Wrexham F.C.

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Wrexham
Wrexham FC.png
Full name Wrexham Football Club
Nickname(s) The Dragons, The Robins, The Reds, The Town
Founded 1864; 150 years ago (1864)[1]
Ground Racecourse Ground,
Wrexham
Ground Capacity 10,771 [2]
Owner Wrexham Supporters Trust
Chairman Wrexham Supporters Trust
Manager Kevin Wilkin[3]
League Conference Premier
2013–14 Conference Premier, 17th
Website Club home page
Current season

Wrexham Football Club (Welsh: Clwb Pêl-droed Wrecsam) is a Welsh football club based in Wrexham, Wales. Formed in 1864, they are the oldest club in Wales and the third oldest professional football team in the world. Since August 2011 Wrexham have been a supporter-owned football club,[4] with over 3,150 adult members and joint owners.[5]

The club will spend their seventh season in the Conference Premier in 2014–15, the fifth tier of English football – the lowest level of competition that they have played in, since they were first elected to the football league in 1921, following their relegation from Football League Two at the end of the 2007–08 season after 87 years of consecutive membership of The Football League. Wrexham are perhaps most notable for an FA Cup upset over reigning English Champions Arsenal in 1992 and a 1–0 victory over Portuguese giants FC Porto in 1984 in the European Cup Winners' Cup, Wrexham were eligible for the Cup Winners' Cup due to winning the Welsh Cup, their first European tie was against FC Zürich of Switzerland in 1972 and their final European fixture was played in Romania against Petrolul Ploiești in 1995.

Wrexham's honours include winning the Third Division title in 1977-8, the Welsh Cup a record 23 times, the Football League Trophy in 2005 at the Millennium Stadium and the FA Trophy in 2013 at Wembley Stadium. Wrexham are also record winners of the short-lived FAW Premier Cup, winning it five times out of the 11 years of its tenure, participating against fellow Welsh clubs such as; Cardiff City, Swansea City and Newport County.

Wrexham's home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the world's oldest international stadium that still continues to host international games.[6] The record attendance at the ground was set in 1957, when Wrexham hosted a match against Manchester United in front of 34,445 spectators.[7]

History[edit]

1864–1905[edit]

The Turf Hotel, the building in which the club was founded in 1864

The club was formed in 1864 by members of the Wrexham Cricket Club, who wanted a sporting activity for the winter months, which makes them (after Sheffield, Cray, Hallam, Notts County, and Stoke City) the sixth oldest football team, third oldest professional club and the oldest in Wales.[8][9] Their first game was played on 22 October 1864 at the Denbigh County Cricket Ground (The Racecourse) against the Prince of Wales Fire Brigade.[10]

As the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at the time, early matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side (16 players when playing the Provincial Insurance Office and Chester College, 15 players against the Volunteer Fire Brigade). In these early years Wrexham were leaders of the campaign to restrict teams to having just 11 players on the pitch at any one time.[11]

In 1876, the newly formed Football Association of Wales saw Wales play their first international match, against Scotland at The West of Scotland Cricket Club, Partick, featuring Edwin Cross and Alfred Davies as the first of many Wrexham F.C. players to play for Wales.[12]

In the 1877–78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park. Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids F.C. 1–0, with James Davies being credited with the goal.[13][14] Because of a lack of money at the fledgling FAW, Wrexham did not receive their trophy until the next year. For their first decade, Wrexham mostly played friendly matches against both Welsh and English opposition, with the Welsh Cup providing most of their competitive football, Wrexham winning it again in 1883.

1883 also saw Wrexham's first appearance in the FA Cup, when after receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 3–4 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club renaming itself Wrexham Olympic, but they reverted to the original name after three years.

Thanks to a dispute with their landlords, who had raised the rent of the Racecourse Ground to £10 a year, Wrexham played their home games in the 1881–82 and 1882–83 seasons at Rhosddu Recreation Ground (changing the club's name to Wrexham Athletic for one season), before moving back to the Racecourse Ground for the 1883–84 season, where the club have played their home games ever since.

In 1890 Wrexham joined The Combination league, playing their first game against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, with Arthur Lea scoring Wrexham's only goal in a 5–1 defeat. Lea played for the club despite only having one arm[15] as did playing colleague James Roberts. Wrexham finished the season second from bottom in eighth place in the first season.

Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before a rapid increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League in the 1894–95 season. Wrexham won the Welsh League both years that they were in it, but they then decided to return to the Combination, as despite the reduced support they received, the savings made on their travelling expenses outweighed the reduction in gate revenue.

1905–1960[edit]

The club then remained in the Combination league until 1905, by which time they had managed to win the league four times. After several unsuccessful attempts Wrexham were finally elected to the Birmingham and District League in time for the beginning of the 1905–06 season. Wrexham's first ever match in this league was at home against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, and two thousand spectators witnessed Wrexham win the match 2–1. Wrexham finished sixth in their first season in this league.

During their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times, in 1908–09, 1909–10, 1910–11, 1913–14, 1914–15, and 1920–21. They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a second time in the 1908–09 season before losing a replay 1–2 to Exeter City after extra time.

In 1921 Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League. Their first League game was against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators. Playing in blue shirts, Wrexham were defeated 0–2. The week after this defeat Wrexham travelled north to play Hartlepool and managed to get their revenge by beating them 1–0 in a hard-earned victory.

It was during this particular season that Wrexham achieved many "firsts" in the club's history, such as when Ted Regan scored the club's first ever hat-trick, and also Brian Simpson became the first Wrexham player to be sent off in a League game when he was ordered from the field of play against Southport in January 1922. Charlie Hewitt was the club's first ever manager during this period.

In the 1926–27 season the club got past the first round of the FA Cup only to be knocked out by Rhyl. The following season Wrexham fought their way to the fourth round before they lost 0–1 to Birmingham City. A record 32 league goals from Albert Mays helped Wrexham to get to third position in the division in the 1928–29 season. And later in that season Tommy Bamford made his first appearance for the club. He went on to score 201 League and Cup goals for the club during his time at the Racecourse. During the 1929–30 season the club recorded their best ever league win to date when they defeated Rochdale 8–0.

Wrexham enjoyed their best ever Third Division North season in 1932–33, when they finished runners-up to Hull City and won 18 of their 21 home games during the course of the season. This was the first season that the club appeared in their now-familiar red and white strip for the first time for the short-lived 1939–40 season.

During the Second World War years, when long cross-county trips were impossible due to the war, Wrexham played in the Regional League West against local teams from Merseyside and Manchester, amongst others in the north west region. Wrexham's position as a barracks town meant that the team could secure the services of many famous guest players such as Stanley Matthews and Stan Cullis.

In the first post-war season Wrexham equalled their best ever position when they again finished third in the Third Division North. In the summer of 1949 the club made its first ever tour abroad when it played three games against the British army in Germany.

The club reached the fourth round of the FA Cup in 1956–57 where they played Manchester United's Busby Babes in front of a crowd of 34,445 people at the Racecourse, which still remains a club record. The 5–0 defeat did not spoil the occasion for the large home crowd, and later that season Wrexham managed to win the Welsh Cup for the first time in 26 years.

1960–1970[edit]

1960 saw the club were relegated for the first time in their history, and they dropped into the newly created Fourth Division. But their performances did improve following the appointment of Ken Barnes as player-manager. He led Wrexham straight back to promotion to the third division in his first season in charge and oversaw the 10–1 trouncing of Hartlepool United, which is still the club's record league victory. Two years after their promotion, Wrexham were relegated to the Fourth Division again, and in 1966 they finished rock-bottom at 92nd in the Football League after an extremely disappointing season.

1970–1982[edit]

With Welsh clubs now able to qualify for the European Cup Winners' Cup by winning the Welsh Cup, Wrexham played their inaugural match in Europe against Swiss side FC Zurich in Switzerland on 13 September 1972, the game finishing 1–1. In the return leg Wrexham won 2–1, advancing to the second round with a 3–2 win on aggregate. The second round drew Wrexham against Yugoslav side Hajduk Split. Over the course of two games the score finished 3–3 on aggregate with Wrexham matching their more illustrious opponents, but they were knocked out of the competition due to the away goals rule.

The 1972–73 season saw the completion of the new Yale stand, with the ability to hold a capacity of up to 5,500, including the terrace helped to comprise the bottom tier of the stand.

The 1973–74 season saw Wrexham change their badge from the Maelor crest to a brand new badge that had a lot more resemblance to the Welsh roots of the club, with three feathers on the top of the badge and two dragons, one on either side of the badge and facing inwards. This is still the present badge for today's team. This season also saw Wrexham reach the quarter-finals of the FA Cup in another cup run. After victories over Shrewsbury Town, Rotherham United, Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Southampton, their cup run finally came to end against first division side Burnley at Turf Moor, with just over 20,000 Wrexham fans present to watch the match. Also that season Wrexham just missed out on the promotion spots, finishing in 4th place at the end of the season.

1975–76 saw John Neal's starlets again shock the football world by reaching the quarter finals of the European cup-winners cup after another sparkling cup run and multiple defeats of higher quality opponents. In the first round Wrexham beat Swedish team Djurgårdens IF 3–2 on aggregate. They then managed to knock out Polish side Stal Rzeszow 3–1 on aggregate. Wrexham played Belgian giants and champions Anderlecht in the quarter finals and narrowly lost 2–1 to the eventual winners of the competition.

The 1976–77 season saw Wrexham again beat First Division opposition in both Cup competitions as they went on another cup run, defeating Tottenham Hotspur in the Football League Cup and Sunderland in the FA Cup, however the league season was a traumatic one as the club, on the verge of promotion to the second division with only four matches left to play, required just three points to reach their goal, and unbelievably they missed out after a poor run of form.

Arfon Griffiths took over as player-manager for the 1977–78 season. They reached both the League and FA Cup quarter-finals that season, and Wrexham finally clinched promotion to the second division when they beat Rotherham United 7–1 at a packed Racecourse, and Wrexham went on to win the Third Division Championship that year.

In the 1978–79 season Wrexham made it to the fourth round of the FA Cup where they narrowly lost to Tottenham Hotspur 3–2 in the replay after the first game finished 3–3, the Spurs team had stars amongst their ranks such as Ossie Ardiles, Ricky Villa and Glen Hoddle in their team, and Wrexham were unfortunate to get knocked out.

Following Arfon Griffiths resignation from the manager's position in 1981, his assistant Mel Sutton was put in charge, with the memorable third round FA Cup win over Brian Clough's Nottingham Forest, in another cup run, the highlight of the season.

1982–1992[edit]

The summer of 1982 saw Bobby Roberts appointed the club's new manager. Relegation meant the club had dire financial problems, resulting in the sale of many of the club's experienced and talented players. Frank Carrdus, Ian Edwards, Mick Vinter and Wayne Cegieski had already left during the summer, Steve Fox, Joey Jones, Dixie McNeil and Billy Ronson soon followed. Wrexham were again relegated again to the Fourth Division after plummeting from apparent mid-table security. The club's slide continued into the following season, and only goal difference prevented Wrexham from being forced to apply for re-election to the League.

The 1984–85 season saw Wrexham take on Portuguese giants FC Porto in European competition. Wrexham won the home leg with a 1–0 victory, but in the second leg Porto showed their class and were 3–0 up after 38 minutes, however Wrexham pulled goals back and the game finished 4–3 with Wrexham advancing on away goals. The second round draw was to pair Wrexham with Italian giants AS Roma, managed by Sven-Göran Eriksson. Wrexham lost 3–0 on aggregate over the two legs. Their league performance was even more dire than the previous year, and by the time Bobby Roberts was finally removed from his post, Wrexham were rock-bottom of the entire Football League.

Former Racecourse favourite Dixie McNeil was appointed caretaker manager, and immediately inspired a revival that saw Wrexham win 7 of their last 10 matches and comfortably finish clear of having to apply for re-election, which earned him the job on a permanent basis that summer. His first season in charge saw the team finish mid-table position in an average season, he led the team to a Welsh Cup final win over Kidderminster Harriers. 1986 saw Wrexham make a return to European football with a first round draw against Maltese side FC Zurrieq, whom they beat 7–0 on aggregate to earn a second round tie against Real Zaragoza which they drew 2–2 with on aggregate but they went out on away-goals.

Following the Bradford City stadium fire in May 1985, legislation on ground safety at all football grounds was brought in effect, this eventually led to the closure of the Mold Road stand because it did not reach the necessary safety standards. Led by Dixie McNeil, Wrexham reached the Fourth Division play-offs in 1989, having finished seventh in the league. Wrexham beat Scunthorpe United in the semi-final 5–1 on aggregate, but narrowly lost to Leyton Orient 2–1 in the final. After Wrexham started the next season with just 3 wins from 13 league games, Dixie McNeil resigned before his inevitable sacking.

He was replaced, initially on a temporary basis, by Brian Flynn, but his appointment was made permanent a month later. However the club continued to struggle domestically, and Flynn was forced to make three important signings in Mark Setori, Eddie Youds and Alan Kennedy which saw the team finish in twenty-first place, therefore avoiding relegation.

The 1990–91 season it was announced there would be no relegation to the Conference Premier as a team had already voluntarily left the league. That season Wrexham were to finish in ninety-second place. Wrexham were knocked-out of the European Cup Winners' Cup in the second round by Manchester United 5–0 on aggregate, who eventually went on to win the trophy.

The 1991–92 season saw Wrexham still in a poor financial state, as they continued to struggle on the field. With the club knocked out of the League Cup and struggling in the league, it was left to the FA Cup to keep the season alive. Having beaten Telford United and Winsford United they were drawn to play the previous season's First Division champions and giants Arsenal. Wrexham produced one of their most memorable nights to beat the Gunners 2–1 after being behind, with a thunderous Mickey Thomas free kick and a Steve Watkin goal. They lost in the next round to West Ham United 1–0 in a replay after the first game had finished 2–2.

1993–2001[edit]

In an attempt to change the fortunes of the club after several seasons in the doldrums at the bottom of the football league pyramid, the 1992–93 season saw Wrexham manager Brian Flynn make a shrewd signing when he enlisted the services of Gary Bennett, who soon settled and helped Wrexham into the promotion race. Wrexham's season came to a head on 27 April 1993 when with two games left they travelled to Northampton Town requiring a win to gain promotion to the next tier of the English football. The game ended with a 2–0 victory to Wrexham and the 5,500 travelling "Reds" supporters there were jubilant when promotion had finally been achieved.

The 1994–95 season would see Wrexham achieve more success in cup competitions, this time going on a run through the FA Cup. Having beaten Stockport County and Rotherham United, they faced Premier League side Ipswich Town at the Racecourse, with Wrexham running out 2–1 winners thanks to goals from Gary Bennett and Kieron Durkan. In the next round, Wrexham were drawn away to Manchester United and despite taking the lead at Old Trafford, United went on to win 5–2.

The 1995–96 season once again saw Wrexham in European action, with their opposition this time coming in the form of Romanian team Petrolul Ploiesti; the home leg ended in a 0–0 draw but Wrexham lost 1–0 in the away leg, with the Romanians scoring the only goal of the match, and Wrexham were subsequently knocked out of the tournament.

The 1996–97 season saw Wrexham set off on another amazing run in the FA Cup and beating more top flight opposition. Following wins at Colwyn Bay and Scunthorpe United, they were drawn to play West Ham United at home, the game ending in a 1–1 draw on a snow-covered pitch after a well earned draw. The replay at Upton Park ended in a shock 1–0 win to Wrexham as Kevin Russell scored in the dying minutes to send Wrexham into the fourth round.[16] After also beating Peterborough United and Birmingham City in the following rounds, they played Chesterfield in an all-Division-2 FA Cup quarter final, Wrexham narrowly losing to the Spireites 1–0.

June 1997 was the date for the official opening of Colliers Park, which was Wrexham's new training ground and was situated just outside of Gresford on Chester Road. It was built at a cost of £750,000 and is widely regarded to be one of the best training grounds outside of the top flight. It has been used for training by many visiting teams that play at a higher standard over the years.

The 1999–2000 season saw Wrexham again beat a top-flight team in the FA Cup, this time in the shape of Middlesbrough. The final score of the match was 2–1, with the second half goals coming from Robin Gibson and Darren Ferguson after being behind to the Premiership outfit. Wrexham went on to win the FAW Premier Cup in May 2001.

2001–2010[edit]

5 May 2007: Ryan Valentine scores the goal against Boston that keeps Wrexham in the Football League
5 May 2007: Scoreboard showing the final score of game that kept Wrexham in the Football League and condemned Boston United to the Conference

At the start of the 21st century the club was dogged with many problems off the pitch, including then chairman Alex Hamilton, attempting to get the club evicted from the stadium so that he could use and sell it for his own development purposes – the saga involved the sale of the Racecourse Ground to a separate company owned by Hamilton immediately after he became the club's chairman. In the summer of 2004 Hamilton gave the club a year's notice to quit the ground.[17]

The club's fans developed an affinity with the fans of fellow football league club Brighton & Hove Albion, who themselves had managed to successfully depose their chairman and keep control of their stadium after he had sold the ground for development purposes in almost the same circumstances.

On 3 December 2004 the club was placed in financial administration by the High Court in Manchester as the club owed £2,600,000, including £800,000 which was owed to the Inland Revenue in unpaid taxes. Wrexham became the first League club to suffer a ten-point deduction under the new rule for being placed in administration, dropping them from the middle of the League One table to the relegation zone after the point deduction, and subsequently condemned Wrexham to relegation.

Despite their financial troubles, Wrexham went on to win the 2004–05 Football League Trophy by defeating Southend United 2–0 after extra time, in Wrexham's first appearance at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff. It was Southend's second consecutive defeat in the Football League Trophy final. The winning goals were scored by Juan Ugarte and Darren Ferguson as Wrexham ran out winners in front of over 20,000 Wrexham fans.

Wrexham still retained an outside chance of escaping the drop in the 2004–05 season following an end-of-season winning streak; however, their faint hopes of staying up were ended with a 2–1 home loss to Brentford on 3 May 2005. The 10-point deduction proved decisive in determining Wrexham's fate, as the club finished with 43 points compared to 20th-placed Milton Keynes Dons' 51 – a net points tally of 53 after deduction, which had condemned them to relegation.

In October 2005, Birmingham High Court decided that Alex Hamilton's company CrucialMove had improperly acquired the freehold of the ground and the decision went against him. Hamilton then took this to the Appeal Court in London and it ruled on 14 March 2006 that the stadium must remain in the hands of the club's administrators. On 30 April 2006 the administrators reached an agreement with local car dealer Neville Dickens, subject to agreement by the shareholders and creditors (which was achieved on 30 May), for Dickens to take over control of the club and all its assets. Had the club still been in Administration by 3 June then Wrexham would have automatically been expelled from the League because of their financial situation.

Wrexham Football Club (2006) Ltd is the name of the "phoenix" company that took over the assets of the old Wrexham Association Football Club Limited – technically, the club is no longer known as Wrexham Association Football Club due to the takeover of the club by Neville Dickens and Geoff Moss and their associates; this is reflected on new merchandise, although most fans will still refer to it as "Wrexham AFC".

The 2006–07 season started well for Wrexham, as they went 8 games unbeaten, with included a 4–1 away win against Championship side Sheffield Wednesday and were in the play-off places after the addition of numerous new faces. Unfortunately they were beaten in a shock 5–0 defeat at Accrington Stanley on 13 September 2006, then followed by a 5–2 defeat at Stockport County. Both of these teams were struggling at the foot of the table when these defeats happened, and Wrexham never fully recovered from them. This would begin the start of a long relegation battle for Wrexham. Denis Smith was sacked along with his assistant Kevin Russell on 11 January 2007 with Wrexham in the bottom half of the division and after a poor run of results and was replaced by coach Brian Carey. Wrexham finished 19th in Football League Two and on 51 points after an impressive late run of form which saw them win 4 out of their last 5 games, which included defeating local rivals Shrewsbury in the last ever derby match at Gay Meadow. Wrexham's league status was saved on the last day of the season with a vital 3–1 victory on 5 May 2007 over Boston United at home which sent their opponents down to the Conference Premier and ensured that Wrexham would stay in the Football League.

Expectations were high for the 2007–08 season, as there had been the signings of players such as Anthony Williams, Richard Hope, Michael Proctor, Silvio Spann and Eifion Williams and a push for promotion was expected by the fans after the disappointment of last season. But the season started badly, with only three wins and 10 points by the middle of November and Wrexham rooted to the bottom of the table.

Brian Carey was eventually sacked after Wrexham crashed out of the FA Cup in the First Round following a 4–1 defeat against Peterborough United. On 6 November 2007 Wrexham Football Club released a statement saying that the club were looking for an "experienced senior manager" to work alongside the current Racecourse staff. On 15 November 2007, Brian Little was named as Wrexham's new manager and the replacement to Brian Carey, who took the role of assistant manager.

After a promising start to his reign, a run of 7 straight league defeats and a 4–2 defeat in the FAW Premier Cup at the hands of Llanelli, forced Little to ring the changes and brought in 11 players in the January transfer window to attempt to change Wrexham's fortunes. In terms of the backstage staff, he brought in former Port Vale boss Martin Foyle as first-team coach and several members of staff were told that they had no future at The Racecourse. With the new players introduced Wrexham went a run of six matches unbeaten, which included victories against promotion candidates Darlington and Milton Keynes Dons and a 0–0 draw against Peterborough United. However, in the final months of the season many of Little's new players had become injured and Wrexham suffered several defeats against fellow strugglers in the league and were also defeated 3–0 in a derby match against Shrewsbury Town. Wrexham were finally relegated following a 2–0 defeat away at Hereford United, ending the club's 87-year stay in the Football League.

The 2008–09 season started well, with a 5–0 home victory against Stevenage Borough, however a run of poor results followed, with Wrexham being left in the mid-table battle, only four points above the relegation zone and only keeping two clean sheets all season. Following a 3–0 home defeat against Rushden and Diamonds, and fans calling for his dismissal, Little left Wrexham by mutual consent. Since then, Dean Saunders has taken over the management of Wrexham, with his first game against Forest Green Rovers ending in a victory. Wrexham's first full season in the Conference Premier ended in a disappointing 10th place. The following year, 2009–10, ended in a similar fashion with Wrexham finishing in 11th position, well off the pace of the promotion battle.

2011–2012[edit]

In March 2011 the ownership of the club became subject to 2 bids: one from Wrexham Supporters' Trust and another from local businesswoman Stephanie Booth. Wrexham's MP and AM indicated that they would prefer Wrexham Supporters' Trust to secure the bid.[18] A third bid later came in, but after WST and Booth came to an agreement, their bid was then reaccepted.

In April 2011, the club were served with a winding up order from HMRC, with an unpaid tax bill of just under £200k. The team finished the 2010–11 season in 4th place, qualifying for a play-off spot.

On 5 May 2011 Wrexham played their first play-off game against Luton Town at home: Wrexham were 3–0 down in the first half and failed to score in the second half. [1]

On 10 May 2011 Wrexham played their second play-off game: Wrexham went 1–0 up after Andy Mangan scored in the 8th minute, Gareth Taylor later missed a penalty, Luton went on to win 5–1 on aggregate. Over 800 Wrexham fans were present at Kenilworth Road.

During the 2011–12 season, Wrexham FC were invited back into the Welsh Cup after 16 years, entering at the third round stage. Their first game was at home to Airbus UK Broughton FC, but a schedule clash meant that the club were required to play two games on 3 December 2011, one against Airbus, and the other against Brentford FC in the second round of the FA Cup. Although the scratch side fielded against Airbus lost, the first team fielded against Brentford produced a shock 1–0 win. On 4 December Wrexham were drawn away to Brighton and Hove Albion FC in the third round of the FA Cup in which they drew 1–1, with the away sides goal coming from Adrian Cieslewicz. The replay, at the Racecourse Ground was also 1–1, with Brighton and Hove Albion FC winning 5–4 on penalties. Player-Manager Andy Morrell scored Wrexham's goal.

New manager Andy Morrell guided Wrexham to a record tally of 98 points but this was not enough to gain automatic promotion, as they ended the season only 5 points adrift of Fleetwood Town, who gained the only automatic place. Wrexham lost in the play-offs to Luton Town again.

2012–2013[edit]

After a good pre-season with victories over Football League and SPL opposition (Coventry City and Kilmarnock), Wrexham got their 2012–13 season off to a flying start. Goals from Robert Ogleby, Dean Keates and Mark Creighton earned them a comfortable 3–1 win against Woking.

The season proved to be another landmark campaign as the squad earned themselves places in both the FA Trophy final and the Conference Premier play-off final. These two finals represented Wrexham's first two appearances at Wembley Stadium in the club's 150-year history to date, occurring within five weeks of one another.

In the FA Trophy final Wrexham won on penalties after the score was 1–1 against Grimsby Town at full-time, then scoring all four spot-kicks to Grimsby's one after extra time failed to produce further goals. A 5–2 aggregate win over Kidderminster Harriers in the two-legged play-off semi-final saw Wrexham through to the play-off final. The final versus Newport County was the first play-off final to feature two Welsh teams. Newport County defeated Wrexham 2–0 to earn promotion and condemn Wrexham to another season in the Conference.

2013–2014[edit]

The clubs first action of the 2013/2014 season was obtaining the signature of former Manchester City youth player Theo Bailey-Jones on a 6-month deal days before returning to training on 1 July. Wrexham began the 2013/2014 season with a pre-season game against nPower Championship side Blackburn Rovers, they drew 1–1 at the Racecourse after Brett Ormerod's goal was cancelled out in the 93rd minute by Chris Taylor of Blackburn.[19] The following week former Wrexham loan star from the previous season Andy Bishop joined the club after his release from Bury.[20] On 13 July the reds travelled up to Scotland to participate in the Raydale Cup, they defeated St Mirren XI 6–1 in the Semi-Final with goals from Joe Clarke, Andy Morrell and two goals from Andy Bishop and Jay Colbeck. The following day they took on Stirling Albion in the Final winning 3–0 with goals from Andy Morrell, Kevin Thornton and Adrian Cieslewicz. This was Wrexham's second trophy win of 2013, Wrexham's Kevin Thornton also won player of the tournament. On 10 September 2013 Wrexham signed defender David Artell until the end of the season as a direct replacement for the injured Mark Creighton who had been in and out of the team. Artell had been released from his contact by Northampton Town after handing them a transfer request and not being taken up during the transfer window. A day later on 11 September 2013 Andy Morrell signed Mark Carrington on non-contract terms. On the 24 February 2014 Andy Morrell stepped down as manager, "I feel it is in the best interests of both Wrexham FC and me to make a change now," Morrell said in a statement. Billy Barr took temporary control of Wrexham Football Club until 20 March 2014 when Kevin Wilkin was announced as the new First Team Manager, joining from Nuneaton Town on a two and a half year deal. Wrexham finished the 2013–14 season in 17th place, the lowest position in the clubs' 150-year history.

Seasons[edit]

This is 10 recent Wrexham seasons, for a full history look List of Wrexham F.C. seasons

Year League Level Pld W D L GF GA GD Pts Position Leading league scorer[21] Goals FA Cup League Cup FA Trophy Average attendance
2004–05 Football League One 3 46 13 14 19 62 80 −18 43† 22nd of 24
Relegated
Juan Ugarte 16 R2 R2 - 4,750[22]
2005–06 Football League Two 4 46 15 14 17 61 54 +7 59 13th of 22 Mark Jones 13 R1 R1 - 4,477[23]
2006–07 Football League Two 4 46 13 12 21 43 65 −22 51 19th of 24 Chris Llewellyn 9 R3 R2 - 5,030[24]
2007–08 Football League Two 4 46 10 10 26 38 70 −32 40 24th of 24
Relegated
Michael Proctor 11 R2 - QR2 4,234[25]
2008–09 Conference Premier 5 46 18 12 16 64 48 +16 64 10th of 24 Jefferson Louis 15 QR4 - R4 3,292[26]
2009–10 Conference Premier 5 44 15 13 16 45 39 +6 58 11th of 23 Gareth Taylor 8 R2 - R1 2,860[27]
2010–11 Conference Premier 5 46 22 15 9 66 49 +17 81 4th of 24
Lost in PO semifinal
Andrew Mangan 15 QR4 - R2 3,060[28]
2011–12 Conference Premier 5 46 30 8 8 85 33 +52 98 2nd of 24
Lost in PO semifinal
Jake Speight 21 R3 - R1 3,806[29]
2012–13 Conference Premier 5 46 22 14 10 74 49 +25 80 5th of 24
Lost in PO final
Daniel Wright 15 R1 - W 3,520[30]
2013–14 Conference Premier 5 46 16 11 19 61 61 0 59 17th of 24 Johnny Hunt 11 R2[31] - R2[32] 2,978[33]

† – deducted 10 points for entering administration.

Stadium[edit]

The Mold Road Stand and Kop
Main article: Racecourse Ground

The Racecourse is situated on the Mold Road, which is the main through road heading into Wrexham, it is opposite the residential area of Maesgwyn, situated between Glyndŵr University and Wrexham General railway station. In August 2011 Glyndŵr University purchased the stadium and the club training facilities in Gresford. Since then, they have added their name to the stadium for it to become: The Glyndŵr University Racecourse Ground. The capacity is 10,771, making it the third largest stadium in the Conference Premier.

The Racecourse is made up of four stands, one of which, the terraced Kop, is closed as it is awaiting demolition following a failed health & safety test in 2008. The Kop stand is located behind the goal at the 'town end' of the ground. Behind the Kop there is multi-story flats which provide accommodation to the University close by.[34] The Glyndŵr University Stand opened in 1978 is a two-tiered stand and has a capacity of 2,800. It is located behind the goal next to the University. It was traditionally used by away fans, but since the closure of the Kop end, it has housed home supporters. The Yale Stand, opened in 1972, is two-tiered stand with a capacity of 4,200. Seats replaced the former terraced paddock in 1999, it houses the Directors' box and Executive area seas and incorporates the changing rooms, club offices, ticket office and club shop. The stand also is home to the Bamford's Suite and Centenary Club hospitality areas. The Mold Road Stand is a single-tiered stand, with a capacity of 3,500, located opposite the Yale Stand. It was built in 1999 at a cost of £3.5m, in time to host the 1999 Rugby World Cup pool game between Samoa and Japan, where a crowd of over 14,000 turned up to see a Samoan victory. The stand's unique design is attributed to the Turf Pub, which is situated on the corner of the stadium. The Mold Road Stand is home to the Executive Boxes and the Changing Rooms restaurant hospitality areas. A TV gantry and studio sit above the row of Executive Boxes, as well as a Police Control Room.

The Racecourse has been used by other teams such as Bangor City for their qualifying matches in the UEFA Cup and Champions League, which they qualify for through the Welsh Premier League and the Welsh Cup, respectively. It was the venue for the Champions League encounter between T.N.S. and Liverpool in 2005, watched by a crowd of 8,009, two late goals by Steven Gerrard sealed a 3–0 win for Liverpool. Bangor City played FC Midtjylland match in 2008, which resulted in a 6–1 victory for the Danish team. Cefn Druids played their first ever Europa League match on the ground in July 2012 – a scoreless draw with Finnish side MyPa.

The Racecourse is not only used for footballing purposes; as the North Wales Crusaders Rugby league side use the Racecourse Ground for their Rugby League Championship home games. In the past, the Llanelli Scarlets Rugby Union and Wales Rugby Union sides have played home games in the historical stadium.

Training ground[edit]

Wrexham's current training ground is the purpose-built Colliers Park, which is situated on Chester Road, Gresford, approximately 2 miles from the Racecourse, close to the site of the old Gresford Colliery. When the construction had been completed it was officially opened in June 1997, at a building cost of £750,000. It is widely regarded in British football to be one of the best training grounds outside of the top flight and one of the best never to have been used by a top-flight team. The England national team, Barcelona, Rangers and the Wales national team have all used it for training purposes. Colliers Park continues to be improved, a running hill, as well as all-weather pitches and a small stand have been constructed since the facilities opened in 1997. Colliers Park is now owned by Glyndwr University as part of their purchase of the Racecourse Ground assets.

Honours[edit]

Domestic[edit]

League[edit]

Cups[edit]

European[edit]

Player records[edit]

Team records[edit]

  • Attendance – 34,445 v Manchester United, FA Cup R4, 26 January 1957
  • League Attendance – 29,261 v Chester City, Div3(N) 1936–37
  • Average attendance – 11,651, 1977–78 season.
  • Highest league win – 10–1 v Hartlepool United, 3 March 1962 (Notable for the first occasion of 3 hat tricks in a single football league game)
  • Worst league defeat – 0–9 v Brentford
  • Biggest cup win – 6–0 v Charlton Ath. 5 January 1980 FA Cup R3
  • Longest Unbeaten Run – 20. January–November 1902
  • Most games won in a row – 10, 5 April 2003 – 8 May 2003
  • Most games without losing – 20, 25 January 1902 – 11 November 1902
  • Most Consecutive League Clean Sheets – 7, 2011–12
  • Most Clean Sheets in a Season – 26. 1973–74
  • Highest transfer received – £800,000 for Bryan Hughes, Birmingham City 1997
  • Highest transfer fee paid – £212,000 for Joey Jones, Liverpool 1978

Players[edit]

As of 4 August 2014.[37]

Current squad[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
1 England GK Andy Coughlin
2 England DF Mark Carrington
3 England DF Neil Ashton (vice captain)
4 England DF Manny Smith
5 England DF Blaine Hudson
6 England MF Joe Clarke
7 England MF Elliott Durrell
8 England MF Jay Harris
9 England FW Louis Moult
10 England FW Andy Bishop
11 England MF Theo Bailey-Jones
12 England MF Dean Keates (captain)
No. Position Player
13 Austria GK Daniel Bachmann (on loan from Stoke City)
14 England DF Steve Tomassen
15 Wales MF Robbie Evans
16 England FW Wes York
17 Wales MF Ross Weaver
18 Wales DF Ross White
19 Wales FW Nick Rushton
20 Wales GK Louis Gray
23 Wales MF Jonathan Royle
24 England FW Connor Jennings
25 Wales DF Anthony Stephens
- Wales FW Danny Reynolds

Out on loan[edit]

Note: Flags indicate national team as defined under FIFA eligibility rules. Players may hold more than one non-FIFA nationality.

No. Position Player
21 England DF Sean Smith (on loan at Bala Town until 1st January)

Non playing staff[edit]

Coaching staff[edit]

Name Role
England Kevin Wilkin Manager
England Gary Mills Assistant Manager
England Michael Oakes Goalkeeping Coach
Wales Joey Jones Reserve Team Manager
Cyprus Christos Christofides Head Physio
Wales Andy Davies Head Of Youth Development
Wales Lee Jones Youth Coach / Football in the Community officer

Club officials[edit]

Name Role
England Dixie McNeil Club President
Scotland Don Bircham Chief Executive
Wales Barry Horne Head Of Football Operations
Wales Spencer Harris Director
Wales Mark Williams Director
Wales Alan Watkin Director
Wales John Mills Director
England Steven Cook Commercial Manager
Wales Geraint Parry Club Secretary

Notable former players[edit]

See also Wrexham F.C. players

Players with international caps in bold.

Players with over 200 Football League appearances for Wrexham[edit]

List is incomplete.

(*)Still playing for Wrexham FC

Players with over 100 Football League appearances for Wrexham[edit]

List is incomplete.

(*)Still playing for Wrexham FC

Other Notable former players[edit]

Inclusion criteria: Attained international caps, went on to/previously played at a significantly higher level of football or is notable for a specific reason.

PFA Team of the Year[edit]

The following have been included in the PFA Team of the Year whilst playing for Wrexham :

Season Division Player(s)
1974–75 Third Division WalesArfon Griffiths
1976–77 Third Division WalesArfon Griffiths, England Billy Ashcroft
1977–78 Third Division WalesDai Davies, Wales Mickey Thomas, England Bobby Shinton, England Dixie McNeil
1988–89 Fourth Division WalesJoey Jones, England Kevin Russell
1991–92 Fourth Division Republic of Ireland Phil Hardy
1992–93 Division 3 Wales Gareth Owen
1994–95 Division 2 England Gary Bennett
1995–96 Division 2 England Karl Connolly, England Bryan Hughes
2002–03 Division 3 Trinidad and Tobago Carlos Edwards, England Andy Morrell
2003–04 Division 2 Trinidad and Tobago Carlos Edwards
2005–06 League 2 Wales Mark Jones


Managerial history[edit]

European record[edit]

European Cup Winners' Cup:

Season Competition Round Opponent Home Away Aggregate
1972–73 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Switzerland FC Zürich 2–1 1–1 3–2
Second Round Croatia Hajduk Split 3–1 0–2 3–3
1975–76 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Sweden Djurgårdens 2–1 1–1 3–2
Second Round Poland Stal Rzeszów 2–0 1–1 3–1
Quarter-Final Belgium Anderlecht 1–1 0–1 1–2
1978–79 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Rijeka 2–0 0–3 2–3
1979–80 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round East Germany FC Magdeburg 3–2 2–5 5–7
1984–85 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Portugal FC Porto 1–0 3–4 4–4
Second Round Italy Roma 0–1 0–2 0–3
1986–87 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Malta Żurrieq 4–0 3–0 7–0
Second Round Spain Real Zaragoza 2–2 0–0 2–2
1990–91 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Denmark Lyngby 0–0 1–0 1–0
Second Round England Manchester United 0–2 0–3 0–5
1995–96 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup First Round Romania Petrolul Ploiești 0–0 0–1 0–1

Support and rivalry[edit]

Support[edit]

In August 2011, Wrexham were faced with being expelled from the Football Conference,[38] fans rallied and raised £127,000 in one day[39] to help pay a bond, so they could secure football for the forthcoming season. A month later the Wrexham Supporters' Trust (WST) took over day-to-day running of the club.[40] Fan ownership of Wrexham was finally ratified on the 12th December 2011.[41] As of May 2014 the WST had 3,154 adult members and joint-owners of the club.[5]

As well as the town of Wrexham, support is drawn from the surrounding towns and villages of the county, such as Gwersyllt and Rhos,[42][43] the Flintshire towns of Mold,[44] Buckley,[45] Holywell[46] and Deeside. For the 2013 FA Trophy Final coaches of Wrexham fans came from many North Wales towns including; Bala, Bangor, Caernarfon, Colwyn Bay, Denbigh, Flint, Llandudno, Prestatyn, Rhyl and Ruthin.[47] Though in England, many Wrexham fans reside in Shropshire.[48] Exiled supporters clubs can be found in South Wales,[49] Manchester and London.[50] Over the past 15 years, even as a lower league side, Wrexham have been able to attract gates of 11,000+ for big games at the Racecourse.[51][51][52]

Famous Wrexham fans include former Royal butler Paul Burrell,[53] actor and television presenter Tim Vincent,[54] Sweet guitarist Andy Scott,[55] 2012 Olympian weightlifter Gareth Evans,[56] Sky Sports reporter Bryn Law[57] and former footballers Robbie Savage[58] and Mark Hughes[59]

Rivalry[edit]

Main article: Cross-border derby

Wrexham has a fierce rivalry with Chester,[60][61] the clubs are just 12 miles apart, but are English and Welsh respectively. The two contest the Cross-Border Derby, the first match was held in 1888 with Wrexham running out 3–2 winners at Faulkner Street, the former home of Chester City, the last derby, to date, was played at the Deva Stadium in April 2014, ending in a 0–0 draw.[62] Wrexham lead the head-to-head rivalry with 67 wins compared to Chester's 50. Games between the two are classed as "high risk"[63] for potential of disorder and are generally moved to early kick-offs with a large police presence to prevent it,[64] though arrests do still occur for various offences surrounding the fans of both clubs.[65][66][67]

Former Chester City player Lee Dixon said of the derby "I'm telling you, Chester versus Wrexham was a real derby! It's difficult to compare if you've not played in each one but there's something special about any derby at any level. I played for Chester v Wrexham and that could get ferocious, It lost nothing in ferocity compared to Arsenal v Spurs".[68] Former Wales and Liverpool striker Ian Rush who played for both clubs, said in 2013 the Cross-border derby between the two clubs is "as intense as they come" and "It is like Wales v England really, it is incredible".[69]

Other rivalries Wrexham also have rivalries with Shrewsbury Town[70][71] and Tranmere Rovers due to geographical proximity. The games are often moved to early kick-offs, in accordance with police, to minimize the potential of trouble as has happened between clubs previously. In 2003, 32 hooligans were jailed after a Tranmere v Wrexham match at Prenton Park[72] and trouble was again evident when the two clubs met in a 2013 friendly at the Racecourse Ground.[73] Though not as intense as they once were, due to divisional differences, Cardiff City, Swansea City, Walsall and Crewe Alexandra can be classed as rivals.[74][75]

Team mascot[edit]

Wrex the Dragon

Wrex the Dragon is the official team mascot of Wrexham. The mascot Wrex the dragon (along with the team nickname "The Dragons"), was introduced in 2001–02 by the Commercial manager following a ballot of fans to help increase sponsorship and promote the club's Welsh image whilst also providing a more unique nickname as Bristol City, Swindon Town and Cheltenham Town also use the nickname of 'The Robins'. 'Wrex' wears a red face and Wrexham F.C. shirt wearing the number "1873" on his back; at the time this was thought to have been the year Wrexham F.C. was officially founded, although more recently uncovered evidence suggests the club was actually founded nine years earlier in 1864. Previous mascot Rockin' Robin was also famous for having a wife called Tina Turfit (plus a son, Robinson) and for being able to ride a bike around the ground and pitch which he did regularly getting him into trouble with manager Brian Flynn. Rockin Robin was also sent off by the referee in the Wrexham vs. Wycombe Wanderers game.

Reserves[edit]

Between 1988 and 1995 the reserve team of Wrexham played in the Welsh football leagues.[76]

Season League Played Won Drew Lost Goals for Goals against Points Final position Teams in League
1988–89 Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) 30 21 4 5 89 36 67 2 16
1989–90 Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) 30 23 1 6 92 30 70 2 16
1990–91 Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) 26 12 7 7 60 39 43 4 14
1991–92 Welsh National League (Wrexham Area) 26 18 2 6 63 28 56 1 14
1992–93 Cymru Alliance 28 19 4 5 81 34 61 4 15
1993–94 Cymru Alliance 34 20 6 8 83 38 66 3 18
1994–95 Cymru Alliance 34 24 5 5 101 39 74 3 18

In the 1994–95 season they won the Cyrmu Alliance League Cup.

Literature[edit]

Wrexham related books

  • Wrexham FC 1872–1950 by Peter Jones and Gareth Davies
  • Wrexham FC 1950–2000 by Peter Jones and Gareth Davies
  • Wrexham – A Complete Record 1872 – 1992 by Peter Jones
  • Wrexham; The European era by Peter Jones
  • Wrexham FC, An A-Z history by Dean Hayes
  • The Racecourse Robins from Adams to Youds by Peter Jones and Gareth Davies
  • The Giant Killers; a Wrexham fan's view by Richard Partington
  • Wrexham Football Club Pen-Portraits by Don Meredith

The Wrexham football team plays a significant role in the 1994 Peter Davies book Twenty Two Foreigners in Funny Shorts which was written for the World Cup in the US It also profiles the Robins' ongoing and ultimately successful promotion effort.

References[edit]

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External links[edit]