The world’s oldest international football stadium, located in Wrexham, Wales, needs your support to ensure its long-term future, after a recent campaign to save it from speculative property developers. As David Conn reported in the Guardian this morning, “Wrexham fans have launched a petition for the Racecourse Ground to be protected by the local authority from being sold off without a replacement stadium being in place.”
Wrexham started playing at the Racecourse Ground all the way back in 1872; it also played host to the third ever international football match between Scotland and Wales.
But in 2002, property developer Alex Hamilton seized control of the club, and transferred ownership of the ground to his own company, Crucialmove, raising the rent and changing the term’s of the club’s lease. In 2004, Crucialmove gave the football club twelve months to quit the ground, an outrageous attempt at property speculation by Hamilton & co., attempting to profit from the prime location of the ground. His plan was to sell the ground for property development and pocket millions in the process.
A furious legal battle followed along with a nationwide campaign of support in solidarity with Wrexham fans. In late 2005, a ruling by judge Alistair Norris in the high court provided a historic rebuke to property speculation in football: the judge ruled that “A fiduciary position in the club has been misused for the benefit of those interested in the exploitation of its property assets.” The ground was returned to the club.
Now supporters are attempting to ensure the long-term future of the Racecourse Ground as a football venue, by petitioning the local council to include this as part of the Wrexham Local Development Plan. As the petition by Wrexham’s Red Passion supporters explains:
The RED PASSION community website consisting of Wrexham fans from all corners of the globe and including residents of Wrexham Borough, wish to encourage councillors on the planning policy committee, to agree by way of majority, that The Racecourse Stadium, Mold Road, Wrexham, should be clearly identified in the LDP as an area which is protected and reserved for leisure activities, in particular in its role as the Football Stadium in North Wales for hosting international sporting events and major cultural programmes. The stadium has been used for this purpose since 1877 and the current pitch since the turn of the last century.
Please take a moment to sign the petition here — all supporters should take a second to help protect the homes of clubs worldwide.