North East Wales

Glyndwr university 'can afford' Wrexham's Racecourse

Wrexham's Racecourse ground
Image caption The owners put the club on the market in May

Glyndwr University has the money to buy Wrexham FC's Racecourse stadium and Colliers Park training ground, its vice-chancellor has said.

Prof Michael Scott says the purchase would not leave the university in debt and was part of its growth in Wrexham.

And he is confident the university would be able to work with the Wrexham Supporters' Trust (WST) if they managed to buy the football club.

The sale has been welcomed by Wrexham council and Wrexham MP Ian Lucas.

"Obviously I'm delighted the supporters are happy about this venture," said Mr Scott, who refused to reveal details of the deal, but said Wrexham FC "has priority use on the stadium".

"We want to open it up to community use," he added. "We are an ambitious university, ambitious for north east Wales and Wales as a whole.

"We haven't gone into debt to buy it, we've got the money to be able to do it.

Unpaid staff

"That's the way we run Glyndwr University, we don't go into debt."

The ground and football club was put up for sale in May and owners Geoff Moss and Ian Roberts said there was no more money available.

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

The supporters' trust has been interested in a deal to take over the club from the start.

It was initially part of a joint bid with local hotelier Stephanie Booth before she later withdrew.

Businessman Colin Poole then 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.

Mr Moss said the sale of the ground "opens the door" for WST to take over the running of the football club.

'Detailed discussions'

He added: "They will make their own arrangements with the university and that can be for the long-term benefit of the club."

WST chief executive Richard Green said he was "delighted" with the sale.

"It's been a great fear of the fans, and the community in Wrexham and north east Wales, that the ground would be sold for redevelopment," he said.

"This is the oldest international football ground in the world, and the only substantial sporting venue in north Wales."

Mr Green said "detailed" discussions were ongoing between the trust and the club's owners about buying the club.

"We have our business case to put forward and of course we'll put that to the football authorities who we must convince that we are able to fulfil fixtures," he said.

"I am entirely convinced that we will be able to fulfil the fixture list and that we'll be able to take this club forward," he added.

Wrexham council's leader, Coun Ron Davies, said he was "reassured by comments" from the University about their plans, while MP Ian Lucas said the purchase was a "key part of the jigsaw falling into place".

Rugby league side Crusaders will also still be able to play their games at the Racecourse.

The struggling Super League side, also owned by Mr Moss, has not renewed its licence to play in the competition for the next three years.

And the Rugby Football League, which owned a part of the ground, will cut all ties once the sale to Glyndwr University goes through.

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites