Ben Foster, the 40-year-old former England goalkeeper, recently experienced a career-first when he saved a last-minute penalty for Wrexham in their National League title showdown against Notts County. The 3-2 win was a vindication of his decision to come out of retirement and rejoin the club he first played for in 2005.
Foster had retired in September 2022 and was enjoying his newfound passion for golf, but when Wrexham came knocking, he knew there was no other club he would have come out of retirement for. He was grateful to Wrexham for giving him the opportunity to start his career and wanted to help out and take it seriously.
Foster’s career began at Stoke City, but it was his loan spell at Wrexham that caught the eye of then Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. He joined United in 2005 and spent five years at Old Trafford, twice helping the club win the League Cup. He then moved to Birmingham for a two-year spell and won the League Cup again in his first season before spending the second on loan at West Brom, who then signed him in the summer of 2012. After six campaigns at The Hawthorns, Foster rejoined Watford in 2018 and made the most recent of his 519 senior career appearances in the club’s final home game in the Premier League last season.
Foster made his international debut in 2007 and his final England appearance was in a group stage dead rubber against Costa Rica at the 2014 World Cup. His last-minute penalty save for Wrexham was one of the best games he had ever been involved in and despite being 40 years old, he still managed to get cramp in his calf when he made the save.
The win meant Wrexham seized the initiative as they target a return to the Football League after dropping out in 2008. However, Foster is mindful of Wrexham’s other Easter result – a 3-1 defeat at Halifax Town – that dented their automatic promotion hopes. He was gutted for the fans who had travelled four and a half hours to watch them, but was impressed by Wrexham’s new Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney who have had a professional and positive impact on the club and community.
Foster knows that the next four games are massive for Wrexham if they are to achieve their goal of returning to the Football League and has urged the team to keep their focus and not take anything for granted.