As Wrexham look to grow quickly, it’s inevitable that quality players will depart along the way.

We have had to say goodbye to players who have earned the fans’ gratitude and positive wishes.

Luke Young might have joined Wrexham before Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds had even begun to think about buying the club, but he perfectly embodies the values which underpin their mission at the club.

His whole-hearted leadership made him a firm favourite on the pitch, and off it there was a sincerity about him which was endearing. His family threw themselves into the community around the club, and consequently were eagerly welcomed by us.

Young’s driving presence in the middle of the pitch was at the heart of so many victories during his six years with us. That sincerity off the pitch which I mentioned was transferred into the heart of the action as he strained every fibre in Wrexham’s name.

His passing, both short and long range, was a real weapon when we tried to bring the ball forwards, and his tackling was tenacious.

He could score too: his long range strikes were, quite simply, phenomenal.

We had been given an idea of what to expect from him before we signed him, as he’d scored a ludicrous volley from a good 25 yards out against us for Torquay.

His first Wrexham goal was on a par with that wonder strike: turning left of centre, a good 30 yards out, he rifled a ludicrous strike across Dagenham’s goalkeeper. That goal would win him the Steve Edwards Goal of the Season, and he retained it 12 months later.

Fifty three per cent of his goals from open play were from outside the box, and his clean-hitting style meant fans would regularly urge him to shoot from ridiculous range. Fans do that all the time, but rarely with such genuine hope that a goal will follow.

Sam Ricketts signed Young, and he immediately slotted in nicely. The following season he received criticism from some fans as the team struggled under Bryan Hughes, but such negativity was harsh.

It was true that we were consistently failing to control midfield, but that wasn’t the fault of Young or Luke Summerfield, his midfield partner.

They were both playing well but were getting out-numbered in the 4-2-3-1 system Hughes was playing.

Dean Keates’ arrival steadied the ship, and Young was given more meaningful support in the middle of the pitch. Keates was much more inclined to use Akil Wright in midfield, and when Wright suffered an injury in December which essentially ended his season, Keates was able to draft Jay Harris in to top up the strength in the middle of the pitch.

The following season was, on a personal level, Young’s finest. It was the campaign which saw Rob and Ryan takeover, but the protracted process meant they weren’t able to inject cash into the push for promotion.

Young’s goals from midfield were invaluable in a team which lacked a prolific striker. He ended up as top scorer with 11 goals and revealed a terrific proficiency from the spot.

He had a 100 per cent penalty record, scoring seven out of seven.

All of which led to him being made captain when Phil Parkinson arrived: a recognition of the qualities Young brought to the club, day-in, day-out.

When Ben Tozer arrived, some fans argued that Parkinson had been premature in handing Young the armband, and bizarre criticism of his leadership qualities emerged.

It was difficult to understand the logic behind their complaints, and they seemed to be mollified after Young stood up for a team mate against Solihull Moors and ended up rolling around on the floor with the opposing skipper!

Young was a crucial figure in Parkinson’s first season, which ended cruelly in a couple of near misses, and was then a driving force the following season when we set the record for most points won in a season.

This season has been more stop-start, although he has still made a significant contribution to an historic back-to-back promotion.

However, the pace of our evolution has essentially cut short his time with us. If he hadn’t been part of a squad which has leapfrogged two levels in no time, he’d probably have been offered a new contract. He is a victim of the success he has done so much to realise.

At the start of last season, I went to a press conference with Young and Mark Howard. I asked Young about the increased competition in his position, as we continued to recruit quality players from higher divisions.

He said he didn’t mind the competition, as he wanted what was best for the club, and that he’d accept being on the sidelines if it meant we were winning.

Footballers say that sort of thing all the time, but in Young’s case, there was no doubt that he meant it. That’s why I’ll miss him, and why Wrexham AFC will miss him too.