ANDY DIBBLE could tell straight away that Ben Foster was destined to play at the very top - and he helped pave the way for a dream move to Manchester United.

Dibble was first choice goalkeeper at Wrexham when he picked up a hip injury midway through the 2004-5 season so Reds' boss Denis Smith signed the inexperienced Foster on loan from Stoke as a replacement.

Foster was a revelation at The Racecourse and he helped Wrexham reach the LDV Vans Trophy final where extra-time goals from Juan Ugarte and Darren Ferguson secured a 2-0 win over Southend on an historic day for the club.

The Reds' captain's father - Sir Alex Ferguson - was at The Millennium Stadium that day and saw Foster produce a man of the match performance.

Sir Alex asked Dibble what he thought of Foster and the rest was history as the stopper made the switch to Old Trafford that summer.

Former England international Foster has been a consistent performer in the Premier League this term with Watford but Dibble is not surprised.

"Sadly, that was the start of my playing career coming to an end with the hip flexor problem I had," said Dibble.

"I have often said to people, they don't realise that my misfortune was the start of Ben's fantastic career.

"I remember Sir Alex phoning me and I said: 'listen, this lad can go all the way'.

"I just started doing little bits of coaching then with my career coming to an end and I could see with my own eyes where he was going to go to.

"I have followed Ben's path and kept in touch with him, he is a fantastic guy and a model professional."

Injury prevented Dibble from playing in the Welsh capital showpiece but he was made to feel part of the occasion by Smith.

"I was there for the final and I was helping the goalkeepers warm-up," said Dibble.

"It was still a great day and I was still a part of it. And I got a medal."

Much-travelled Dibble played at the highest level and won the League Cup with Luton Town in 1987-88.

The LDV Vans Trophy might not be seen to have the same prestige but try telling that to the 54-year-old.

"It was fantastic getting to The Millennium Stadium," said Dibble.

"Any team that goes to a major final, it is brilliant; it is a great day out for everybody, especially when you win.

"It was fantastic to bring a trophy back to Wrexham.

"Those trophies are massive for the clubs who are not in with the big boys."

Ugarte opened the scoring and Wrexham knew they would be crowned cup winners when Ferguson got the second goal late in extra time.

"Darren's goal will live with him forever," said Dibble. "It is what dreams are made of and everybody went wild."

Dibble also enjoyed the post match celebrations and says the cup victory was reward for everyone at the club who had seen Wrexham forced into administration and deduced 10 points in League One as punishment.

"We had a great night afterwards in the Vale of Glamorgan hotel which is where I am now based," said Dibble, who is Cardiff City's goalkeeper coach.

"When you go and win a trophy like that, it takes your mind off things that are going on around you.

"For the town and the community, it was a great day for everyone involved."

Wrexham lost their battle against relegation and Dibble was released at the end of the season.

But his three-year spell at The Racecourse, which included the 2002-3 promotion-campaign as well as the cup success, will never be forgotten. "I loved my time at Wrexham," added Dibble, whose son Christian is in the current Reds' squad.

"What happened with the club was sad and when I left, Denis Smith was a bit tearful when he told me because he wanted me to stay but couldn't because of the financial restraints.

"It was sad when I left because it was a very special time in my life when I was at Wrexham.

"It was fantastic and some great memories."