A BRIGHT future is being hailed for The Racecourse in Wrexham after a landmark deal was struck yesterday.
Wrexham FC owner Geoff Moss and Professor Michael Scott, vice-chancellor of Glyndwr University, signed the deal to mark the handover of the stadium and Colliers Park training ground to the university – a deal believed to be worth £1.8million.
After the contract was signed at the university, both parties stressed their belief a bright future lies ahead and expressed their pleasure at the deal being struck.
Prof Scott gave assurances about the future of the historic stadium, which has been used by Wrexham since 1872 and hosted its first international match five years later.
He said: “This is a fantastic stadium, the oldest international football stadium in the world. There is absolutely no way this should be sacrificed.”
He has laid out a vision for The Racecourse to be the stadium for North Wales and an equivalent of the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, and described the signing of the paperwork as a “proud day” for both the club and university.
He added: “There will be opportunities for people in both Wrexham and North-East Wales,” he said.
“The club is a very big part of the community and we are keen to work in partnership as much as possible together, providing increased opportunities for the young people at the university.
“The club and stadium are very much at the heart of Wrexham with a fantastic heritage.”
Prof Scott said issues concerning the finances of Wrexham FC rest with the club, which the university will have no control over, but said matters relating to the takeover of the stadium itself had “been taken care of”.
He revealed he was in favour of rugby league continuing at the stadium, having been used by the Crusaders for the past two seasons.
The Crusaders withdrew their application to remain in Super League last week, with supporters fearful for the future.
“I am in favour of multi-use and community use at the stadium,” he added.
Mr Moss said he was pleased with the agreement being struck and could see comparisons with other places where sport and a university are closely connected, such as Oxford and Cambridge.
He said: “The football club and university working together can only be a good thing for Wrexham as a town.
“I cannot think of better people to own this stadium than Glyndwr University and our dealings on this have been absolutely first class. They deserve to be commended for what they have done.
“We are pleased to be working with a local university and locally based people.”
He told the Leader the deal had no direct bearing on any takeover of the club and said he was waiting for ‘heads of terms’ to be drawn up between the club and prospective new owners Wrexham Supporters Trust before any progress was made.
Mr Moss also wished to allay fears about a meeting of the Football Conference today, after the club was last week asked by the league to clarify its financial position amid growing uncertainty about the Reds’ future.
He said: “It is a general meeting for all teams and has been arranged for some time.”
Manager Dean Saunders broke off from leading a training session on The Racecourse pitch to express his delight at the development.
He said: “This is great news for everyone. It is particularly positive news for the players.”
Club secretary Geraint Parry believed the agreement bodes well for all club employees and supporters.
He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic and I believe this is good news for everybody. The people at Glyndwr have got the interests of the club at heart.”
Chief executive Jon Harris said: “We have been looking to get some stability. This is a great step in providing some stability for the football club. This matters to the players and everybody connected to the club.”
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