North East Wales

Football Conference approves Wrexham FC season start

Wrexham Football Club will play its first match of the season in the Blue Square Bet Premier on Saturday, the Football Conference has confirmed.

Conference chiefs said Dragons fans had gone "far beyond the call of duty to their club" after raising £100,000 from their own pockets on Tuesday.

One fan even offered his home's deeds to help the club raise a £250,000 bond.

Two contradictory clauses in the club's lease should be dealt with "swiftly", conference bosses say.

The Dragons are due to start their league campaign at home to Cambridge United on Saturday after satisfying Football Conference demands for the bond.

The club were £100,000 short when Monday's 17:00 BST deadline for the money passed but the "overwhelming" support showed by fans, who raised a six-figure sum in seven hours, has won praise from the Football Conference's board.

In a statement, they said: "It is pleasing to learn that all staff, players and football creditors have been paid along with outstanding monies to HMRC.

"It is recognised by the Board of the Football Conference that over recent days a number of people, often under difficult and delicate circumstances, have worked tirelessly to achieve this outcome.

Image caption Glyndwr University have bought the club's Racecourse ground

"The fans of Wrexham FC, drawn from all walks of life, have gone far beyond the call of duty to their club.

"It would be wrong to single out individuals, so well done to all those who have contributed, in whatever way they did so."

The Football Conference said it was justified in laying down ground rules that have been criticised by "a small minority" as "draconian".

It added: "Had this strong stance not been taken then there was never any guarantee that any new owners for Wrexham FC may have been forthcoming.

"By the time Wrexham Supporters Trust are finally in a position to acquire the club, there may not have been a club."

Phil Wynn, a councillor and life-long fan, said the club had hit "rock bottom" with Tuesday's cash appeal but had turned it in to an "amazing day" in its history.

He said: "Yesterday morning started with concerns that we just wouldn't make it. It started slowly but by lunchtime, once the bank account had been set up by the club, the money just started piling in.

"I believe there was £10,000 wired in from somebody in Canada, who just woke up and a got a text to say 'can you help?'.

Training facilities

"One of the first fans to come along was this young lad who must have been only 10. He could only just get his head above the counter but he slapped his £35 on the counter and filled his form in.

"Another memory that will stick with me is another chap, he must have been 80, on a stick. [He was] obviously an ex-coal miner [and] could hardly breathe.

"He said he hadn't been to see [the team play] for years but was a lifelong fan and he was happy to put his £200 in to the pot like everybody else."

Wrexham MP Ian Lucas added: "Wrexham fans showed yesterday what a true community club could be.

"The club's fans have not had an easy time for many years but their passion remains undiminished.

"Now I want to see Wrexham Supporters' Trust buy the club fast so the team can concentrate on winning promotion top the Football League - where they belong."

Wrexham's owners completed the sale of the Racecourse and Colliers Park training facilities to Glyndwr University on Friday.

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