I SUPPOSE this is a farewell to arms and specifically the arms which launched a thousand throws into the opposition’s penalty area.

Ben Tozer achieved so much in his three years at the club. Everyone knows about his long throws, and I’ll get to them later, but they’re a gimmick compared to the tangible benefits he brought to the club.

First and foremost, Tozer has been a rock in the centre of our back three. Terrific in the air and strong in the tackle, what he lacked in pace he usually made up for in positioning and nous. When he was left exposed against a fast striker, the way he would channel them down the side of the pitch, getting close but not so close that they could burst past him, was a masterpiece.

He also used his wide range of passing to initiate attacks.

He would hit diagonals to either flank, which most players shy away from, and would drive forwards into space in midfield to animate an attack.

For me, the most notable aspect of his passing was how keen he was to get the ball moving forwards. He constantly wanted to get on the front foot and force the opposition to defend, rather than indulge in passive passing at the back.

If we ever fell back into a low tempo approach, it would be in spite of Tozer.

So now we come to the long throws.

It amused me that we were often given the label “long ball team” in the more ignorant corners of the media, simply because we had a player with a long throw!

Tozer slinging the ball deep into the opposing penalty area was merely an alternative weapon we could call upon: there’s no rule saying that you have to play like the Wimbledon of the 1980s if one of your players has a long throw!

It was an effective weapon, not only because it caused panic among opposing defences, but because it had a positive effect on players and fans alike.

The roar of excitement in the crowd would begin when the ball went out for a throw within 30 yards of the other side’s goal. It would build as Tozer leaned back onto the advertising hoardings, stretching his back muscles, before he propelled himself forwards and – snap! – his torso would suddenly bend, propelling the ball into the danger area.

He got assists from those throws, and we also benefitted from them if they didn’t lead directly to a goal: the difficulty teams had in clearing the ball effectively meant we could often pen them into their penalty area, hoover up the loose balls at the edge of the box and deliver again.

He had two distinct types of throw, with plenty of room for improvisation in between. His looping throws got more distance and, although the defence had more time to read their flight, the relative lack of pace on them made it more difficult to clear them any distance.

His flat, arrowed throws could still reach the centre of the six yard box and gave little time for defenders to react.

My favourite of those was in the last six minutes against Chesterfield in his first season with us.

A throw was cleared back towards him and went out of play, near the corner flag, and he swiftly grabbed the ball, ran part of the way down the entrance to the concourse under the Mold Road Stand, and used the extra length of his run-up to swiftly hurl a flat, high velocity throw into the goalmouth. Chesterfield were still regrouping and caught off guard as Mullin directed home an equaliser which earned us a point.

He reminds me of Shaun Pearson, because he has high standards and is uncompromising in his desire to see everyone match up to them.

Suffice to say, you wouldn’t get away with shirking your responsibilities with Tozer on the pitch. Every team needs characters like that.

It was the magnificence of Eoghan O’Connell that ultimately led to Tozer’s departure. He’d suffered a wobble in form around October, but after a rest from the team returned in excellent form.

However, there was a need to reshuffle things after we suffered our post-Christmas dip, and when a home defeat to Bradford meant we’d lost four in a row, Tozer was one of those to make way.

O’Connell took Tozer’s spot in the middle of the back three, and was utterly magnificent. With more mobile options than Tozer for the wide centre back spots, it was clear he’d find it difficult to break back into the side.

Having played every minute of all but four of the 118 league games we’d played since his arrival, he managed just 48 minutes, all off the bench, in our final 17 matches of the season.

The latter statistic is an unfortunate way for a glorious career at Wrexham to end, but the former is evidence of the massive contribution he has made to the crucial opening years of Rob and Ryan’s revolution.