Why The Athletic is jumping on the Wrexham bandwagon – first stop, the Turf Hotel

So there I was, probably like the endless footballers up and down the ground, minding my own business as the clock ticked down to the end of the transfer window when the gaffer asked for a quiet word.

“We’re sending you to Wrexham for the month,” he said. “This is a great opportunity. They are moving places, as you saw for yourself on Sunday. Get a few rewards under your belt on a loan and who knows where it might lead. “

Well, I did that quite a bit. My days of football ended years ago by a ruptured Achilles. In addition, I have known Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson long enough for him to take great delight in greeting me and a colleague from another newspaper as “doubles” before his weekly press conference in Bradford City. So you can be sure the boots won’t follow me to north Wales.

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But my laptop will definitely make the trip as I set about the daunting task of covering a month that could go a long way to deciding whether Wrexham will get a long-awaited EFL return to go with the city’s status your new

Starting with Saturday’s National League trip to Altrincham, Athletes will join Parkinson’s team every step of the way as they negotiate eight games played in February, including a fourth FA Cup tie at Sheffield United who now have Tottenham Hotspur as the prize.

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I’ll also keep an eye on Paul Mullin’s goalscoring machine as he goes toe-to-toe with Erling Haaland in the race to be the nation’s top goalscorer.

Fun times in the club reborn from February 2021 by the Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, as I discovered for myself last weekend. The atmosphere as the home team came from a goal down to lead 3-2 until the final second against Championship high-flyers United was electric, maybe the best I’ve experienced all season.

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That’s not only in terms of noise but also the passion from both supporters who never once separated from the opposition that can always cause these great events, especially when the kick is long enough to give a chance for a few hours. in the pub already.

The only regret is that the new Kop stand has not yet been built. Imagine how loud things would have been on the four-sided floor?

Wrexham fans – and the club’s owners – enjoyed a classic FA Cup match against Sheffield United in the final (Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

With five home games in February – including big fixtures against Woking and Chesterfield, two teams expected to be crucial if Parkinson’s team and Notts County are eliminated – this interloper from West Yorkshire is expecting more of the same, with many the airings of ‘Always. Sunny in Wrexham’ tribute to Deadpool star Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia co-creator McElhenney by local Declan Swans.

It was so interesting that two members of the Sheffield United press corp were still singing ‘Bring on the Deadpool… and Rob McElhеnney’ when they got into their cars at 8.30pm on Sunday.

I can’t claim to be a lifelong Wrexham fan, as you probably know. Before Sunday, my last visit to the Racecourse had been on Boxing Day 1986, for a 2-2 draw with Burnley.

But the site has left a lasting impression, not least as from my vantage point at the back of what is now called University End there appears to be a pub to our right which is actually part of the floor, complete with a balcony overlooking the pitch.

It fascinates me. Why do you have an uninterrupted view of the ad? Are drunks watching for free? And would this Burnley side, comfortably the worst in the club’s history at the time, be bettered by the bottom of a dandelion and burdock glass? (I was 13 at the time!)

On checking out now with Football Fields of England & Wales – a truly educational book by Simon Inglis who has a passion for football fields in full at Sutcliffe last October I finally achieved a lifelong ambition of joining know the Ninety Two Club – this is the same Turf Hotel that viewers of Welcome to Wrexham’s history now see as the heart of local football support.

Grass would be one of my first stops for a pint. Then it’s off to work. And it is here that I would love your help, Wrexham supporters.

What do you want to read about your group? Whose story – be it a lifelong fan who lives down Mold Road or a new devotee from overseas who fell in love with the team through history book – should we tell? Is there a player you really want to hear?

We spoke to Phil Parkinson at length ahead of the Sheffield United Cup match but is there anyone else on the coaching staff who has a story to tell? All suggestions are welcome in the comments below.

Right now, though, I’m doing what all loans posted on deadline have to do—I’m getting to know my new surroundings. It promises to be a lot of fun.

Stop it,


PS Don’t worry Blades fans, I won’t forget the ‘day’ performance. I will still keep everything Sheffield United, especially with my lender insisting that any loan agreement does not include a clause that prevents me from playing for the club I have covered since. Athletes start life in the UK, way back in August 2019. So, see you all at the Lane next Tuesday.

You can follow Richard on Twitter Here.

(Top photo: OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)


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