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HECTOR Sam returns to the place where it all began on Saturday. It is a prospect he is relishing.


The Trinidad & Tobago International arrived on these shores in 2000 when he signed for Wrexham from his native Trinidad.

During his five-year stay at the Racecourse Ground he scored 40 goals in 176 appearances becoming a real fan-favourite.

However, as he revealed, it was only by chance that he made the move from the Caribbean to Wales.

An agent was watching one of Sam's teammates play for Trinidadian outfit, San Juan Jabloteh, when he too caught the eye. That teammate was Carlos Edwards, who is now plying his trade with Championship outfit, Luton Town.

The pair, who were playing semi-professionally at the time, were flown over to Wrexham and, after impressing during a trial period, signed pro forms with The Red Dragons.

"It was just a bit of luck," explained the 28 year-old hit-man. "I was playing in the semi-professional league back home when my agent as he is now came over and offered me the chance to go to Wrexham.

"Me and Carlos caught a plane over and Denis Smith liked what he saw. We both signed professional deals. It was a great moment."

That £125,000 move from his homeland fulfilled a lifelong ambition. As a child growing up in Trinidad he had watched top-flight English football almost religiously. Supporting Liverpool, the then 22 year-old couldn't wait to ply his trade in the English Leagues.

"I used to watch Ian Rush and John Barnes and it was a dream come true to come over here and play football.

"I've enjoyed every minute of my career and am just grateful to have had the opportunity to play football here."

However, one thing that the young Sam neither enjoyed nor was prepared for was the British climate. He describes the Wrexham winters as a 'disgrace' and revealed that he spent a large chunk of his wages on hats, scarves and gloves! He is quick to point out though that the warmth of the people more than made up for the cold climate.

"The Wrexham supporters really took me to their hearts and used to sing 'Hector Sam, Sam, Sam!' It was a great feeling and there are some great people at the club.

"I scored quite a lot of goals for them and although I'm just concentrating on Walsall these days, I have fond memories of my time with Wrexham.

"Because of my agent there were a few Trinidadians at the club and that was another reason why enjoyed my time there."

In fact it was in Wales that Sam first linked up with Clayton Ince. The Saddlers' Number One trained with Wrexham but due to work permit troubles never managed a first-team appearance.

"Me and Big 'Clayts' hit it off straight away and, like me, he wasn't a big fan of the weather. Then again, we had just come from the Caribbean!

"It's great that we're playing together at Walsall now."

After five years in Wales, Sam moved on to Port Vale before arriving at Bescot Stadium in the summer. His infectious smile and sunny disposition have made him a popular figure in the dressing room and now, as competition for places heats up, he is looking to work his way back into the starting XI after starting the last two games on the bench.

"We have a lot of competition for places and I've just got to show the Gaffer what I can do.

"I'll work hard in training and when I get into the team I'll be doing my best to keep stay there."

"We're having a great season so far and that's because we have such a strong squad with lots of competition. I'm really enjoying myself."

So this weekend, as Sam prepares to be reunited with his former team, what would be his ideal Pre-Christmas gift?

"Well, I enjoyed my time at Wrexham but I'd have to say three points on Saturday. If we're talking about the perfect scenario, how about 3-0 Walsall with a Hector Sam hat-trick?!"

Anyone who's seen that trademark grin wouldn't deny him that surely? Well, may be the odd Welshman...