Wales

Glyndwr University to buy Wrexham's Racecourse stadium

  • 3 August 2011
  • From the section Wales

Glyndwr University has signed an agreement to buy Wrexham FC's Racecourse stadium and Collier's Park training ground.

The deal does not include Wrexham FC or the Crusaders rugby league team who both play there.

But the deal will allow both sporting teams to continue using the facilities.

Wrexham Supporters' Trust, who want to buy the football club, called the deal "one of the important steps to football continuing at the Racecourse".

Prof Michael Scott, the Wrexham university's vice chancellor and chief executive, said the purchase has been made to secure the stadium's future.

A statement by Glyndwr University said the agreement was subject to completion and contract under the financial terms agreed by both parties.

"It is the university's intention that by securing both facilities, Wrexham Football Club will be able to continue to use the facilities and that the same might also apply for the Crusaders Rugby League.

Urgent assurances

"The purchase is made in the context of the university's continued development of higher education programmes related to sport, for the benefit of students and the wider community," said the statement.

Last week it emerged around 115 staff at the club, including the players, have not been paid and two pre-season friendlies were called off.

Owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts said they had run out of money, releasing figures showing they have put £2m into the club in the last two years.

Mr Moss said he expected the university to look after and improve the stadium, adding they were the "perfect" landlord.

"It now opens the door to the supporters' trust to come in and take over the running of the football club and they will make their own arrangements with the university," he said.

The Football Conference has been seeking urgent assurances that Wrexham will be able to complete its fixtures next season.

Meanwhile, Crusaders chief executive Rod Findlay has pleaded with their rivals to take the club's players and support staff following their withdrawal from the Super League.

Players face an uncertain future after the owners pulled out of the top-flight licence process because of their financial concerns.

Mr Findlay said ticket sales for the club's final home game against Hull, which has been moved to August 21, will go towards paying wages.

Wrexham FC's 2011/12 Blue Square Bet Premier campaign is due to get underway at the Racecourse against Cambridge on Saturday, 13 August.

Fans' group, Wrexham Supporters' Trust (WST), has been interested in a deal to take over the club from the start.

WST chief executive Richard Green said: "We shall now be entering into detailed discussions with the university about arrangements for the football club to continue to go forward at the ground.

"Very soon afterwards, we will be able to put finalised proposals to the trust membership."

Initially, WST was part of a joint bid with local hotelier Stephanie Booth before she later withdrew, leaving the fans to pursue their own bid.

200-year history

In May, businessman Colin Poole pledged cash for a takeover with the WST having a 25.1% share, before he also pulled out.

Since then, WST has been in talks over a full takeover putting the club into community ownership.

In 2008, Wrexham's Racecourse was officially recognised as the oldest football stadium in the world still hosting international games.

The stadium has a 200-year history as a sporting venue.

Glyndwr Uuniversity hope to apply for Lottery funding to build two new stands at either end of the Racecourse, including one to replace the closed Kop.

University officials say they are making the purchase as a charitable organisation observing Charity Commission rules.

Before agreeing the deal, the university had two evaluations carried out.

They insist the purchase will not put any undue financial pressure on the university.

As well as the university playing sports on the Racecourse, it is envisaged community groups and schools will also have access.

  • A game to mark the deal is being held at the ground between Wrexham FC players and reserves on Thursday 4 August. Kick off at 18:30 BST. Admission is free.

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