How Premier League is helping Wrexham's dreams

10 Dec 2021

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney open fan facilities funded by League's Football Stadia Improvement Fund

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New Wrexham AFC owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have spoken of taking the non-League club to the top flight but the Premier League has already come to the north Wales team.

Last weekend the Hollywood actors visited the Racecourse Ground for the first time since taking over Wrexham and, during their visit, they officially opened new facilities at the National League club in tier 5 of the football pyramid that have been funded by the Premier League.

Thanks to £400,000 from the Premier League's Football Stadia Improvement Fund (FSIF), two new viewing platforms for disabled spectators have been built, increasing wheelchair capacity from 56 to 69.

The funding has also helped improve toilet and catering facilities at the ground.

Inclusive facilities

"We want to be inclusive for everybody," said Wrexham CEO Fleur Robinson.

"With this stand we are able to accommodate people with wheelchairs or ambulant disabled so the Premier League support is absolutely vital, particularly for clubs in the National League and non-league, to make sure that these sort of developments happen."

The FSIF funds clubs in the English Football League, English National League, Women's Pyramid and Welsh Premier League who need to improve stadium safety and enable clubs to satisfy The FA's ground grading requirements, without which many would be unable to achieve the necessary criteria to achieve promotion.

"It's absolutely huge, to have an impact of money, that we now have been able to start making a difference at Wrexham Football Club," said Kerry Evans, Wrexham's disability liaison officer.

"We have been able to make great strides for disability facilities. It will make such a huge difference to a club like Wrexham."

Ongoing support

It is not the first time Wrexham have benefited from Premier League funding.

In May 2014, the FSIF provided half the funds of a £236,000 project that helped the club improve its changing areas, floodlights and pitch maintenance as well as accessible facilities.

In 2020, while the whole football pyramid in the UK was suffering during the pandemic, Wrexham received a welcome total of £22,000 of funding from the Premier League via its Matchday Support Fund, Club Preparation Fund and Pitch Preparation Fund.

Since 2000, more than 6,300 grants have been awarded through the Premier League's FSIF.

"Fans deserve to have a better more comfortable and safer environment," said Bill Bush, advisor to the Premier League Chief Executive.

"It's absolutely vital that the Premier League supports the rest of the pyramid. We do it in all sorts of ways and we are going to keep on doing this sort of thing as long as there are clubs like Wrexham who need it."

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