Ben Foster has agreed a new 12-month deal to stay at Wrexham.
Co-chairmen Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney had been eager to see the 40-year-old shot-stopper sign fresh terms at the Racecourse Ground after his impact in the final eight games of last season.
After weeks of deliberation, Foster, who will play in Soccer Aid on Sunday, has agreed to a new deal and will look to solidify himself as Wrexham’s No 1 for their first season back in League Two.
‘At the end of last season it was obvious that I enjoyed being at the club, I loved being part of the team and everything that Wrexham stands for,’ Foster said.
‘The fans took to me so warmly, Phil Parkinson is brilliant, Steve Parkin is top class, I love [goalkeeping coach] Aidan Davison to bits, and the Co-Chairmen are out of this world. I’d decided before the end of last season I wanted to do it, because it feels like home. I’ve never joined a football club and felt at ease so quickly.’
Ben Foster (right) has been convinced by Ryan Reynolds (left) to sign a new deal with Wrexham
Foster proved a hit after arriving last season with eight games to go – and he is sticking around
Foster arrived following an injury to No 1 Rob Lainton and produced a series of match-winning displays – including a 97th-minute penalty save against promotion rivals Notts County – that helped seal the National League title.
He had been hinting that a new deal was in the offing but the former Manchester United, Watford, Birmingham and West Brom star has taken away any doubt now.
‘We’re delighted that Ben has signed for the coming season,’ boss Phil Parkinson said.
‘It’s a key signing for us because we all saw the impact, he had not just on the pitch but also around the training ground, and we are all looking forward to working with him again next season.’
Asked last month why it was such a tricky decision, Foster, who is a prominent figure on YouTube now with his Fozcast podcast, said: ‘You have to contemplate it because to be part of Wrexham is a special thing.
‘It’s nice to be a man of leisure and freedom and I really enjoyed my retirement. I had a great time for nine months.
‘But everybody who plays here can see that Wrexham is a really special club.’
Foster has struck up a particularly close relationship with co-chairmen Reynolds and McElhenney.
After his match-winning display against Notts County he revealed the Hollywood stars could not contain their excitement around him.
‘Rob kissed me fully on the lips and Ryan called me a double handsome b*****d,’ Foster said after the game. ‘I’ll take that.’
‘They’re so happy, if you could order an absolute bob on, top of the class, top of the range owner, then you would just package them two up because they are as good as it gets.
‘It means so much to them, they care so much, they do it properly. I’ve been here for what three weeks now and it’s ran so professionally you would not believe. It is ridiculous how they run it, so fair play to them they deserve all they get.’
Co-chairmen Rob McElhenney and Reynolds have been delighted with Foster’s contribution
The goalkeeper was embraced by a stunned Reynolds in the tunnel during a match last season
McElhenney hailed Foster’s impact and getting him to re-sign has proven to be a priority
Deadpool star Reynolds and Foster have struck up a close bond and the goalkeeper recently revealed a special gift given to him by the Canadian megastar.
Reynolds went viral after Wrexham sealed promotion with a 3-1 win over Boreham Wood when he marched into the press room and demanded Foster’s match-worn shirt – something that had actually been pre-agreed.
Now Foster has revealed on his Fozcast podcast the gift heading the other way from the US.
‘This is incredible right so, Ryan Reynolds text me the day of the [Boreham Wood] game to say, “can I have your shirt?”,’ Foster said.
‘I was like “yeah cool” and he was like “cool, because I’ve got something for you as well”.
‘I was like “what on earth’s this?” So anyway he texted me yesterday and said “I forgot to tell you what it is”.
‘He says, “I was going through my memorabilia the other day of Deadpool and I found the original gloves that I wore in the film”.’