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IT was a day that will live long in the memory but there is one thing that Carlos Edwards would change about Wrexham's famous cup triumph.

The Reds reached the LDV Vans Trophy final during a turbulent 2004-5 campaign and Denis Smith's men did not disappoint on the big stage at The Millennium Stadium, beating Southend United 2-0 after extra-time.

Flying winger Edwards, back in the side after missing the first half of the season due to a serious knee injury, got in the mood for the occasion by dying his hair red - something he wouldn't do again.

"What I would change is not dye my hair red!" said Edwards.

"My agent at the time was so spontaneous and he said: 'let's do that', so me being gullible I said I would dye my hair. I just fell into the trap.

"I can remember (assistant manager) Kevin Russell absolutely taking the mickey out of me.

"It could have gone both ways; I could have been on the losing side with red hair and thinking 'what was I doing' but it was better because I had red hair, we won the trophy and no-one said a word."

Crisis-club Wrexham were battling against relegation from League One after incurring a 10-point deduction for going into administration, with owner Alex Hamilton rejecting a series of takeover bids, but the run to the Cardiff showpiece was a welcome distraction for Edwards and his team-mates.

"You had a silly guy trying to disrupt the whole club and as a player, things play on your mind," said Edwards.

"It's a club you admire and fall in love with and the uncertainty for the club and the fans, it left a bitter taste in the mouth when you listened to everything that was going on.

"But there is always light at the end of the tunnel and going on that cup run, finishing at The Millennium Stadium, was that light at the end of the tunnel for us.

"What a brilliant day it was and the fans played their part."

Edwards hoped that the final would be at Wembley, which was being renovated, but he soon changed his mind after playing at The Millennium Stadium.

"I was praying it was at Wembley," said Edwards.

"But to be fair, a Welsh club playing a final in the Welsh national stadium, you couldn't ask for anything better.

"And The Millennium Stadium is the same quality as any top-level stadium so I wouldn't have changed it for anything."

Wrexham and Southend, flying high in League Two, could not be separated in 90 minutes.

But prolific striker Juan Ugarte and skipper Darren Ferguson scored in either half of extra-time to secure victory.

Edwards went on to play for Luton, Sunderland, Ipswich and Millwall, as well as represent Trinidad at the 2006 World Cup, but winning the LDV Vans Trophy is a feat he is proud of.

"Regardless of what cup it is, you want to win things, you want to achieve things," said Edwards.

"Whether it is the FAW Premier Cup, the LDV Vans Trophy or the Carling Cup, you want to say 'I was there, I lifted the trophy. I achieved something'.

"A lot of footballers have nothing to show for their careers. They may be on £50,000 a week but what have they achieved?

"That was one of the moments I realised that I want to win things, I want to get bigger and better."

Wrexham lost their battle against relegation but Edwards insists Smith's squad was not short of talent.

"When you look at the squad that we had, we had quality all round," said Edwards.

"Ben Foster came in and what a great goalkeeper he was; he went onto bigger and better things and is still doing his stuff in the top flight at the moment.

"When you have leaders like Darren Ferguson, and big Dennis Lawrence and Brian Carey, they were the pillars of the club at the time."

Fifteen years on and Wrexham are battling to avoid relegation from the National League but Edwards hopes there are better times ahead.

"Wrexham is so close to my heart," added Edwards. "I loved the club, I call it my second home.

"It is a wonderful club and I hope sooner rather than later they are back where they are supposed to be in the Football League."


SOURCE: leaderlive.co.uk