The Race Course
The Racecourse Ground (Welsh: Y Cae Ras) is a stadium located in Wrexham, North Wales. It is the home of the oldest Welsh Football League Club Wrexham FC; football and rugby union matches are the venue's most common events but in its time it has seen cricket, originally horse racing and even pop concerts performed before large crowds. The Racecourse ground hosted the third ever football international between Wales and Scotland, which consequently makes it the oldest international football stadium in the world on which football is still be played.
The Racecourse is the largest stadium in North Wales, and consequently is sometimes used by the FAW for Wales' home international games. The ground is also used by Llanelli Scarlets rugby team, and formerly Liverpool FC Reserves.
The Kop: the all-standing home stand, is named after the Battle of Spion Kop, as many grounds in the UK used to have ends named similarly. Behind the goal, it is known officially as the Crispin Lane End or "Town End". Here the hooligan firm 'Wrexham Frontline' normally reside, although recent seasons have seen them move to the Mold Road end to be nearer the away fans. The Spion Kop is well known as having the best atmosphere in the ground. With a capacity of 5,000, it is now also the largest all-standing terrace in the Football League.
The Sainsbury's Stand, formerly known as the Yale Stand: backing onto where Yale College used to be. It was built in 1972 in preparation for the club's first venture into Europe, and also provided new dressing rooms, club offices and entertainment suites. The Centenary Club, ticket offices and club shop are also located here.
The Eric Roberts Builders Stand: formerly the Marstons Stand/Tech End, and known in the town as the Away Stand. It holds 3,800 spectators and provides the away supporter with excellent views of the pitch and excellent acoustics. From the 2007/2008 season home fans will be located in this stand and away fans moved to the wing of the Yale Stand.
The Mold Road Stand: the newest stand, was secured with lottery funding, built over the old Mold Road stand, there can be a good atmosphere in there. The stand possesses a TV studio and eight fully equipped private boxes.and has a restaurant called "The Changing Rooms"; there is also a club shop which is run by the Supporters' Trust adjacent to the stand. The stand was initially named after the chairman Pryce Griffiths, but was renamed as the Mold Road Stand, following Pryce Griffith's endorsement of Alex Hamilton's redevelopment scheme.
Wrexham have 45 disabled places available at the front of the Pryce Griffiths Stand. There are 22 parking spaces and two disabled toilets with dedicated refreshment kiosks. Admission is £10 for the disabled supporter (£5 concessions) and the helper admitted free.
The ground is located on Mold Road close to the A483 dual carriageway. Plenty of street parking is available if arriving early. Wrexham General train station is adjacent to the ground. It is well placed as it is close to local amenities such as banks, pubs and food outlets. The town centre is only 5 minutes away walking down Mold Road and on to Regent Street.
How to get there
From The North: Take the A483 towards Wrexham (this is the Wrexham by-pass). Leave the A483 at the junction of the A541 Mold Road. The ground is 300 yards from this junction (on the A541) towards Wrexham town centre.
From The South: Take the M54 from the M6 (Junction 10A Northbound). Follow the M54 to the end of the motorway and join the A5 towards Shrewsbury. Continue on the A5 past Shrewsbury and Oswestry and then join the A483 towards Wrexham. Stay on the A483 as you reach Wrexham (this is the Wrexham by-pass). Then as above. Street parking.
Highest attendance 34,445 v Manchester United, FA Cup, 4th Round, January 26, 1957.
- 2006-2007: 5,030 (League Two)
- 2005-2006: 4,478 (League Two)
- 2004-2005: 4,751 (League One)
- 2003-2004: 4,396 (Division Two)
- 2002-2003: 4,263 (Division Three)
- 2001-2002: 3,800 (Division Two)
- 2000-2001: 3,600 (Division Two)
Wrexham Football Club have played at the Racecourse Ground since being formed in the local Turf Hotel public house in September 1872. There were however four seasons in the 1880s when the club played at the Recreation Ground in Rhosddu due to an increase in rent from the then owners, Wrexham Cricket Club. Before the club was formed the ground was mainly used for cricket and occasionally, horse racing.
On 2 April 1906 The Racecourse hosted an international match between Wales and Ireland. The match ended up 4-4 and was attended by approximately 6,000 people. The oldest footage of any football match in the world was shot at this game by film pioneers Mitchell and Kenyon. The film is currently housed in The National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales in Aberystwyth. On 2 April 2006 a plaque was unveiled at the Racecourse Ground to commemorate this historic event.
1952 saw the laying down of concrete terracing on the ever-popular Kop end, which is now the oldest part of the ground. Five years later was to see the largest ever attendance at the Racecourse when 34,445 people gathered to witness an FA Cup fourth round tie against Manchester United. On 30 September 1959 the Racecourse saw the switching on of the newly installed floodlights, which are said to be the brightest in the Football League.
After promotion to the old Second Division in 1978 the Border Stand was built, taking its name from the local brewery which owned the ground. This part of the ground is now known as the Eric Roberts Builders Stand, where visiting supporters are normally seated.
The latest addition to the ground was achieved in 1999 after Grant Aid from Sport Lot, the Welsh Development Agency and the Football Trust together with generous local sponsorship allowed for the construction of a new stand on the Mold Road side of the ground. The impressive new structure named the Pryce Griffiths Stand has a capacity of 3,500 and also contains hospitality and conferencing facilities.
The development also saw the Paddock areas of the Sainsbury's Stand and the Eric Roberts Builders Stand become all-seated, bringing the current capacity up to 15,500 and thus allowing international football and rugby union to once again be played at the Racecourse.
In 2002 then Wrexham FC chairman William Pryce Griffiths secured a 125-year lease on the Racecourse with Wolverhampton Dudley Breweries for £750,000, and a peppercorn annual rent of £1.
On 26 June 2002 the freehold to the Racecourse Ground was acquired by Wrexham AFC from Wolverhampton Dudley Breweries for the sum of £300,000. On the same day the ownership of the freehold was transferred by the Chairman, Alex Hamilton, from Wrexham AFC to another of his companies, Damens Ltd, for a nominal fee. After this controversial change in ownership the 125-year lease on the Racecourse held by Wrexham FC was renegotiated. The new lease stated that Damens Ltd could evict Wrexham FC from the Racecourse Ground upon 12 months' notice and payment of £1,000,000. The new lease also saw the club's annual rent increase from £1 to £30,000. In 2004 Wrexham FC was given a years' notice to quit the ground; this triggered a furious reaction from fans - in a legal case running through to March 2006 the High Court ruled that the ownership of the freehold of the ground had been improperly transferred, and ownership of the ground reverted to the clubs' then-Administrators (the club having gone into Administration in December 2004 with debts of £2,600,000). With the clubs' emergence from Administration in May 2006, ownership of the ground now lies with the new company, Wrexham Football Club (2006) Ltd.