Yeovil Town in September 2005.[13][14][15] It took him 13 months to return to full fitness, during which time Walsall were relegated.[16] He marked his return to action with a last-minute goal in a 1–1 draw with Swansea City in an Football League Trophy tie on 17 October 2006.[17] However, he pulled his hamstring during a 1–0 win over Hereford United on 18 November, which was only his second league start in a year.[18] New manager Richard Money led the club to the League Two title in the 2006–07 season.[19][20] Wrack was given a testimonial game against Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Bescot Stadium in April 2008, which attracted only 1,330 supporters.[21] Both Wrack and long-time teammate Ian Roper were released by the club the following month; this was despite Wrack playing 44 games during the 2007–08 season.[22]

Later career[edit]

Wrack joined Mark Cooper's Kettering Town in July 2008.[2] He made 41 appearances across the 2008–09 campaign. The "Poppies" reached the Second Round of the FA Cup in the 2009–10 season, and took Leeds United to a replay at Elland Road.[23] He was given a one-year contract extension by manager Lee Harper in May 2010.[24] However Wrack left Rockingham Road in September 2010 and joined Conference North side Stafford Rangers. He was sent off in manager Tim Flowers's first game in charge and the resulting three-game suspension and a series of call-offs due to the weather limited his appearances at Marston Road.[25][26] He announced his retirement from the game in January 2011.[27]

Scouting career[edit]

Wrack joined Brighton & Hove Albion as a scout in April 2012.[28] He assisted Port Vale caretaker-manager Michael Brown with scouting in January 2017, and was confirmed as the club's chief scout four months later[29][30]

Personal life[edit]

Wrack lost over £500,000 due to a gambling addiction and in June 2008 received treatment at the Sporting Chance Clinic in Hampshire after becoming suicidal.[31] He said that "I was living in a dream world. It's a sad fact that gambling took everything from me."[32] He married Lisa and the couple had a daughter, Macey, born in 2009.[26]

Statistics[edit]

  • Sourced from Darren Wrack profile at the English National Football Archive (subscription required)
Club Season Division League FA Cup Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Derby County 1994–95 First Division 16 1 1 0 0 0 17 1
1995–96 First Division 10 0 1 0 3 0 14 0
Total 26 1 2 0 3 0 31 1
Shrewsbury Town (loan) 1996–97 Second Division 4 0 0 0 1 0 5 0
Grimsby Town 1996–97 First Division 12 1 0 0 0 0 12 1
1997–98 Second Division 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 0
Total 13 1 0 0 1 0 14 1
Walsall 1998–99 Second Division 46 13 2 0 8 1 56 14
1999–2000 First Division 44 4 2 0 4 0 50 4
2000–01 Second Division 28 4 2 1 3 0 33 5
2001–02 First Division 43 4 3 0 2 1 48 5
2002–03 First Division 43 6 4 1 3 0 50 7
2003–04 First Division 27 6 1 0 1 0 29 6
2004–05 League One 43 7 1 1 3 0 47 8
2005–06 League One 7 0 0 0 0 0 7 0
2006–07 League Two 18 1 1 0 1 1 20 2
2007–08 League One 37 1 5 0 2 0 44 1
Total 336 46 21 3 27 3 384 52
Kettering Town 2008–09[33] Conference Premier 36 0 5 0 0 0 41 0
2009–10[34] Conference Premier 27 1 1 0 0 0 28 1
2010–11[35] Conference Premier 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 63 1 6 0 0 0 69 1
Stafford Rangers 2010–11[36] Conference North 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 0
Career total 448 49 29 3 32 3 509 55

Honours[edit]

Awards
Derby County
Walsall

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Darren Wrack". Barry Hugman's Footballers. Retrieved 9 March 2017. 
  2. ^ a b "Kettering sign midfielder Wrack". BBC Sport. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  3. ^ Olley, Jake. "Darren Wrack Interview". thefishy.co.uk. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  4. ^ "Forest boss facing striker crisis; double signing for Saddlers.". Birmingham Evening Mail (England). 5 August 1998. Retrieved 5 July 2008.  "Ray Graydon has snapped-up Darren Wrack from Grimsby and Jason Brissett from Bournemouth. Both players have been signed on free contracts. ... "
  5. ^ a b "Up where we belong! Graydon upsets the odds to take Walsall into Division One.". Birmingham Evening Mail (England). 19 May 1999. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  6. ^ a b Hugman, Barry J., ed. (1999). The 1999–2000 Official PFA Footballers Factfile. AFS. p. 352. ISBN 1-85291-607-9. 
  7. ^ "BBC SPORT | ENGLISH DIVISION 2 | Walsall break Reading hearts". BBC Sport. 18 May 2001. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  8. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | Teams | Walsall | Contracts boost for Walsall". BBC Sport. 2 July 2002. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  9. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Lee delighted with Wrack". BBC Sport. 4 March 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Wrack signs new deal". BBC Sport. 3 June 2003. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Wrack up for the challenge". BBC Sport. 4 August 2004. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  12. ^ "Merson boosted by Wrack agreement". BBC Sport. 25 June 2005. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  13. ^ Marston, Paul (11 September 2005). "Football: WRACK HORROR; Midfielder out for season after sickening leg break. - Free Online Library". Sunday Mercury. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  14. ^ "Wrack undergoes ligament surgery". BBC Sport. 14 September 2005. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  15. ^ "Saddlers' Wrack glad to be back". BBC Sport. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  16. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Saddlers' Wrack glad to be back". BBC Sport. 8 November 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  17. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Wrack ready to repay fans' faith". BBC Sport. 19 October 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  18. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Hamstring pull knocks Wrack back". BBC Sport. 21 November 2006. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  19. ^ a b "Swindon 1–1 Walsall". BBC Sport. 5 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  20. ^ "Promoted Walsall's open top tour". BBC Sport. 8 May 2007. Retrieved 5 July 2008. 
  21. ^ Ashdown, John (21 June 2011). "Which is the least successful testimonial match ever?". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  22. ^ "BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Walsall | Wrack and Roper leaving Saddlers". BBC Sport. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  23. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Leeds 5-1 Kettering". BBC Sport. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  24. ^ "BBC Sport - Football - Kettering boss Lee Harper and squad members agree deals". BBC Sport. 18 May 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  25. ^ "Darren Wrack incensed by red card « Express & Star". Express and Star. 25 October 2010. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  26. ^ a b "Darren Wrack announces retirement « Express & Star". Express and Star. 5 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  27. ^ "Cleethorpes-born footballer Darren Wrack hangs up his boots". Grimsby Telegraph. 10 January 2011. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  28. ^ Naylor, Andy (9 March 2015). "Albion Analysis: New scouting team will play a vital role in the club's recovery". The Argus. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  29. ^ Baggaley, Mike (1 February 2017). "Port Vale talking points: Did Vale have a good transfer window?". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 1 February 2017. 
  30. ^ Baggaley, Mike (3 May 2017). "Port Vale confirm Michael Brown is new manager". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 3 May 2017. 
  31. ^ "BBC NEWS | UK | England | West Midlands | Player reveals gambling addiction". BBC News. 6 June 2008. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  32. ^ Walters, Mike (24 January 2009). "I gambled away pounds 700,000.. I was close to suicide.. but luckily my manager was Paul Merson SAYS DARREN WRACK; The FA CUP e-on FOURTH ROUND, KETTERING VFULHAM, KO 3PM. - Free Online Library". www.thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 12 January 2017. 
  33. ^ "Games played by Darren Wrack in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  34. ^ "Games played by Darren Wrack in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  35. ^ "Games played by Darren Wrack in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 1 January 2017. 
  36. ^ Darren Wrack at Soccerway