WAYNNE PHILLIPS was “privileged” to help Wrexham stun Arsenal – even if he was hoping for a replay.

It’s 30 years since Wrexham wrote the headlines after knocking Arsenal out of the FA Cup, Mickey Thomas cancelling out Alan Smith’s opener before Steve Watkin’s late winner left the Gunners on the receiving end of one of the competition’s biggest ever upsets.

But Phillips, who admits Arsenal should have killed the game off, was looking forward to a third round replay at Highbury when Thomas scored his famous free-kick.

“In all honesty we were battered first half,” said Phillips.“I didn’t realise until I watched the game back over the years how badly we were battered first half.

“The game should have been dead and buried but we hung in there.

“I am known for the guy who stood next to Mickey while he was taking the free-kick which isn’t great!

“I have got to admit, myself personally and I think the rest of the squad were looking forward to a replay down in Highbury.

“To have had the chance to play there, and then Steve goes and spoils it all with the winning goal.

“Great memories and I am privileged to have been part of it. To have played in that game and still to be talking about it years later is just unreal.”

Phillips – then aged 21- admits he fancied taking the free-kick but the more experienced Thomas was having none of it and his goal has gone down in folklore.

“Mickey said something to me but you couldn’t print it in the newspaper!” said Phillips. “It was along the likes of ‘leave it to me,’ and before I had any chance to dispute it with him, the ball was in the back of the net.

“Had I taken it, we may not have been speaking about the game today, it could have been somewhere down Mold Road!

“I was stood there for a reason but you know what Mickey was like. Most games we could have done with two balls, one for Mickey and one for ourselves because you couldn’t get the ball off him in games.

“Having had the honour to be Mickey’s friend and to travel with him for two years, it was a joy.

“To see someone of his experience, I was delighted that he celebrated like the rest of us, like a youngster himself.”

Watkin, like Phillips, was one of the younger players in the side and he got the winner six minutes from time.

Phillips agrees that Thomas’ wonderful free-kick is seen by many as the match-winner but he was delighted local lad Watkin put Wrexham into the fourth round.

“It does get forgotten,” said Phillips. “Being the friend I am with Steve, he is one of a handful of players I have kept in touch with over the years.

“It was the winning goal but maybe it’s the fact he spoilt it for us all as we were looking forward to a trip to Highbury.

“Steve being a local boy, I was made up that he scored the winning goal.”

Phillips considers Wrexham’s shock victory over Arsenal as an unbelievable feat.

“Like any other year, the day doesn’t go by without this game being spoke about,” he said.

“I am honoured to have been part of it, and still to be remembered for what and possibly is still one of the all-time FA Cup giant-killing acts.

“You look at the scale of it and it is harder to believe as years go by.

“Arsenal, the team they were and the international players they had in their side, and to have a scalp like that.”

Phillips helped write more headlines as he scored Wrexham’s first goal in a 2-2 draw at West Ham United in the fourth round. Wrexham lost the replay 1-0 but Phillips says manager Brian Flynn deserves credit for putting together a Reds’ side than went onto enjoy more success in the following years.

“My little bit of glory,” said Phillips. “That was a good day and the goal does top it off.

“It was a great goal, you just hit it and hope for the best, and my good friend Lee got the equaliser.

“We had a good squad, we had a togetherness about us, a mixture of experienced and young players, a great blend. Flynnie had a good knack of doing it, he knew how to put a team together.

“Those are the days you look back on and never forget.”