Wrexham missed out on the National League play-offs following a 1-1 draw at Dagenham & Redbridge on the final day of the 2020/21 season. His contract was not renewed at the Racecourse Ground as Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were looking to bring in a big-name manager to take the Red Dragons back to the Football League.
This saw Dean Keates’ second spell in charge of Wrexham end on a sour note, much like the first one. He originally left the club in March 2018 with only nine clubs left of the season, this ultimately saw Wrexham miss out on the play-offs. With Keates, assistant manager Andy Davies and first-team coach Carl Darlington also departed.
However, he left for good reason. Walsall, his boyhood club, had come calling – a job he couldn’t turn down. Unfortunately for Keates, it wasn’t meant to be as in April 2019, after just 60 matches in charge of the West Midlands club, he was sacked.
In October he returned to Wrexham with his tail between his legs. The fans still felt betrayed, but he relished the challenge to win them over. This was his longest spell as a manager, 68 games, but again, Wrexham fell short of promotion in his year and a half back in North Wales.
So, what now for Dean Keates?
Phil Parkinson seems to have things ticking over at Wrexham, so a return looks unlikely. But with Walsall having a rocky start to the season, sitting 21st in League Two at the time of writing, they might come calling if former West Ham winger Matthew Taylor can’t turn things around.
More likely for the former Rhyl midfielder would be a job back in the National League. But he may be required to step down a division. Having only managed clubs he’s played for, Kidderminster Harries are in the National League North.
Whatever happens next for Keates, he will have some work to do if he wants to rebuild his reputation following how his last two jobs have ended.