THE club was formed by members of the Wrexham Cricket Club, who wanted a sporting activity for the winter months, although there has been much debate about the actually date when this happened.
The club celebrated its Centenary in 1973, but research later showed that a meeting was held on 28 September 1872 at the Turf Hotel to discuss the coming season.
Now, due to the opening up of more local records and newspapers, it appears that club had actually started playing some form of football as early as 1864 – making Wrexham FC one of the oldest teams in the world!
As the rules of football were still somewhat fluid at this time, matches featured teams with up to 17 players on each side (16 players when playing the Provincial Insurance Office and Chester College, 15 players against the Volunteer Fire Brigade).
In these formative years of the sport, Wrexham were leaders in the campaign to restrict teams to 11 players. One of club's early matches against an ‘outside’ team was a 12-a-side game against past and present members of Grove Park School played at Wrexham Cricket Ground, which Wrexham won 2-0 on 19 October 1872.
In 1876, the newly formed Football Association of Wales saw Wales play their first International match, against Scotland, featuring Edwin Cross and Alfred Davis as the first of many Wrexham AFC players to play for their country.
In the 1877-78 season the FAW inaugurated the Welsh Cup competition, to run on similar lines to the English FA Cup. The first Welsh Cup Final was played at Acton Park. Wrexham got to the final of the inaugural competition, where they defeated Druids FC 1-0, but thanks to lack of money at the fledgling FAW they did not receive their trophy until the next year.
For their first decade, Wrexham mostly played friendly matches against both Welsh and English opposition, with the Welsh Cup providing most of their competitive football, the club winning it again in 1883.
1883 also saw Wrexham's first appearance in the FA Cup, when after receiving a bye to the second round of the competition they were defeated 4-3 at home by Oswestry. Crowd trouble at the game led to the club renaming itself Wrexham Olympic, but they reverted to the original name after three years.
Thanks to a dispute with their landlords, who had raised the rent of the Racecourse Ground to £10 a year, Wrexham played their home games in the 1881-82 and 1882-83 seasons at Rhosddu Recreation Ground (changing the club's name to Wrexham Athletic for one season), before moving back to the Racecourse Ground for the 1883-84 season, where they have remained ever since.
In 1890, Wrexham joined the Football Combination. Their first game was played against Gorton Villa on 6 September 1890, with Arthur Lea scoring Wrexham's only goal in a 5-1 defeat. Lea played for the club despite only having one arm as did team mate James Roberts. Wrexham finished the season second from bottom in eighth place.
Wrexham played in the Combination for four years before a rapid increase in costs resulted in the club joining the Welsh League for the 1894-95 season.
Competition was not as strong and they won the Welsh League both years that they were in it, but they decided to return to the Combination, as the reduced support they received meant that the savings they made on their travelling expenses were outweighed by the reduction in gate revenue.
The club remained in the Combination until 1905, winning the title four times. After several unsuccessful attempts they were finally elected to the Birmingham and District League in time for the 1905-06 season.
Wrexham's first ever match in this league was against Kidderminster Harriers at the Racecourse, with 2,000 spectators watching a 2-1 win as they finished sixth in their first season.
During their time in the Birmingham and District League, Wrexham won the Welsh Cup six times in 1908-09, 1909-10, 1910-11, 1913-14, 1914-15 and 1920-21.
They also reached the First Round proper of the FA Cup for a second time in the 1908-09 season before losing a replay to Exeter City after extra time.
In 1921, Wrexham were elected to the newly formed Third Division North of the Football League, with their first game being against Hartlepool United at the Racecourse in front of 8,000 spectators.
Playing in blue shirts Wrexham were defeated 0-2, but the following week they gained revenge when travelling to Hartlepool and earning a 1-0 victory.
During that season Ted Regan scored the club's first ever hat-trick, while Brian Simpson became the first Wrexham player to be sent off in a League game when he was ordered from the field of play against Southport in January 1922. Charlie Hewitt was the clubs' first ever manager.
In the 1926-27 season the club got past the first round of the FA Cup only to be knocked out by Rhyl. The following season Wrexham fought their way to the Fourth Round before they lost 0-1 to Birmingham City. A record 32 League goals from Albert Mays helped Wrexham to third position in the division in the 1928-29 season.
Later that year Tommy Bamford made his debut for the club, before the south Walian went on to score a club record 201 League and Cup goals. During the 1929-30 season the club recorded their best League win to date, when they crushed Rochdale 8-0.
Wrexham enjoyed their best ever Third Division North season in 1932-33, when they finished runners-up to Hull City and won 18 of their 21 home games. But with only the champions gaining promotion, there was no reward for their efforts.
The club first appeared in their now-familiar red and white shirts for the short-lived 1939-40 season.
During the Second World War years, Wrexham played in the Regional League West against teams from Merseyside and Manchester, among others. Wrexham's position as a barracks town meant that the team could secure the services of many famous guest players such as Stanley Matthews and Stan Cullis.
In the first post war season Wrexham equalled their best ever position when they again finished third in the Third Division North. In the summer of 1949 the club made its first ever tour abroad when it played three games against the British army in Germany.
The club reached the Fourth Round of the FA Cup in 1956-57 where they played Manchester United's Busby Babes in front of a crowd of a record attendance of 34,445 people. The 5-0 defeat did not spoil the occasion. Later that season Wrexham won the Welsh Cup for the first time in 26 years.
In 1960 the club were relegated for the first time, to the newly created Fourth Division but performances improved following the appointment of Ken Barnes as player-manager. He led Wrexham to promotion in his first season and oversaw a 10-1 trouncing of Hartlepool United, the club's record League victory.
Unfortunately Wrexham were relegated to the Fourth Division again two years later and in 1966 they finished rock-bottom at 92nd in the Football League.
John Neal's arrival as manager saw a considerable improvement in the club's fortunes. In 1969-70 he led them to promotion and two years later he led them into European football for the first time following another Welsh Cup victory. The Robins' first European match was against FC Zurich and resulted in a 3-2 aggregate win for the Welsh club.
In the 1973-74 season Wrexham made their first appearance in the FA Cup quarter-finals before losing 1-0 to First Division Burnley at Turf Moor. Two years later they also appears in the quarter finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup before losing to the eventual winners, Anderlecht, by just one goal over the two legs.
Having just missed out on promotion in 1976-77, manager John Neal left the club to join Middlesbrough and was replaced by the long serving Arfon Griffiths.
Griffiths brought Dixie McNeil, Dai Davies and Les Cartwright to the club, strengthening the team to such an extent that it immediately won the Third Division Championship, reached the last eight of both the FA and League cups, as well as winning the Welsh Cup.
Wrexham enjoyed four seasons in the Second Division before consecutive relegations sent them back to the bottom division and began a period of struggle for the team. In 1989 they lost out to Leyton Orient in the Fourth Division Play-Off Final.
Brian Flynn took over the club in 1989, and would remain as manager until 2001. In January 1992, Wrexham produced arguably their greatest ever piece of giant-killing, when they knocked the previous year's Football League Champions Arsenal out of the FA Cup with goals from Steve Watkin and Mickey Thomas.
To be continued...