The Racecourse
V Northampton Town
Saturday February 25th 2006, League Two, 3pm
By Richard Dewhirst

This was to be my first visit to the Racecourse Ground, home of Wrexham. As a student living in Sheffield it was more local than Northampton, thus it appealed to me even more. I was lucky in that there is another Cobblers supporter in the same halls of  residence as me, though as he was not here the weekend of the game, it was going to be a fairly lonely trip.

After planning my route courtesy of the ever trusty Google Earth, I left Sheffield around 10:30am, looking to arrive at around 1:30pm, giving as much time to soak up pre-match atmosphere and get a look around the ground. The journey itself went without a hitch, surprising really as Google Earth had given me a rather complicated route.

I arrived in Wrexham about 1pm. Almost immediately I drove past the new Pryce Griffiths Stand, impressive from the outside, and judging from pictures, just as good when viewed from inside the ground. As this was my first ever visit to Wrexham, I had no clue where to park. After driving around for around 10 minutes I found a residential street, and parked up. With still a good two hours before kick-off I decided to get a look around the town. Being decked in our black away kit probably drew less attention than if I had been wearing our usual claret strip. This was good because before long I was lost! I started walking in the direction that (I thought) led to the ground, unfortunately, I ended up at the other side of Wrexham, with no floodlights to be seen. I went into a shop to ask around for directions, with the guy behind the counter fortunately a Wrexham fan
(and fortunately quite friendly) he pointed me in the right direction. After about 15 minutes of walking I found myself back at the car.

Walking in the right direction this time, the floodlights came into view. It was now around 1:45pm and there were a number of  fans in red shirts walking about. I stopped to ask a couple for directions to the ground and found them to be quite pleasant and friendly. When I found my bearings and a straight road towards the ground I ended up in conversation with a Wrexham fan, asking about my journey, etc. He went on to tell me about the troubles with their former chairman, being in administration, and generally the clubs plight to the basement division.

The ground was now coming into view, the first stand I saw was the rather dated Sainsbury's Stand, from behind looking like it had seen better days. I located the away end, rather hidden from view, accessed by a fairly small alleyway! Once inside I managed to get a much better feel for the stadium. It was quite a contrasting ground, all four stands different from one another. Directly opposite us was the large Kop terrace,  probably one of the largest remaining terraces in the country. To our right was, as I mentioned earlier, the impressive and stylish Pryce Griffiths stand. The  stand  was unusual in shape. In had red seats and "WRE><HAM" across them. The middle of the roof was raised to fit in the press box, and other facilities. To our left was the Sainsbury's Stand. It was a two-tiered affair, the bottom tier looking like a former Paddock. The upper tier was also seated, with a couple of pillars impeding the view. The Roberts Builders Stand housed the away fans, with only the upper tier being open. There were two pillars impeding the view, but these were not really a problem. I was taken by surprise when taking my seat, finding that the seats go down a little further than you might expect, meaning they can be a little uncomfortable.

The game itself was quite entertaining. There were a lot of younger children situated in one corner of the Sainsbury's Stand, presumably an arranged school trip. Unfortunately the children had been given air horns, which became very, very annoying after a short space of time! The fact that we scored didn't silence them either! The Kop terrace was surprisingly quiet, and almost no noise came from our right. Infact, the only noise came from the air-horn children! The Northampton fans were very loud throughout, including a few anti-Welsh jokes which I have learnt to expect when. We were treated to a fine 1-0 victory, and an excellent away performance. I rarely eat food at football, but the prices for drinks and pies were quite high, even for football.

I left the ground very pleased, as Wrexham had a superb home record. Unsurprisingly, very few Wrexham fans spoke to me on the way back! Getting out of the town was quite easy, as I managed to situate myself away from the football traffic. Overall Wrexham was a pleasant day out, aided by the friendly locals.


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