For 20 years he held the record as the youngest-ever League goalscorer for Wrexham.
Darren Baker can look back with pride on a football career which produced many highlights.
He attended Ysgol Gyfun Llangefni before being offered schoolboy forms at Wrexham, where he was a member of their highly successful youth side alongside John Muldoon, Neil Salathiel and Andy Edwards.
During his time at the Racecourse he was capped at both youth and schoolboy level and for 20 years held the record as Wrexham’s youngest goalscorer at 17 years and 115 days when he netted versus Doncaster Rovers on his full debut in Football League Division Four on October 20, 1982.
However, after a season as a pro he was released by the cash-strapped Dragons having made 29 appearances and scoring two goals.
Upon leaving he joined Bangor City, where he spent four seasons, but a broken leg curtailed his progress and after some time on the sidelines he opted to join Caernarfon Town in September 1987 under Tommy Smith.
Baker then became a member of the side that flourished under Phil Wilson and reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup in 1988 where they narrowly lost 3-1 to Cardiff City over two legs.
After leaving the Canaries, he turned out for hometown club Llangefni Town, where he won a tremendous treble of the Welsh Alliance League, Alves Cup and Barritt Cup in 1990/91.
He did return to Caernarfon in the early 90’s before later joining League of Wales club Conwy United, making 38 appearances and scoring four goals prior to a short stint at Porthmadog.
July 1995 brought a call from Chris Lawler of League of Wales newcomers Cemaes Bay and Darren joined for the season where he scored five goals in 15 games, including the Anglesey club’s first top-flight hat-trick versus Briton Ferry.
Baker’s overall Welsh Premier record was: 65 appearances (21 as sub) and nine goals scored.
In 1996 he rejoined Llangefni, where he captained the side to the Fitlock Welsh Alliance Championship in 1998/99 and later turned out for Glantraeth, as well as the combined Llangefni-Glantraeth team.
Darren represented Ynys Môn in the Island Games when they were runners-up to the Faroe Islands in 1991 and sixth place in 1993 and 1995.
He will be remembered as a very talented player renowned for his dynamic midfield skills, great passing ability and tremendous shooting.
Darren was in the same school year as myself, he attended Llangefni and I was at Bodedern. We faced each other at cricket, and I remember him playing, but our main nemesis was an extremely fast bowler called Ainscough.
We often used to hear in school how well Darren was doing representing Wales at football.
It’s been great to catch up with him in recent years and he’s always been very helpful to me in my work when needed – take a bow The Fabulous Baker Boy!
- Many thanks to Alex Philp of Caernarfon Town for his help with this article.