BRYAN HUGHES couldn’t give success-starved supporters the promotion they crave - but he has urged fans to keep the faith as Wrexham prepare for a 13th season in non-league.

A product of the Racecourse youth system, Hughes enjoyed a stellar playing career and returned to the club as manager in February 2019, guiding the Reds to the play-offs where the promotion challenge was ended by Eastleigh in the eliminator.

Despite making a promising start to the 2019-20 campaign, Wrexham were unable to maintain that early promise and Hughes was sacked following the 3-2 defeat at Fylde on September 24 with the Reds in the relegation zone.

Dean Keates returned as manager for a second spell but Wrexham were still battling to beat the drop when the season was suspended by the coronavirus in March.

Clubs voted to finish the campaign the following month with final league positions last week determined on an unweighted points-per-game basis, meaning Wrexham ended just above the bottom four.

It was the worst season in Wrexham’s history and there has been growing disharmony amongst supporters at the way the club has been run, but Hughes urged the Reds’ faithful not to let their backing waver.

“Now that this season has come to an end, and after much reflecting on my time as manager at Wrexham Football Club, I think it’s the right time to voice my thoughts and feelings on my time at the club,” said Hughes.

“I’ve tried to stay quiet since I left, and feel as though I didn’t get a chance to say my farewells to everyone associated with the club as well as share my thoughts on my departure from the club after 12 league games of the season.

“To all the club staff, management team, players and fans, I would personally like to thank you all for your support throughout my time as manager of your club, in what has turned out to be a very strange season for everyone.

“All of you are entitled to your own views on where this season went wrong, and I respect that totally.

“Everyone should have an opinion being a fan owned club, but please keep investing your time, effort and patience, as you all are a credit to this fantastic club. I truly wish nothing but success for the club going forward.”

Hughes lasted less than a year in the Wrexham hotseat but he was proud to manage the club where he first made his name as a player, and has nothing but praise for supporters.

“It still hurts me how my time as manager ended, but I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to manage the club that gave me my opportunity in the world of football,” said Hughes.

“Wrexham Football Club as a whole means a lot to me, and I’m honoured to have represented the club as a player and manager.

“As a player and manager, I experienced good days and bad days at the office. The key to both is the fans, and believing in the process.

“Whether I was a young player or young manager, you rely on the fans’ support in both scenarios. The fans’ support at Wrexham home and away is by far the best in the league.”

Hughes has kept his silence since leaving Wrexham but he himself contacted The Leader wishing to give his side of the story and say farewell to everyone connected with the club.

“I didn’t get a chance to say my goodbyes after the Fylde game when I was dismissed, and it reminded me of a similar scenario for myself when I left the club as a player after that FA Cup quarter-final defeat at Chesterfield in 1997,” added Hughes. “I didn’t want the same thing to happen, and feel you deserved some recognition and reflection from me during my time as manager.

“The people that know me, and have worked with me, know that I’m an honest and very loyal person, and that is why I’d like to share my thoughts with you all.”