Racecourse stadium, Wrexham
This stadium is the oldest international football ground in the world which is currently in use. In 1877 it was the venue for Wales’ first home international match, against Scotland. Wales lost 2-0.
The Racecourse has been home to Wrexham Football Club since 1872, when the club was formed in the nearby Turf Hotel (also known at the time as the Turf Tavern). The exception was a period in the 1880s when the club played elsewhere to avoid the high fees demanded by the ground’s owner at the time, Wrexham Cricket Club. As the ground’s name suggests, horse-racing was among the activities at the site in Victorian times.
The earliest surviving film footage of an international soccer match was shot at the Racecourse when Wales played Ireland here in 1906. The Racecourse was then the property of Frederic W Soames, who owned a brewery near St Giles’ Church. The Soames Charity Cup was a major competition for teams in North Wales and adjoining areas.
Noel Soames, one of FW Soames’ sons, was vice-president of Wrexham FC until his death in Egypt in 1916, while serving with the Cheshire Yeomanry. His brother Arthur was in the first group of British warplanes to fly to France, in August 1914, and was killed in 1915 while experimenting with a bomb. Both are named on Wrexham’s main First World War memorial.
The stadium has also hosted Wales international rugby games. In 2009 the Racecourse became the home ground of the Crusaders rugby league side, which was previously based in Bridgend.
In the early years of the 21st century, Wrexham FC suffered financial problems. There were plans to sell the ground for property development. However, in July 2011 Glyndŵr University acquired the stadium and Wrexham FC’s training ground at Colliers Park, Gresford. The aim was to safeguard the assets and provide new opportunities and facilities for students.
The Racecourse premises are also used for conferences and other events. Wrexham FC, Wales’ oldest football team, continues to play home matches here.
Postcode: LL11 2AN View Location Map