Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.
Wrexham’s players will get a chance to perform in front of a big crowd tomorrow, but we won’t be challenging the biggest attendances in the club’s history.
The biggest crowd to witness a Wrexham match was at Anfield for a fourth round FA Cup tie in 1970. 54,096 supporters turned up to watch us lose 3-1 despite Ray Smith scoring to give The Kop a fright.
Previously, the record was 48,315 but it stood for just four months! Earlier in that season we reached the third round of the League Cup, where we attracted that number of fans to Old Trafford to see Manchester United beat us 2-0.
The two biggest crowds attracted to The Racecourse were also against Liverpool and Manchester United. In January 1957 we drew the famous Busby Babes in the fourth round of the FA Cup, leading to the implementation of a massive logistical operation to get all the fans safely in and out of the ground. The Mold Road was turned into a one-way street to facilitate the mass movement of fans and 34,445 supporters arrived to see the famous Manchester United side beat Wrexham 5-0.
The only other time we’ve crammed over 30,000 fans into The Racecourse was in January 1963. No doubt fans were attracted by the visit of Liverpool to a third round FA Cup tie, but they would also have been hungry for a bit of football by then: the famously bitter winter of that season meant home games were a rarity. In fact, we hadn’t played at home for five weeks!
A massive effort was made to get the pitch playable and it was ultimately successful, but the club weren’t rewarded with an upset as Liverpool won 3-0. At least we won our next home game – and it was a Welsh Cup tie against Chester at that! – but it was another five weeks after the Liverpool game that the match-starved fans were able to return to The Racecourse to see it! Apart from those big efforts to put a couple of big cup ties on they didn’t get to watch any football on home territory for three months!
The biggest crowd we’ve attracted to neutral territory was one of the most famous games in the history of both sides involved. In the fifth round of the FA Cup in 1978 we drew Blyth Spartans, and after a controversial late equaliser earned us a replay we went up to the North East hoping to avoid a cup upset and get into the quarter finals for the second time in our history.
Interest in the tie was massive so Blyth decided to approach Newcastle United, who were happy to host the tie at their Saint James’ Park stadium. 42,267 fans came to see if Blyth could get to the last eight, but they were thwarted by two terrific goals – an early penalty thrashed in by Graham Whittle and then Dixie McNeil’s fine volley. Although Spartans grabbed a late goal, we held on to earn a home match against Arsenal.
5 thoughts on “Wrexham FC’s Biggest Attendances”
Anybody know the Wrexham team v United in the 1957 game? . My dad wouldn’t take me as he said I would be crushed . In reality he was a tight wad who begrudged the price of a ticket
Billy Waters, from Swansea in goal.
Alan Fox at centre half.
Parker and McGowan full back.
Probably George Evans at left half, with possibly Fred Davis at right half.
Grenville Jones outside right, probably with Ron Hewitt, of Wales 1958 fame, inside.
David Jones outside left.
At that time, maybe Thompson centre forward with Anderson inside left.
Formerly Ruabon, now a seventy three year old hill farmer in Abergavenny
Thanks Chris for that . I started watching Wrexham in Ken Barnes’s first season at the Racecourse . Aly M , George Evans and Alan “ sliding tackle” Fox were still around then . Have lost some interest in football recently as I’m thinking “ what am I doing being interested in a sport that seems to have a fair amount of morons involved” . e. g. United fans breaking into Old Trafford and City andChelsea fighting in Portugal . I lived in the U S for five years and watched “ soccer”, base ball and U S football . There is not the undercurrent of violence at sports venues there that we see in Europe and South America . , Guess it’s my age I suppose so am now more into cycling as a rider and fan . We still have our share of nutters getting a bit too close to the riders on the climbs . Shame Wrexham missed out on playoffs but the squad , from what I’ve seen , lacks that extra bit of quality . ( Ex dairy farmer )
Fantastic – I didn’t get to see them play but I interviewed McGowan and Fox: two real gentlemen.
I’m working on a history of the club: would you both be interested in having a chat with me about your memories of watching Wrexham. I’d love the chance to hear about the memorable games and players you’ve seen.
Is this THE Mark Griffiths ? Anyway Mark , I am approaching 73 yrs old and was first a regular in Ken Barnes’ first season . Saw Wyn Davies before he left for Bolton . Brilliant in the air , less than average on the deck . Favourite player from that era – Mike Metcalf . When I heard Barnes had sold him to Chester , I knew he had lost the plot – check out his Wrexham goal stats . Big crowds back then – 16,000 plus v Tranmere in 3rd div. also 18,000 plus v Northampton . ( best Div 3 team I ever saw ) – we lost 4-1 and they went on to the 1st div soon after . Ron Barnes scored a scorcher .