Minister backs calls for international football to return to Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground
Wrexham MS Lesley Griffiths, Trefnydd and Rural Affairs Minister, has backed calls for football internationals to once again be staged at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground.
The Racecourse is the world’s oldest international football stadium and has hosted more Welsh international games than any other venue.
In total 94 internationals have been played there dating back to the first on Welsh soil, against Scotland in March 1877.
The last game hosted was against Trinidad and Tobago in March 2019.
In second place is the now demolished Ninian Park in Cardiff with 88 games, followed by 45 at the Cardiff City Stadium’s, the latest being Tuesday’s friendly clash against Austria.
Responding to a question in the Senedd from Clwyd South MS Ken Skates, the minister shared her enthusiasm for the idea of bringing international football back to its original home in Wales, and saluted the Dragon’s performance in a stunning 6-5 win over Dover Athletic last weekend.
Mr Skates said: “Saturday’s National League football match at the Racecourse was a phenomenal event—you and I were both present at it, along with almost 9,000 spectators. Once again it demonstrated how the world’s oldest international football stadium can host dramatic and sensational events. Would the Government commit to pressing for the return of international matches to the Racecourse as soon as possible?”
Responding Ms Griffith said: “The match on Saturday was certainly absolutely extraordinary. I was chatting to Llyr Huws Gruffydd about it over lunch. I’m still smiling. And in my 50 years of attending the Racecourse, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
“I think you make a really important point. As a child, that’s where I went to watch international matches, and, of course, with the success that the Wales football team have had over the past few years in particular, I think the players have made Cardiff City Stadium their fortress, if you like.
“I think last week—. Again, we were talking at lunchtime, saying we can’t imagine football crowds singing like that 20 years ago, and singing in Welsh. And I think that says a lot about the way people have really taken this Welsh national football team to their hearts.
“But I know the new chief executive at the Football Association of Wales is very keen to see games played at the Racecourse. I think it’s very important for us in north Wales that those games are played, even if they’re only friendly games, in the coming years.
“So I’m sure the Deputy Minister for Arts and Sport, and Chief Whip will certainly continue to press that with the Football Association of Wales.”
The Dragon’s remarkable come-back win over relegated Dover last weekend was secured by Jordan Davies’ last gasp header late in stoppage time, after the home side had blown an early two goal lead.
The visitors responded with five unanswered goals before the hosts late surge saw them equalise through a Davies free kick at the start of the nine minutes of extra time added by referee.
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