DEAN KEATES insists that he had no intention of leaving Wrexham after signing a new one-year contract yesterday.
Nearly three weeks have elapsed since player/boss Andy Morrell announced that Keates was among those members of last season’s squad to have been offered new terms.
Speculation that Keates was poised to leave the club has been rife, but the 33-year-old has put an end to the rumours by agreeing a new deal, albeit on reduced terms to that of his previous contract.
“There was some negotiating to be done,” admitted Keates. “I am taking a pay cut to stay but it is not a million miles away from what I wanted.
“I wasn’t the highest earner at the club by any means but the level of the contract offer was a no-go and I had a very good offer from a League Two club.
“I sat down with Andy Morrell and Billy Barr and we spoke honestly and openly about things, we understood where each person was coming from and I am happy to get it sorted out.
“It hasn’t dragged on too much, although it has dragged on longer than I would have liked, but we were never a million miles away from each other.
“I understand that the club has to cut its cloth accordingly and that wasn’t a problem for me because I stayed last season when we weren’t getting paid and the club was at a low point.
“Since then the club is on the up and I want to be a part of something successful.”
Key to Keates’ decision was his family. Had the midfielder taken up the League Two club’s offer then he would have been miles away from his children, whereas playing for Wrexham means that he is just five minutes from his base.
“At my age I feel I have a few years left in me, but I had three kids and my family is important to me,” he said.
“I had an offer that would have meant four or five nights away from my family every week and I don’t want to be doing that.
“I also had offers from teams in this league and offers to go part-time but this is the best situation for me and my family.
“That was another reason why it took a while to re-sign with Wrexham; I needed to make sure what I was doing was right for everyone.”
Having sorted out his contract, Keates is now targeting an injury free pre-season in order to prove to the fans that he was worth another 12 months.
A fractured ankle on the second day of pre-season ruined his start to the 2011/12 Conference Premier, while a broken collarbone disrupted the middle part of last term and a toe injury meant that he played the last six weeks of the campaign with pain killing injections.
“Hopefully I can make it to the third day of pre-season without getting injured,” joked Keates. “Last season was a massive frustration for me because missing pre-season means you are six weeks behind everyone else.
“When I was fit the team was doing well so I missed games and then when I got in the side I injured my collarbone and missed another 10 weeks.
“Even at the end of the season I was having problems with a bunion on my toe which gave me tendonitis and meant that I needed injections to get through games.
“I am seeing a specialist and hopefully everything will be healed and I can get a full pre-season in.”
- Wrexham have confirmed that they will travel to Moss Lane for a pre-season friendly with Altrincham on Saturday, August 4, (3pm).
The game is set to be Wrexham’s final weekend game before the scheduled start of the Conference Premier seven days later.