Wrexham: Club history

As hard as it may be to believe, there was a Wrexham AFC before the arrival of Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, the club’s current owners.

We are not sure whether the television series the pair are planning will go back as far as 1864, but that is when the club was founded making it the oldest professional club in Wales and the third oldest in the world.

The first game there took place on October 22, 1864 after Wrexham Cricket Club formed its own football team but could only muster 10 players. Unfortunately, their opponents, the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade, although merely matching them in numbers, reportedly won the game “comfortably” 2-1.

They do proudly claim that the Racecourse Ground is the oldest international stadium in the world having hosted the Welsh national team in 1877, the side’s first international game which they lost to Scotland.

Main (Mold Road) Stand – there’s worse main stands in the National League. Current sponsorship name (for the next five minutes) is the Macron Stand.

Those early years saw Wrexham play mostly friendlies before joining The Combination, which was what what passed for league football between 1888 and 1911 and then oddly joined the Birmingham & District League for a spell.

It was not until 1921 that they became founder members of the Football League’s Third Division North  where they proudly remained for nearly four decades.

During this time they did achieve what remains their club record attendance as 34,445 souls packed in to the Racecourse to see Manchester United‘s Busby Babes win 5-0 in an FA Cup fourth round tie in 1957.

There was European success in this part of North Wales during this time with the club qualifying for the European Cup Winners’ Cup by virtue of winning the Welsh Cup. Their best effort came in 1975-76 when they reached the quarter-finals of the competition, going out to the eventual winners Belgian champions Anderlecht.

Indeed, cup competitions make up some of the proudest moments of Wrexham’s history with an FA Cup win over top flight champions Arsenal in 1992 among the more memorable nights seen at the club. A thunderous free-kick from former Manchester United and Chelsea winger Mickey Thomas  that evening regularly makes an appearance on TV when an FA Cup giant-killing is on the cards.

However, the 21st Century history of Wrexham AFC is less cheerful. In 2002, Mark Guterman, the former chairman of arch rivals Chester City, bought the club and then two years later sold his 78% stake in the club to property developer, Alex Hamilton – you can see where this is going, can’t you?

Hamilton made no secret of his desire to develop the club’s stadium at a meeting of supporters in May 2004. Soon there was talk about ground-sharing at Chester; an attempt to oust the club from the ground; and a winding-up petition from the taxman with debts of more than £5m including an £800,000 tax bill. An administration, a ten-point deduction and numerous court cases later, the club was sold to a consortium headed by local businessman Neville Dickens, who was backed by the club’s supporters’ club and they lived to fight another day.

Despite the upheaval, the club enjoyed some success on the pitch winning the Football League Trophy against Southend United in 2005 in front of 20,000 fans from North Wales inside Wembley, but could not beat the drop to League Two. There they remained by the skin of their teeth in a final day home win over Boston United in 2007, sending their opponents down as the Dragons survived. But the delay was only for one more season as the 2007-08 ended an 87-year stay in the League.

Despite (or because of) appointing Wales striker Dean Saunders, who made his name playing for Liverpool and Aston Villa, the club finished tenth in their first Non-League season. However, with Saunders still in charge they did reach the play-offs in 2010-11 but were defeated 5-1 on aggregate by Luton Town, and Saunders departed for Doncaster Rovers at the start of the following campaign.

His replacement, club legend Andy Morrell, who scored 65 times in two spells for the club, took them to the Conference play-offs twice in the next two seasons. In 2011 they earned a club record tally of 98 points but still ended up five points adrift of champions Fleetwood Town and then lost (again) to Luton in the play-off semi-finals. The following year they went one better and made it to the final where they faced Welsh rivals Newport County, this time losing 2-0. Morrell left midway through the following campaign with the club eventually finishing 17th in the Conference.

A fourth-placed finish in 2018-19 saw them suffer more play-off heartbreak before the aborted 2019-20 campaign saw them finish 19th in a 24-team National League on points per game – the club’s lowest finish since relegation out of the EFL. Last term they were battling for a play-off spot but eventually just missed out in 8th.

It was in November 2020 that RR McReynolds Company LLC, backed by Reynolds and McElhenney, completed a takeover backed by 98.6% of the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust.

The Kop Terrace, closed for many years, that is being redeveloped into Hollywood Bowl status (where are Wrexham getting such money?) .

They promised the club would not be “relocated, renamed or rebranded” and on February 9 2021 they completed the takeover and confirmed a documentary, Welcome to Wrexham, was in production for FX, a US television network.


Wrexham: We’ve Met Before

Previous Results for Yeovil Town First Team vs Wrexham

08/10/1956  Home Friendly W 2-1 Robshaw, Elder
08/11/2003 Home FA Cup W 4-1 5049 Gall 39, G.Williams 46, Miles 59, Edwards 66
23/11/2019 Away NLP D 3-3 3583 Murphy 4, 39, 67
29/02/2020 Home NLP W 3-0 3040 Duffus 42, Wilkinson 55, Skendi 90+3
10/10/2021 Home NLP L 0-1 0
08/05/2021 Away NLP L 0-3 0
30/11/2021 Away NLP

Results Summary For Yeovil Town First Team vs Wrexham

Home Away Overall
W D L F A W D L F A W D L F A
3 0 1 10 3 0 1 1 3 6 3 1 2 13 9

Wrexham: Club Statistics

LAST SIX RESULTS

06/11/2021 Harrogate Town Away FACR1 L 1-2 2403 Ponticelli 38
09/11/2021 Aldershot Away NLP W 5-0 1639 Hayden 40, Lennon 44, Hall-Johnson 58, Ponticelli 61, Davies 68
13/11/2021 King’s Lynn Town Away NLP W 6-2 1070 Hayden 22, Davies 57, Mullin 62, Ponticelli 76, Jarvis 90, Green 90+4
20/11/2021 Wealdstone Home NLP D 0-0 8592
23/11/2021 FC Halifax Town Away NLP W 2-1 3344 Jones 83, Mullin 90
27/11/2021 Bromley Home NLP W 2-0 8156 Hall-Johnson 33, Mullin 60

 

ATTENDANCE STATISTICS

Highest League Attendance: 9813
Lowest League Attendance: 5454
Average League Attendance: 8205

CURRENT SEQUENCE STATISTICS

Games Without A Win: 0 Games Without A Home Win: 0
Games Without An Away Win: 0 Games Without Defeat: 5
Games Without A Home Defeat: 9 Games Without An Away Defeat: 3
Games Without A Draw: 2 Games Without A Score Draw: 6
Games Without A No-Score Draw: 2 Games Without Scoring: 0
Games Without Conceding: 1 Home Results Sequence: DWDDW
Away Results Sequence: DWLLWWW Overall Results Sequence: DDWWLDLWWDWW

Wrexham: Club Information

The constant renaming of stands for sponsorship reasons is a pain in the backside. We think this was the Yale Stand on a previous visit and is now called the Wrexham Lager Stand.

Racecourse Ground
Mold Road
Wrexham
Wales
LL11 2AH

(Click for map)

Telephone Number: 01978 89 1864
Email: info@wrexhamfc.tv

Chairman: Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds
Chief Executive: Fleur Robinson
Press Officer: Colin Henrys
Manager: Phil Parkinson

Capacity: 10,500 (all seater)
Covered Terrace: None

Record Attendance : 34,445 – versus Manchester United, 1957.
Colours: Red and white
Nickname: Red Dragons

Ticket Prices:
Tickets for the rearranged fixture at The Racecourse on Tuesday 30th November, 7.45 p.m. kick-off, are on sale. These must be bought on-line – no sales at the stadium on matchday.
Slightly unusually these days, purchase is through the Huish Park Ticket Office rather than via Wrexham: click on LINK.
Adult: £20
Concession (65+ and Under 21): £15
Under 18: £8.00
Under 11: £5.00

After the problems during the visit of Torquay United that has resulted in a dozen home fans issued with banning orders and more still under investigation the North Wales Police have insisted Wrexham restructure its internal stadium organisation. Our understanding is the away supporters for our visit will get a section, towards the University end of the stadium, in a corner of the  Wrexham Lager Stand. If this is the case entry is via Crispin Lane.

Disabled Info: The Racecourse Ground has 29 spaces for both home and away supporters at pitch level in the Main (Macron) Stand. Partial cover, with helpers sat behind.

A new platform at height was built in 2015 and allows for six wheelchair spaces, with carers, which are assigned by the Wrexham Disabled Supporters Association on a rotating basis to their members. Non-members are also welcome but you will need to contact the DSA in order for them to add you to their rotas. Access to the disabled platform is via the 1864 entrance on Mold Road where there is a lift to gain access to the platform.

For full details of accommodation for disabled supporters – click here.

The club’s Disability Liaison Officer is Kerry Evans who can be contacted at kerry.evans@wrexhamfc.tv


Official Away Travel

The Green & White Supporters’ Club is running away travel to Wrexham on Tuesday, November 30th.

Details are as follows:

Members: Adults £31, Concessions £29
Non-Members: Adults £33, Concessions £31
Coach departs Huish Park: 12.00 p.m.

To book, call Paul Hadlow on 07736 044570 or email him on paulhadlow@outlook.com.

If you are getting in touch by email, please make it clear which match you are booking for and that you give your full name, the names of people that are travelling and a contact telephone number.

You may be asked to pay a £5 deposit to reserve your seat.


Wrexham: Directions To The Ground

General

Wrexham (Wrecsam) is in Wales, North Wales.

By Road

Travelling from Somerset, take the M5 motorway and briefly the M6 until you reach  Junction 10A for the M54.

Continue along the M54 until it becomes the A5 which will take you around Shrewsbury, past Owestry and over the border between England and Wales.

Shortly after the A5 becomes the A483, stay on the A483 until you reach Junction 5 where you take the A541 exit to Wrexham/Wrecsam/Mold/Yr Wyddgrug.

At the roundabout, take the forth exit on to Mold Road (A541) and continue straight (2nd exit) at the next roundabout remaining on Mold Road where you will pass Wrexham Glyndwr University.

The Racecourse Ground will quickly come in to view.

By Rail

Wrexham has two railway stations. Wrexham General station is situated a couple of minutes walk (maybe four to the away turnstiles) from the Racecourse Ground – you can not miss it when you come out of the station. Wrexham Central is 0,7 of a mile from the stadium, so under 15 minutes walk. Both are served by what was formerly Arriva Trains Wales and is now called Transport For Wales, while Wrexham General also has some Avanti West Coast services.

As this is an evening game you won’t be surprised to hear there is absolutely no chance of getting back to Yeovil by train the same night. Even London based Glovers can’t see the whole match and get home the same night.

By Bus

The Racecourse is central enough that one is unlikely to want buses. However if needed the 12A and 21 are the ones to look out for, running along Mold Road with stops right outside the stadium.

By Taxi

Should a taxi be required there are some numbers here.


Web Sites

Official website 

Fearless in Devotion – a blog, fanzine and podcast dedicated to Wrexham AFC. They’re good sorts; we like them.

Red Passion – a message board (remember those) about all things Wrexham and passionate about red stuff.

Local Press

The Leader – a newspaper owned by the Newsquest Group.

Daily Post – the newspaper covering North Wales including Wrexham.


Wrexham: Food & Drink

General

(Proviso: be aware that in the current situation, especially in the field of hospitality, all information is subject to change on very short term notice. Also, remember this one involves a border crossing and the rules can be different to those in England.)

Wrexham, or Wrecsam in Welsh, is only 13 miles (and a national frontier) away from Chester, but the places couldn’t be more different. Whereas Chester is a destination spot of some loveliness pulling in the trippers, it’s fair to say few people make a journey to Wrexham out of choice.  As a result, on our previous visits, quite a number of traveling fans chose to eat and drink in Chester and take the road journey or fifteen minute train ride to Wrexham shortly before kick-off. This Guide is made of sterner stuff and it’s on the joys of Wrexham that it will focus.
A town of around 60,000, its days of coal and lead mining and iron & steel works are long gone. It was also traditionally a brewing centre for north Wales, and that remains to some extent, with three local breweries in operation: Big Hand, Magic Dragon and the Wrexham Lager Beer Company.
Given its size Wrexham did well to keep its football team continuously in the English Football League from 1921 to 2008, always one of the smaller places with a member club. A survivor from the days when almost all football stadiums were located centrally, The Racecourse, home since around 1872, isn’t more than ten to fifteen minutes walk from any point in Wrexham’s centre, four minutes from Wrexham General Railway Station and a bit over ten minutes walk from the town’s other railway station, Wrexham Central.

Club Bar

The clubhouse, located off Crispin Lane by the Club Shop, is called Centenary Club, and was generally open to away fans, being conveniently on the right side of the ground for the away turnstiles. Large, with around a 500 capacity, there was no entry charge *. Has Sky Sports and serves food. As well as the usual multinational keg commonly suffered at football grounds this one usually offers a cask beer from Wrexham’s Big Hand Brewing Company and Wrexham Lager on keg from the Wrexham Lager Beer Company. Given the latter currently sponsor a stand one assumes their beer will certainly be available.
*NOTE: Given the club, in conjunction with North Wales Police, is in the process of taking a long hard look at security after the issues surrounding the visit of Torquay United there’s no guarantee that the clubhouse remains open to away fans. We haven’t found anything one way or the other from the club as to whether it is or it isn’t. However some local knowledge has now come our way suggesting the club is looking to keep the film extras out and has started charging a fiver for entry… Hollywood stars and hangers-on only, thank you.
Inside the stadium, kiosks serve the standard basic fare of Burgers, Hot Dogs, Pies/Pasties and Sausage Rolls that is about as far as the imaginations of those catering to football fans generally stretches; and bottled Lager, Bitter and Cider.

Local Pubs

Wrexham has a mass of pubs, bars and eating joints clustered in the town centre in and around the High Street/Town Hill area and adjoining roads. We’ve selected a few from there, plus a couple away from the centre up by the ground.

Horse & Jockey, currently closed and under serious threat.

The oldest pub in Wrexham, the Horse & Jockey, which the Guide has featured previously – a thatched timber-framed 17th Century building that wouldn’t look out of place in Chester – was long-term closed, with its future as a pub very much in doubt, when this guide was updated for August when this fixture was originally scheduled… and remained closed as we approached the end of November.

The Wrexham Spoons.

 

Elihu Yale: Spoons, converted from a cinema, five minutes walking from Wrexham General Railway Station and under ten minutes from the ground. Opening 8.00 a.m. – midnight Sunday to Thursday, 8.00 a.m. – 1.00 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Food served 8.00 a.m. – 11.00 p.m. every day, with a claimed nod on the menu to regional dishes – as some Wetherspoons do – in this case Wales, obviously. Children allowed until 10.00 p.m. Carries eight Real Ales [note – many Spoons are currently still restricting their cask ranges, waiting to see how trade develops], with Greene King Abbot, Ruddles Best Bitter and Sharp’s Doom Bar from their core range and five changing, one of which is always from a North Wales brewery. Two Real Cider options. Disabled access. Outdoor seating and smoking area to the front.
The Elihu Yale, 44-46 Regent Street, Wrexham, LL11 1RR. Tel: 01978 366646. Map: Elihu Yale.
The Fat Boar.
Fat Boar: Sister pub to one of same name in Mold; this one opened November 2016. Opening hours have been reduced, according to their website – currently 10.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m. – and booking now appears to be a requirement for those wanting to eat – however implies one can drop in if just drinking without making a reservation. Bar/lounge downstairs (with sandwich style menu during the day) and an A la Carte menu in the restaurant upstairs, from 12.00 noon – 9.00 p.m., Monday to Saturday. There was a breakfast menu on Saturdays but not clear whether this is still happening. Sunday lunches are available on… er, that’d be Sundays, from noon. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options available in all menus. Four Real Ale pumps, focusing on beers from North Wales. Something from Big Hand (Wrexham) is almost always on; and usually something from Hafod (Mold) as well. Keg is a mixture from small craft breweries and multinationals. Toilets are downstairs but down a few steps, so not entirely disabled friendly. There’s a beer garden and smoking area to the rear. Town centre, 0.8 of a mile (so c. 15 minutes walk) from the ground.
The Fat Boar, 11 Yorke Street, Wrexham, LL13 8LW. Tel: 01978 354201. Map: Fat Boar.
Magic Dragon Brewery Tap: Formerly the Elephant & Castle pub, this is the Tap for the eponymous brewery. Opening hours are currently listed as 4.00 p.m. – 11.00 p.m. Thursday and Friday, noon – 11.00 p.m. Saturday and 1.00 p.m. – 6.00 p.m. Sunday. Generally serves between four and six cask beers and three to five keg beers from its own brewery and a  guest or two by other breweries. Just under a mile from the stadium so about 15 minutes walk – or 20 if you’re strolling. (NOTE: will not be open on this trip to Wrexham.)
Brewery Tap, 13 Charles Street, Wrexham. LL13 8BT. Tel: 01978 365156. Map: Magic Dragon.
Plas Coch: A Marston’s Two For One chain ‘family friendly’ retail park located hostelry five minutes walk north of the away turnstiles (if cutting through the University grounds) the other side of Wrexham Glyndwr University. They are what they are. This one has two Real Ales, usually Marston’s Pedigree and Wychwood Hobgoblin. At time of writing reduced opening hours still appear to be operating: 11.30 a.m. – 10.00 p.m., with food served all day until 9.00 p.m., every day. Disabled access, beer garden, kids play area, car park.
Plas Coch, Plas Coch Road, Wrexham, LL11 2BW. Tel: 01978 261470. Map: Plas Coch.
Royal Oak, like The Tardis – bigger on inside than out.

Royal Oak: 
Joule’s Brewery pub in the High Street, around a hundred yards from the Fat Boar (above). Wet-led pub, no meals when we last there though the website implies it does (not sure we believe it). Stocks three of their beers on hand pump (most usually Pale Ale, Slumbering Monk and Pure Blonde) plus an additional two guests. Also serves Real Cider and, as well as more international kegs like Guinness and Carling, has Joule’s own Green Monkey Helles Lager. A very narrow frontage belies a bar that carries on deeper than one expects. There’s a roof top beer garden open April to September. We’re also unconvinced about the opening times shown on its website and think these may be more likely: Monday closed, 4.00 p.m. – midnight Tuesday and Wednesday, noon – midnight Thursday and Sunday, noon – 12.30 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Disabled access. Sports TV. Roped off area to the front on the pavement with a few tables and chairs and a small yard at the back.
Royal Oak, 35 High Street, Wrexham, LL13 8HY. Tel: 01978 364111. Map: Royal Oak.

Turf Hotel:
Has its own Wikipedia entry ( Turf Hotel – Wikipedia  ), claiming to be the only pub in the United Kingdom to be built within the grounds of a football club – though Kidderminster Harriers might well argue with that. Owned by Marston’s (though possibly not any more as it’s no longer listed on their website), it served a couple of cask ales and stuff from their keg range when was last there a couple of years ago. Appears to have started serving Wrexham Lager by Wrexham Lager Company and some cans of ‘craft’ beers recently.  Obviously packed out when there’s a game on, it does usually puts on some basic food provision on matchdays. Sports TV and a pool table. (Sometimes restricts access of away fans if there’s a large crowd expected.) Distance from the ground: 0.0 miles.
The Turf Hotel, Mold Road, Wrexham, LL11 2AH. Tel: 01978 261484. Map: Turf.
The Turf pub on site of The Racecourse – could one wish for less distance to walk?

 


Likelihood the Natives Will Understand You:  Can if they want. Despite being North Wales there’s not a lot who can speak Welsh – 12.9% in the county as a whole and lower than that in the county town according to the 2011 census figures – in Wrexham. So if they pretend not to follow West Country English it’s a good indication they don’t like you and are making an active choice. Suck it up – it’s their patch.

Top-Tip: Hollywood, Hollywood, Hollywood. It will of course end in tears at some point in the future. But at the moment they are very VERY excited by it all, so just smile and indulge them – bless!

Wrexham Local Amenities: As a small county town of a small County Borough it’s got what one might expect – not a lot. There is a (smallish) University with around 8,000 students. And The Racecourse officially still has International Stadium status, though the days of the senior team playing there have long gone.

Other Points Of Interest: Robbie Savage was born in Wrexham. The town has never recovered from this blow.

[No responsibility is taken for any inaccuracies. This page is entirely the product of bias and prejudice.]