Return of international football ‘a boost for Racecourse regeneration’

The return of the Welsh international football team to Wrexham is an additional spur to regenerate the world’s oldest international football stadium and develop a national football museum in the town.

That’s the view of Llyr Gruffydd, Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM, who launched the campaign for a national football museum at the Racecourse more than three years ago.

He welcomed the forthcoming Wales v Trinidad and Tobago international, the first in the North for 11 years, and said the fact that it was a sell-out crowd demonstrated the strength of support in the region.

He said: “Everyone in Wales understands that football’s spiritual home is here in Wrexham. This is where football started in Wales and it’s still home to the oldest existing international stadium in the world as well as the third oldest football club in the world. It’s also where the FA of Wales has chosen to invest in the future with a National Football Development Centre at Collier’s Park. That’s why Plaid Cymru made the case for a National Football Museum in its 2016 manifesto and ensured the feasibility study was funded in the 2017-8 budget by the Welsh Government.

“I’m delighted the national team is playing here at The Racecourse and it’s important that we see the museum as part of an opportunity to regenerate the Kop end of the ground. To my mind, this is an opportunity to develop a landmark building for this side of Wrexham. It’s the gateway to the town and is likely to get a new £10 million transport hub at the adjacent train station – it’s a one-off opportunity to do the right thing to boost the club and the town.”

A feasibility study last year agreed that a football museum could be located in the town, although there is no agreement on location or year-on-year funding for such a venture.

Mr Gruffydd added: “As well as ensuring more international matches are held in Wrexham, a four-sided ground would enhance the commercial opportunities for both the club and the town more widely. There are many hurdles to overcome but the biggest one is having political will to make these things happen. It still remains my ambition that the museum is incorporated into a future redevelopment of the Racecourse and we’ll continue to press for the museum to be a catalyst for that redevelopment at the Racecourse ground.

“In the meantime, let’s enjoy the atmosphere in the build-up to the Trinidad game, which will be a great boost for the town, and hope for a convincing win ahead of the Euro qualifier on Sunday against Slovakia.”

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