As part of a regular feature, we take a look at what some ex-Swansea City favourites have done since leaving SA1.
Here we catch up with Wrexham manager Sam Ricketts.
Sam Ricketts quickly established himself as a regular in Swansea City’s starting XI after signing from Conference side Telford United in May 2004.
The Aylesbury-born defender played 42 times in League Two during the 2004-05 season – the final campaign at Vetch Field – as the Swans gained promotion to the third tier following a 1-0 victory over Bury on the final day.
Meanwhile, he also made his international debut for Wales against Hungary that February – the first of 52 caps he would win.
However, a memorable season got off to a shaky start for both the Swans and Ricketts, who put through his own net in the 2-0 defeat by Northampton Town on the opening weekend.
“We were 1-0 down in the last minute of the match when I scored my own goal, so I’m just thankful it didn’t change the outcome of the game,” he smiles.
“The 2004-05 season was fantastic. Playing at the Vetch in its final year was incredible and there was something particularly special about the night games under the floodlights.
“Obviously, it’s a period I look back on with huge fondness, with my international debut for Wales coming during that season too.”
Both Ricketts’ and the Swans’ good form continued the following campaign.
The defender made 55 appearances in all competitions as Kenny Jackett’s side finished sixth in League One and booked their place in the play-offs.
However, there was to be no happy ending in South Wales, with the Swans agonisingly losing to Barnsley on penalties in the final in Cardiff.
“We had something like 27 shots to their seven during the game,” Ricketts recalls. “But the match finished in a 2-2 draw and we lost in the lottery of the penalty shootout.”
That proved to be Ricketts’ final appearance for the Swans before joining Hull City in the summer of 2006.
He would go on to represent the Tigers in the Premier League during the 2008-09 season, and played in the top division for a further three years at Bolton Wanderers.
Spells at Wolverhampton Wanderers, Swindon Town and Coventry City followed before he announced his retirement towards the end of 2017.
“I was coaching at first-team level at Coventry and I also went out to visit other clubs to see how they do things including Middlesbrough, Celtic, Stoke and Blackburn,” he explains.
“I have always been interested in coaching and management. I started out by getting my Uefa B Licence about three years ago followed by my A Licence, and I’m currently working towards my full licence through the FAW.”
In May, Ricketts was appointed manager of National League club Wrexham, where he signed a three-year contract.
The Dragons have enjoyed an excellent start to the season, with Ricketts making a big impact.
“It’s been a good start to the season,” he says. “We’ll look to continue to improve as a team and I’ll look to continue to improve as a manager.
“There are teams better equipped for promotion in the division this season than Wrexham, but reaching the Football League has to be our vision.
“The club has achieved mid-table finishes over the past four seasons. I’m trying to do things a bit differently, put my own stamp on things and we’ll see where we end up.”