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AFL to aid Wrexham’s stadium ambitions

International sports-specialist practice, AFL Architects, has been appointed by Wrexham AFC to redevelop The Racecourse stadium as the National League football club moves into a new era in its history under its high-profile ownership group.

First opened in 1864 for football, The Racecourse is the world’s oldest international football stadium that still continues to host international games. The first phase of the redevelopment plans is currently underway and sets the stage for Wrexham’s new ambitions. New LED boards, sourced from Wembley Stadium, have been installed around the pitch and made their debut in the club’s recent match against Bromley FC.  

The next stages will build from an initial audit and review project carried out by AFL. The practice’s team will be identifying opportunities to improve spectator experience throughout the concourses and maximise the value of recent major changes at the club, notably its change of ownership.

In November, Hollywood actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds became the new owners of the club after their proposal was accepted by the Wrexham Supporters Trust. The takeover generated headlines across the world, with the club now exploring new avenues to increase membership, enhance the matchday experience and further invest in the team.

Part of these plans involve the redevelopment of the Kop stand, once the largest all-standing terrace in the English Football League at 5,000 capacity, but now no longer in use.

John Roberts, director of AFL Architects, said: “This is an exceptionally exciting time for the club. I am always thrilled when AFL is commissioned in my home country, so the prospect of working for the oldest club in Wales is a very welcome one. The team therefore fully understand and respect this club’s heritage and will be working sensitively and closely with them to revitalise their home.”

Further evidence of Wrexham’s growing ambitions was illustrated yesterday (Tuesday) as it was announced that US media company FX Entertainment had placed a two-season order for an access-all-areas documentary about the club.

‘Welcome to Wrexham’ will track McElhenney and Reynolds’ progress as owners of the club, with the American and Canadian having disclosed that their takeover was being recorded by a documentary crew when they first met virtually with supporters in November.

Commenting on the AFL partnership, Wrexham’s executive director, Humphrey Ker, said: “One of the key promises in our owners’ mission statement for Wrexham AFC is to improve the ground. So, it is a hugely positive step forward to be working with AFL as they have a track record of blending the heritage of famous stadiums with an upgraded fan experience. 

“Their expertise will also help us ensure that the Racecourse Ground can become a hub for the Wrexham AFC community and we look forward to developing plans together in the coming months.”

Image: Wrexham AFC