Feb 23 2009 By Chester Chronicle
The club was formed in September 1872, when a meeting at the Turf Hotel of members from the local cricket club was held 'for the purpose of starting a football club for the ensuing season.'
The initial match was played in October 1872, a friendly between two sides made up of players from the new club. Two weeks later they played Grove Park School and won 2-0 in a 12-a-side game.
There were few rules in those days and line-ups often included 17 players on either side.
In 1876, with interest in football growing, Wrexham members were instrumental in forming the Cambrian Football Association, which within weeks had changed its name to the Football Association of Wales. In that same year, Wales played their first international, a match against Scotland at the Racecourse. A year later a new club competition was inaugurated, with Wrexham being the first ever winner of the Welsh Cup, a trophy the club has proudly won a record 23 times.
Wrexham joined the Combination League in 1890 and apart from two seasons in the Welsh League, have always played their league football over the border. A switch to the Birmingham League in 1905 lifted the standards at the Racecourse and led to election to the new Football League Third Division (North) in 1921.
Continuous membership of this division ended with reorganisation in 1958, when the Robins scrapped into the new national Third Division.
A series of promotions followed between the two lower divisions, although in 1962, the club did record the highest ever league score, beating Hartlepools United 10-1, a game that included three different hat-trick scorers!
In 1966 Wrexham hit rock bottom finishing 92nd and having to apply for re-election. This was to prove a turning point though, as Alvan Williams took over and brought with him a bright young coach named John Neal.
Neal's influence on the Racecourse can never under estimated. He initiated a youth policy that was to reap great rewards and he also completely rebuilt the club on the field.
Promotion from the Fourth followed in 1970, with the club then constantly near the top of the Third in the race for another step up. But it was cup football which brought national and international attention to Wrexham.
The ECWC of 1972/3 saw a victory over FC Zurich and then defeat on away goals to Hadjuk Split, before the 1975/6 run to the quarterfinals. Success against Djurgardens (Swe) and Stal Rzeszow (Pol) before Belgium giants Anderlecht squeezed through 2-1 on aggregate and went onto lift the trophy.
Promotion to Division Two was missed on the last day of 1976/7, but the following season Wrexham bounced back in style.
Arfon Griffiths had now taken over the reigns and he guided the team to the championship, as well as the quarterfinals of both the FA Cup and League Cup. The Welsh Cup was also won, with over 25,000 fans watching the two-legged final against Bangor City.
Following four seasons in the Second Division relegation in 1983 heralded a low period for the club, as they then slipped into Division Four 12 months later and struggled for another five years.
Promotion under Dixie McNeil was snatched from their grasp just seven minutes from the end of the Play Off Final with Orient in 1989. McNeil left six months later and Brian Flynn took over, starting a tenure at the Racecourse which is now the longest of any manager in the club's history.
With money very tight, the former Welsh international enlisted the help of 1m man Kevin Reeves and local legend Joey Jones. Together the trio have used and developed the youth system to good effect, and after a close shave with demotion to the Conference struck back to beat league champions Arsenal in the FA Cup.
This was the spark that pointed the club towards promotion in 1993, together with a barrow load of goals from Gary Bennett.
Since then the club has lifted the Welsh Cup on the last occasion they were allowed to enter it and taken the FAW Premier Cup in two out of the three finals played.