Tuesday, 18 Jun 2024

The Oldest Stadium in the World: Racecourse Ground

In the charming town of Wrexham, Wales, you’ll find the Racecourse Ground—a historic stadium that holds the title of being the oldest stadium in the world to host international football matches. Since hosting its first Wales game in 1877, this iconic venue has captivated football enthusiasts and history buffs alike.

A Rich Heritage

Founded in 1864, Wrexham A.F.C, also known as the Robins, is not only the oldest football club in Wales but also the third oldest in the world. While the club didn’t participate in league football until it joined The Combination in 1890, it boasts an impressive record of victories. Wrexham has secured the Welsh Cup numerous times, as well as the Football League Trophy and the FA Trophy.

Uncovering the Legends

Beyond its storied past, what truly brought Wrexham A.F.C into the spotlight was the unexpected purchase of the club in 2020 by Hollywood stars Robert McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds. The duo’s decision to document their journey and create a captivating documentary series surrounding the club elevated Wrexham’s profile to new heights.

Stadium Stats

  • Year Opened: 1807
  • Capacity: 10,771
  • Average Attendance: 9,973
  • Record Attendance: 34,445 (Wrexham vs. Manchester United in 1957)
  • Pitch Size: 102 x 68 (6,936 sq.m)
  • Owner: Wrexham A.F.C
  • Sponsor: STōK
  • Clubs Hosted: Wrexham A.F.C, North Wales Crusaders, Liverpool Reserves, Scarlets rugby union club
  • First Fixture: Wrexham vs. Prince of Wales Fire Brigade (22nd October 1864)
  • Year Founded: 1864
  • Nicknames: Red Dragons, The Robins
  • Club Mascot: Wrex the Dragon
  • Rivals: Chester, Shrewsbury Town, Tranmere Rovers, Crewe Alexandra, Cardiff City, Newport County, and Swansea City
  • Previous Stadiums: Rhosddu Recreation Ground
  • Kit: Red & White (Home) / White & Green Stripe (Away) / Black (Third)
  • Training Ground: Nine Acre
  • Shirt Sponsor: United Team
  • Team Owners: Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds
  • Record Goalscorer: Tom Bamford (175 goals)
  • Record Appearances: Arfon Griffiths (592 appearances)

Exploring the Racecourse Ground

Racecourse Ground Photos

Racecourse Ground Photos

Racecourse Ground Seating Plan and Where to Sit

The Racecourse Ground charms visitors with its classical design, featuring stands on each side of the pitch. For an exceptional view, the Wrexham Lager Stand, located along the pitch, offers comfortable seating and excellent facilities. Behind the goal, you’ll find the SToK Cold Brew Stand (or Tech End), where passionate home fans create an electric atmosphere. The Macron Stand serves as the main stand, while the Kop is situated behind the other goal.

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Wrexham A.F.C Ticket Prices

Ticket prices for Wrexham A.F.C matches vary depending on factors such as seating location and concessions. As an adult, expect to pay between £22 and £24, while concessions range from £17 to £19. Please note that prices may be £1 higher when purchasing tickets in person.

How to Get Wrexham A.F.C Tickets

We recommend purchasing your tickets ahead of time through the club’s website or from the club shop. Buying in advance ensures availability and potentially offers discounted rates compared to buying on the day of the match.

Where to Buy

Getting to the Racecourse Ground

Train

If you’re traveling by train, the convenient Wrexham General Station is located right next to the Racecourse Ground.

Bus

The main bus station in Wrexham is approximately half a mile from the stadium. Buses from outside the town will stop there. Upon arrival, head towards the multi-storey car park and then turn right onto Mold Road. Alternatively, the 12A, 21, and PC2 bus routes all stop near the stadium.

Car

If you’re arriving by car, take the A483 road that connects Chester or Oswestry to Wrexham. Take the Mold junction off the A483 and follow the signs for the town center. Along the way, you’ll spot the Racecourse Ground.

By Air

The closest airports to Wrexham are Liverpool John Lennon Airport, just over twenty miles away, and Manchester Airport, approximately forty miles away from the town.

Taxi

A taxi ride from the center of Wrexham to the Racecourse Ground will cost you around £8. The journey typically takes about five minutes, but travel time may vary depending on traffic.

Parking Near the Racecourse Ground

Glyndwr University, located beside the Racecourse Ground, offers parking facilities for match attendees. It’s only a short walk from the university to the turnstiles.

Useful Resources

Racecourse Ground Hotels

As a town accustomed to welcoming visitors, Wrexham offers a variety of hotels to accommodate your stay. Enjoy the charm of this picturesque destination, especially after the club’s newfound fame from the documentary.

Pubs and Bars Near the Racecourse Ground

In true Welsh fashion, you’re never too far from a pub in Wrexham. Here are our top picks:

Facilities and Hospitality

The Racecourse Ground offers a range of facilities that align with its position as a lower-tier club. Recent refurbishments, following the Hollywood takeover, have elevated the comfort and amenities available to visitors.

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Prices

  • Programme: £3.5
  • Pie: £2.8
  • Cup of Tea: £2
  • Beer: £4

Hospitality

For those seeking a premium experience, the Racecourse Ground provides several hospitality options, including the Bamford Suite, the 1864 Suite, and executive boxes. Each option offers a unique blend of excellent seating, delectable food, refreshing beverages, and the possibility of special meet and greets.

Private Hire

If you’re interested in hiring specific facilities at the Racecourse Ground, contact the club directly to discuss available options and arrangements.

Stadium Tours & Museum

Immerse yourself in the rich footballing history of the Racecourse Ground by joining an engaging stadium tour. Explore the iconic venue, learning about its remarkable heritage and reliving unforgettable moments. Tours are available at a cost of £10 for adults and £5 for concessions/children. Please note that tour availability is limited, so advance booking is advisable.

About Wrexham A.F.C

Wrexham Association Football Club, known as Clwb Pêl-droed Cymdeithas Wrecsam in Welsh, was founded in 1864. Initially created to provide members of Wrexham Cricket Club with physical activity during the winter months, the football club quickly gained popularity. Wrexham made history by winning the inaugural Welsh Cup in the 1877-1878 season, defeating Druids FC 1-0. The team primarily participated in friendly matches and cup tournaments until joining The Combination league in 1890.

Over the years, Wrexham has experienced both triumphs and challenges, but perhaps the most remarkable event occurred in November 2020. Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney not only acquired the club but also produced a highly successful documentary series showcasing their journey. This unprecedented venture captured the hearts of fans worldwide, propelling Wrexham A.F.C to newfound fame.

Racecourse Ground History

The Racecourse Ground’s history spans centuries, earning its distinction as the oldest international football stadium still in use. Since its establishment in October 1864, Wrexham A.F.C has called the venue home, with few exceptions. In the 1881-1882 and 1882-1883 seasons, the club temporarily relocated due to increased rental costs imposed by the stadium’s owners. Interestingly, the stadium derived its name from its occasional use for horse racing, while cricket matches were frequently played before the football club’s occupation. The stadium saw its largest-ever attendance in 1957 when 34,445 spectators flocked to witness Wrexham face off against Manchester United in the FA Cup.

Apart from international football matches, the Racecourse Ground has also played host to significant Champions League encounters. For instance, in 2005, TNS hosted Liverpool in a qualifier at the stadium. Nonetheless, it is its association with international football that solidifies its place in the record books. The Racecourse Ground served as the venue for Wales’ inaugural international match in 1877 and has since hosted more Wales matches than any other stadium. Given its status as the largest stadium in northern Wales and the fifth largest in the country, it is a fitting stage for momentous occasions. Additionally, Liverpool has occasionally hosted reserve matches there, while North Wales Crusaders rugby league club and Scarlets rugby union club have also graced the stadium’s grounds.

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Future Developments

Even before the Hollywood takeover, the Racecourse Ground had ongoing renovation projects. The Kop stand underwent significant reconstruction work, slated for completion in time for the 2024-2025 season. With the new ownership, further investments are expected to bring the stadium to an even higher standard. Although specifics regarding future developments are yet to be confirmed, reviving the Kop stand and introducing event spaces and hospitality lounges are focal points.

FAQs

Q: How much do Wrexham A.F.C tickets cost?
A: Ticket prices for Wrexham A.F.C matches vary depending on seating location and concessions. Adult tickets range from £22 to £24, while concessions are priced between £17 and £19. On-site purchases may incur an additional £1 charge.

Q: How can I purchase Wrexham A.F.C tickets?
A: We recommend purchasing your tickets in advance through the club’s website or at the club shop. Buying ahead ensures availability and potentially offers discounted rates compared to purchasing on match days.

Q: Where can I find parking near the Racecourse Ground?
A: Glyndwr University, located adjacent to the Racecourse Ground, offers parking facilities for match attendees. It’s a short walk from the university to the turnstiles. For available parking options, visit this link.

Q: Are stadium tours available at the Racecourse Ground?
A: Yes, stadium tours are available at the Racecourse Ground. They provide an immersive experience, delving into the stadium’s rich history. Tour prices are £10 for adults and £5 for concessions/children. Due to limited availability, it is advisable to book in advance.

Conclusion

The Racecourse Ground stands as a testament to the enduring legacy and the cherished moments of Wrexham A.F.C. This historic stadium continues to host international football matches, capturing the hearts of football enthusiasts. As new developments unfold, the future of this iconic venue shines bright, providing fans with memorable experiences for years to come.