WREXHAM AFC and Darland High School have agreed a deal to build a new Academy training facility at the school.

The facility is a key development on the road to achieving Category Three Academy status, with the club's application for the 2024/25 season currently pending.

The agreement will see Wrexham AFC build five pitches of varying sizes for use by its Academy teams, from ages nine to 18.

The facility at the Rossett school will also include bespoke changing rooms, toilets, offices, analysis rooms, medical rooms, a gym, kitchen, meeting rooms and a classroom.

Discussions first started with Darland High School in November 2023.

The final decision on the club’s Academy grading for 2024/25 is, following a successful PGAAC audit, pending the outcome of the search for a permanent facility.


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Wrexham AFC Academy Manager Andy Lowe said: “I am delighted to finally see the Academy facility project with Darland High School come to fruition. This is a significant milestone for our Academy at Wrexham AFC and is the accumulation of eight months of extremely hard work behind the scenes by numerous people.

“From my first meeting with head teacher Joanne Lee back in November 2023 to discuss the potential of Darland High as an academy training facility, it was evident we had a shared vision for the development of young people, both on and off the field, which will be vitally important to the success of the partnership moving forward.

“Darland High is in a fantastic location within the Wrexham area and allows us the opportunity to grow as an EFL licensed academy. The development of home-grown players is integral to the long-term sustainability of any football club and the announcement of this facility is a step in the right direction in ensuring we continue to develop Wrexham AFC players of the future.

“The Club were awarded an EFL Category Four license in July 2023 with a strategy to establish a safe to operate and compliant academy – highlighted by a very successful audit – and to endeavour to find a longterm training facility.

“In 12 months, we have achieved both and all involved should be extremely proud of their efforts. The Darland facility now provides us with a fantastic opportunity to support of our ongoing Category Three application and aspirations of becoming an EFL Category Three-Two Academy.

“Finally, it is extremely pleasing to see the significant investment the club are committing to this project, which will have a lasting impact on young people in the academy, school and local community for many years to come.”

Darland High School headteacher Joanne Lee added: “Darland is so much more than a school; we are embedded in a richly diverse community encompassing our local village and cluster primaries - Saint Peter’s, Rossett; Llay Park, Llay; All Saints’, Gresford; Holt Primary, Holt; and The Rofft, Marford; all of which will be included within this partnership through their already strong links with Darland.

“Collectively known as the Darland Learning Community, we welcome Wrexham AFC to our family. I was particularly heartened with the connection between the values and standards held by Academy Manger Andy Lowe and those of the school.

“We are keen to develop a lasting legacy for the families of Darland students and Academy player alike. Both the school and the Academy set to benefit from the partnership as we develop strong community links and embrace the Academy into our Learning Community.

“We are looking forward to this being the start of a successful long-term partnership between the football club and the school, which will benefit generations of families across Wrexham. This is a collaboration that will develop and strengthen over the years ahead.

“We appreciate Andy Lowe’s ambition of the club in ‘wanting to be the best Academy for producing young players for the first team and beyond,’ and are excited to be part of that vision.

“We understand that this does not happen overnight and look forward to working with the Wrexham AFC team to support it in its long-term aims and objectives.”

Wrexham AFC CEO Michael Williamson added: “The signing of Heads of Terms for the Darland High School facility is a big step forwards in our ambitions for the Wrexham AFC Academy and an important step on the road to category three.

“The Academy is an integral part of the plans for the Club’s future, and gives us the opportunity to nurture some of the fantastic footballing talent in North Wales and the surrounding areas, as we build a sustainable Football Club for the future.

“We will be developing young athletes both on and off the pitch, helping to make them better people as well as footballers.

“We appreciate and value the collaboration with local community partners like Darland High School as we build to achieve these goals.”