Inside Ben Foster’s mad world, from being known as ‘The Cycling GK’ to Wrexham renaissance, as he announces retirement


GOALKEEPER of the people Ben Foster has announced his retirement from football for a SECOND time.

The former England and Manchester United shotstopper, 40, enjoyed a renaissance with Wrexham – forming a strong relationship with the club’s owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob Mcelhenney.

Ben Foster has retired from football after a short spell with Wrexham

Foster became a fans’ favourite with the Welsh club and was ‘loved’ by co-owner Ryan Reynolds

Ex-England keeper Foster had an amazing career and played for Man UtdNews Group Newspapers Ltd

He helped the Red Dragons earn promotion to League Two last season, before announcing he was hanging up his gloves.

Foster started the season as No1, but has admittedly struggled as the Welsh club have conceded 13 goals in their first four games, including a 5-5 draw with Swindon at the weekend.

Announcing his decision to quit, he admitted: “The honest truth is that my performances this season haven’t reached the level I demand of myself and I feel that now is the right time to retire.

“At the forefront of my mind when making this decision, was not only what was best for me but also the club and making the decision now gives the club every opportunity to assess their options before the window closes. Wrexham will always have a special place in my heart.”

He will be missed. Wrexham co-chairman Ryan Reynolds already took to X to write: “He built memories I’ll never let go of for as long as I live. I love this guy. Thank you for everything, Ben.”

Outside the game, Foster’s personality has shone.

His YouTube channel, the “Cycling GK” , has allowed him to comment on the game, share entertaining video comment and more.

It has drawn almost 1.5million subscribers, who love his irreverent take on the game.

Second thoughts

It appeared for all intents and purposes Foster was a retired man, when he quit Watford in 2022 age 39.

He played for Manchester United, was a hero for Watford and was capped by England eight times.

It could have been more had he not put his international career on hold, following a falling out with Fabio Capello who reluctantly let him leave a training camp when his wife Kate went into labour.

Even an offer from Newcastle United in 2022 to join as a back-up keeper to Nick Pope was swiftly turned down, as Foster looked forward to time off with his family and his media commitments.

However, Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob Mcelhenney proved to be a bigger draw than the Premier League.

Foster answered an SOS call when the then National League club suffered a goalkeeping crisis, returning to the Welsh outfit 17 years after a 2005 loan spell.

Foster said: “I’m over the moon. I’ve been at the Club an hour this morning and it seems a really nice place. Everyone is down to earth and the manager’s top class.

A fallout with Fabio Capello saw Foster put his England career on holdMark Robinson – The Sun

When his wife went into labour, Capello was reluctant to let him leave an England training camp


“It’s changed a lot since I was last here, but it’s nice to be back and it’s nice to be back as a player too. It will be interesting to see how my body feels after training today! I’m looking forward to getting started.

“The first time I was here, it was genuinely the springboard to the rest of my career – on the back of the loan move, playing in the LDV Vans Trophy Final at the Millennium Stadium, I got my move to Manchester United at the start of the next season. It was absolutely bonkers!

“If you’d told me 18 years ago that I’d have gone on to have the career that I have had, I probably wouldn’t have believed you to be honest so I do owe a lot to Wrexham.”

Reynolds bromance

Foster was signed on a short-term deal till the end of last season, where he played eight times.

In that short space of time, he made himself a fan and owners’ favourite.

Wrexham earned promotion to the EFL, which we all know about now and is the perfect Hollywood ending to the tale (although there’s surely more to come).

But during that period there was a definite bromance breaking out between Foster and co-chairman Reynolds.

After the club sealed promotion, the Deadpool star interrupted Foster’s press conference to ask for his shirt.

In return, Foster was gifted a glove worn by the Canadian actor’s superhero character.

Reynolds gatecrashed Foster’s press conference to ask the goalie for his shirt

A-lister Reynolds joked that the shirt smelled worse than his underwear he wore on the set of Deadpool

Foster revealed that Reynolds gifted him his Deadpool glove in return

Speaking on his Fozcast podcast, Foster revealed: “This is incredible right so, Ryan Reynolds text me the day of the [Boreham Wood] game to say, “can I have your shirt?

“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’”. 

Reynolds gave one of the gloves to Jay Fear, a Wrexham fan with terminal cancer, prior to the Boreham Wood game.

The other ended up with the Foster household.

Reynolds also had another surprise in store for the goalie.

In a comment reply, Reynolds wrote: “I’m also gifting you the Deadpool underwear. Which, to be fair, smells better than the shirt you gave me.”

YouTube star

In 2020, Foster set up his own YouTube channel, ‘The Cycling GK’.

In 2020, Foster set up his own YouTube channel called ‘The Cycling Goalkeeper’

Arsenal goalie Aaron Ramsdale dropped in for a chat on ‘The Cycling GK’

Robbie Williams appears as a guest on Foster’s Fozcast podcast

His plan was to give a unique insight into his life as a professional footballer, as well as show off his cycling adventures.

It included matchday vlogs, GoPro footage from his matches, football challenges like Foster taking on Arsenal’s Women.

Of course, his old mucka Reynolds popped up a few times in some of the clips.

It seemed that along with his podcast, that was his future mapped out.

But the lure of putting on Wrexham’s No1 jersey in League Two was too much, so in the summer he signed an extension to his contract to star.

His bosses even agreed to his stipulations of more time off.

Speaking on The Fellas Podcast, Foster said: “They’d have to be flexible with me with sort of days off basically.

“Like I said earlier I live a couple hours away from Wrexham.

“So if I’m driving to training then that’s two hours and then I’ll train, and then to get home you’ve got to get through M6 through Birmingham, take you three hours sometimes. 

“In the six weeks I did the club were so good with me. They were so flexible. They gave me sort of extra days off. 

GettyFoster celebrates promotion with Wrexham[/caption]

YouTube / Ben Foster – The Cycling GKFoster originally revealed he had signed a contract extension this season[/caption]

“We would play on a Saturday, they’d give me Sunday and Monday off.

“I’d train on Tuesday, we’d all have a day off on Wednesday anyway. i’d only be training really three days.”

However, now Foster feels he has to walk away.

After letting in five goals against Swindon Town, the second time he’s done that in four games this season, he has retired, gracefully.

Manager Phil Parkinson said: “Ben has been the model professional while at Wrexham and has done everything we have asked of him.

“It takes a big person to make the decision he has and one who really understands this Football Club, with the timing of his decision.

“I am sure I speak for everyone, when thanking him for his contribution that went far beyond that one magnificent penalty save against Notts County to help us gain promotion last season. Wrexham AFC was a better place for having Ben Foster around the club.”

For now, the focus will be on his burgeoning YouTube career. Fitting for a great character and smashing bloke.

Foster appears dejected after conceding five at home to MK Dons earlier this monthGetty

GettyHowever, Foster can leave the game with his head held high after a Hollywood ending to his career[/caption]

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