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HUMPHREY KER COLUMN | “This week has been all about the magic of the FA Cup”

Club’s Executive Director looks at Blyth, US TV, and bigger and brighter floodlights…

20 October 2022

This week has, for the Club and myself, been all about the magic of the FA Cup. A trip to Croft Park and a lively Blyth Spartans team summoned up memories of great days of yesteryear and the goalscoring exploits of Club President Dixie McNeil and provided no small amount of travel challenges for our fans and indeed some of our directors.

Having so often played the part of giant-killers in the past, we cannot begrudge Blyth the gutsy performance they put in in giving us a torrid time at their place and then a right royal upset scare at the Racecourse.

I suppose we shouldn't be surprised they emulated their namesakes in their defiance. Indeed, their attitude seemed to be best summed up in this bastardisation of the famous line from the film 300 about the Spartans at the battle of Thermopylae: "Our massive floodlights will blot out the sun!" "Then we will fight in the shade."

We are through to the next round, where a first competitive encounter with Chester in five years seemed tantalisingly on the cards, before former Wrexham striker Mike Fondop turned party pooper with a late equaliser. 

Saturday's 1pm kick-off was moved to accommodate the TV cameras of ESPN in America, a new, strange, but I suspect soon to be familiar experience for the club. The match screened very early in the US, 5am on the West Coast, where Rob was watching, and yet still drew in an audience of 89,000 on the telly with very possibly as many again on ESPN+.

This is a staggering number and shows the reach the documentary has already had in creating new fans overseas. We don't yet have the numbers on Tuesday night's replay, but my guess would be, with a less brutal start time that they will be even higher. 

Away from the pitch it has been a real pleasure for me to be back at the Racecourse after a month or so away and see the work that continues to go on.

New faces in the offices and shop, new steel beams being put into the Wrexham Lager Stand to support the new gym and, soon, new floodlights. The approval of the scheme for new floodlights is a very welcome step in the process of modernisation and the increase of fitness for purpose of the Racecourse as the club moves into the future.

It was certainly with a degree of trepidation that we released the original plans, given the enormous affection in which the mighty current floodlights are held, but were very pleased that people recognised the necessity for improvement if were to achieve the standard of facility that would allow us to host Wales internationals in the future and, presumably, play the likes of Man City, Juventus or Red Bull Jakarta, or whoever, in some future World SuperLeague in the 2040s.

One last tidbit that people may enjoy, I discovered last week that AC Milan's data analysis department are, and I quote, "fascinated with Ben Tozer and the number of throw in assists...15 in the last two years is unbelievable...they can't get over it. Anticipating his head being turned by the bright lights and glamour of Milan in January, the Club is investigating topping up his bonuses with an Armani Exchange voucher and a meal for two at the Bella Italia in Chester.

On to Boreham Wood!

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