Do you remember how Rushden & Diamonds had all that cash and still struggled to secure promotion? Wrexham are a bit like that. Now with two Hollywood A-listers at the helm, it arguably brings a touch of class previously unseen in that part of North Wales. But the Dragons still can’t seem to escape the clutches of the National League. It’s years since we last met. Given it took until our fifth attempt to beat them, we aren’t all that sad that we’re still waiting to see if they can get back into the Football League.
The Red Dragons are the third oldest professional football team in the world – or so they say. Not that we doubt that. Any club formed as recently as 1976 has no place raising an eyebrow at how old a club is. You’ll find few others formed as long ago as 1864, just two years behind Notts County. For the Welsh lads, it’s been a long and proud history too; a few pots here and there and the odd magic moment against the big boys too.
In recent times, the Red Dragons haven’t had the same success as Cardiff, Swansea or even Newport. But, in fairness, they don’t really measure themselves against south Welsh sides. The club’s main beef, it seems, is with nearby Chester. Over the years, though, they’ve won the Football League Trophy and FA Trophy – as well as a record 23 Welsh Cups. You might scoff at that tournament, but it gave them a way into Europe; playing in the European Cup Winners’ Cup on eight occasions and reaching the quarters against Anderlecht in 1975-6.
Why do we know Wrexham?
Now, you’ll know that Wrexham plunged into the Conference in 2008 after finishing rock bottom of the Football League. But that ain’t the reason why we first came to know them. And it ain’t the first time they’d propped up the League either. In 1965-6, the Red Dragons had to rely on re-election to stay in Division Four after a dire campaign. They were spared the Conference again in 1991 when league restructuring meant no-one went down.
What a blinding idea that is. No relegation to the Conference, eh? Should bring that back.
Our first experience of the Red Dragons didn’t wait until they eventually did drop out of the League. In fact, it came two years before; Stimmo‘s Boro’ side sent to the Racecourse for a FA Cup First Round tie. Hopes for a cupset were high. But the Welsh side know a thing or two about that sort of thing and did what they had to in order to book a place in the next round.
How to get to Wrexham – Travel Information – Distance: 171 miles
You need to travel west and join the M1 northbound – whichever way is best for you. Or you can head north on the A1 and then west on the A14. Join the M6 northbound and continue along the old part of the motorway (through Birmingham) to J10a for the M54.
Again, there’s an alternative and that’s to take the M6 toll to T8. Here, you should follow signs for Wolverhampton and then Featherstone (A460). Just after you pass through the village of Featherstone, there is a large roundabout where you can then join the M54.
Take the M54 until it becomes the A5 and continue west to Shrewsbury. At Shrewsbury, follow signs for the A5 and head north-west for Oswestry, and then north. At Chirk, leave the A5 for the northbound A483. After about 7.5 miles, exit the A438 at the junction with the A541.
Off the slip road, take the fourth exit for the town centre and the ground will appear.
There should be plenty of parking available in the Glyndwr University campus car park, which is next to the away end and just before the stadium on the left if coming from the A483.
Services to: BIRMINGHAM NEW STREET (for PETERBOROUGH)
The station is literally on the other side of the bridge from the Racecourse Ground. Just remember – once you go up the station approach, turn right to cross the railway. But you should be able to see the ground from here and know what’s what.
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