Wales boss Speed backs survival bid

Reporter:

Andrew Boyd and Garth Ap Thomas

WALES football boss Gary Speed is desperately hoping Wrexham FC survives its current crisis.

In an exclusive interview with the Leader from Brazil, Speed said the club’s survival was crucial for the good of Welsh football.

“It is massively important the club pulls through this,” he said.

“The club is important to so many people and it needs to survive for the good of Welsh football.”

Mancot-born Speed, 41, is calling for an urgent solution to the club’s problems.

“Wrexham has a great history stretching back more than 100 years and it is something that means a great deal to the fans, the community, the area and Wales as a whole,” he said.

“I know a lot of my colleagues at the Football Association of Wales (FAW) are equally concerned and hope things can be resolved.”

Speed spoke as the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust stepped up its bid to buy the club and save it from possible extinction and looked to secure the funding required to complete a takeover.

Glyndwr University is looking to buy The Racecourse, a stadium where Wales occasionally played home matches during Speed’s international career.

Although Speed never played for Wrexham, in a career in which he won 85 full international caps for Wales and played for five clubs including Leeds United, Everton and Newcastle United, he has a long-standing connection with the club as he was brought up nearby in Flintshire.

“I know more than most how important Wrexham is to so many people,” he added.

Speed said he was aware talks had been held between the FAW and the club to help the Reds move forward.

“We want to help and do everything we can,” said Speed.

“But things need to be constructive and we cannot be seen to be biased towards Wrexham at the expense of other clubs.

“Everyone hopes there is a happy solution. Wrexham FC needs to survive.”

Former Wales midfielder Robbie Savage has also pledged his support for the stricken club.

Last week the BBC reported that Wrexham-born Savage would be prepared to join a consortium to buy Wrexham if the right conditions were in place.

However speaking to the Leader, Savage, now a broadcaster, made clear that at present he has not had any approaches to get on board.

“I haven’t been approached by a consortium, but yes, if the right group came along I would be willing and want to help Wrexham FC,” he said.

Wrexham legend Dixie McNeil says the Racecourse club should remain at the heart of the community.

McNeil, a former Reds manager and player, said: “Personally I feel the same about Wrexham today as I did as a player.

“It is a very special club, close to so many people’s hearts. We all want Wrexham to survive.”

McNeil also praised the efforts of fans in their mammoth fundraising effort.

“This spirit of generosity is typical of Wrexham people. Their hard work and commitment is tremendous. At the end of the day the club is about the supporters,” he said.

Looking to the future, McNeil said he felt Wrexham could certainly have the potential to develop into a strong football league club.

“That’s where it belongs, but it’s got to be a case of one step at a time. We have to get through this very difficult time for now and that is what people are concentrating on.

“There is a need for stability a permanent owner and a planned future.”

See full story in the Leader

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