The history of Wrexham AFC

Wrexham AFC is a Welsh football club with a long and storied history dating back over 150 years. The club has experienced many highs and lows over the years, from winning multiple national and international titles to financial difficulties and near-bankruptcy.

On this page, we'll take a look at the full chronological history of Wrexham AFC, from its earliest beginnings to the present day.

Old historical books found in the library of Wrexham

History in the making since 1864

The beginning

The history of Wrexham AFC dates back to 1864, making it one of the oldest professional football clubs in the world. Originally founded as Wrexham Football Club, the team was established by a group of young men who played football together in the local area. The club played its first match on October 22, 1864, against a team from the nearby town of Oswestry.

Over the next several decades, Wrexham FC would establish itself as one of the top teams in Wales, regularly competing in regional tournaments and cup competitions. In 1890, the club became a founding member of the newly-formed Welsh Football League, which would go on to become one of the top professional leagues in the country.

Early 1900s

Throughout the early 1900s, Wrexham FC continued to compete at a high level, regularly finishing near the top of the Welsh Football League table. The team also began competing in the FA Cup, the oldest and most prestigious football tournament in the world. Although the team never won the tournament during this period, they did enjoy some memorable runs, including a quarterfinal appearance in 1957.

In 1921, Wrexham FC moved to its current home ground, the Racecourse Ground. This historic stadium, which is still in use today, has a capacity of over 10,000 and has hosted some of the biggest matches in Welsh football history.

After WW2

In the years following World War II, Wrexham FC continued to compete in both the Welsh Football League and the FA Cup. However, it wasn't until the 1970s that the team began to experience sustained success. Led by manager John Neal, Wrexham FC won the Welsh Cup in 1972 and 1975, as well as the Welsh Football League Cup in 1974.

The 1970s also saw Wrexham FC achieve one of the most famous victories in its history when the team defeated reigning English champions Arsenal in the third round of the 1978-79 FA Cup. The match, which was played at the Racecourse Ground, ended in a 2-1 victory for Wrexham, with goals from Mickey Thomas and Steve Fox. The win was a huge upset and remains one of the most memorable moments in the history of Welsh football.


Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Wrexham FC continued to compete in both Welsh and English football, regularly finishing near the top of the Welsh Football League and competing in the lower divisions of the English Football League. During this period, the team also achieved some notable victories, including a famous 1-0 win over Manchester United in the third round of the 1990-91 League Cup.

A new millenium with ups and downs

In 2001, Wrexham FC achieved one of the greatest accomplishments in its history when the team won the Football League Trophy, a tournament featuring teams from the third and fourth tiers of English football. The victory, which came against Southend United at Wembley Stadium, was the first major trophy in the club's history.

However, the early 2000s also saw some of the most difficult moments in the history of Wrexham FC. Financial difficulties and poor performances on the pitch led to a number of managerial changes and struggles to avoid relegation. In 2004, the club was even forced to enter administration, with debts of over £3 million.

Despite these difficulties, Wrexham FC continued to compete and rebuild throughout the 2000s and 2010s. In 2011, the club won the Welsh Cup for the first time in 18 years, defeating rivals Newport County in the final. The team also enjoyed some memorable runs in the FA Cup. 

The Reynolds/McElhenney era

In February 2021, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney acquired Wrexham AFC, making them the first non-UK owners in the club's history. The takeover has generated a lot of excitement and interest, with Reynolds and McElhenney expressing their commitment to the club and the local community.

They have outlined ambitious plans for the future of the club, including improving the stadium, investing in the youth academy, and potentially creating a documentary series about the club.

While it remains to be seen how successful their ownership will be in the long run, the involvement of two high-profile celebrities has certainly put Wrexham AFC in the spotlight and generated renewed enthusiasm among fans. In terms of improvements the new owners finally fulfulled the ambitions and expectations of the fans and community, when the club was promoted back up to the EFL in April 2023 - winning the National League with an all-time record point haul of 111 points - beating the old record by a massive 6 points. 

What the future holds

Obviously everyone who follows Wrexham AFC are excited by what looks to be a bright future. But the ball is round and noboby can really predict the future in football. Or can they? We asked ChatGPT to give us a brief summary of what will happen for Wrexham AFC in the coming 10 or so years. Check it out!


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