Wrexham’s relatively routine win over Torquay on Saturday was made memorable not by what happened on the pitch, but by what occurred in the stands.
A small but noisy contingent of FC Magdeburg supporters had made the trip from Germany, determined to enjoy the occasion.
Moments before the corner which led to Chris Holroyd’s headed opener, a chant went up in the corner of the bkoncepts Stand. “Wrexham! Wrexham! Wrexham!,” came the vociferous cries, but the fans were in blue not red.
FC Magdeburg’s travelling group were, for 90 minutes, very much a part of the Racecourse crowd, and they were welcomed as such.
For two clubs whose only previous interaction came almost 40 years ago, there was a surprisingly immediate feeling of togetherness. Perhaps it was because the FC Magdeburg supporters had gleefully taken over the Centenary Club prior to kick-off and quickly made themselves at home.
“The idea was to bring people together,” said Stefan Roggenthin – who heads FC Magdeburg’s Fanprojekt, an organisation which offers support and advice for young fans of the club – before the game.
“We came to play some friendly games here against Fleetwood and Bolton. We saw that Wrexham were playing a home game which was perfect because lots of FC Magdeburg fans are here. So we got in contact with our club to see if there was a way we could come here and make history.”
The arrival of these vocal, affable fans brought back memories of the meeting in 1979, when Wrexham and FC Magdeburg were drawn together in the first round of the European Cup Winners’ Cup.
The Reds were edged out in extra-time of the second-leg, a commendable effort against a side that had won the tournament only five years earlier.
“For the game in 1979 most of the fans did not come to Wrexham because it was forbidden to leave the GDR (German Democratic Republic),” explained Stefan.
There was nothing to stop FC Magdeburg’s faithful following their club this time, however.
“It’s something special for us, and I think it’s also something special for your club to remember the European games and for fans to come together to remember the great history of our clubs,” Stefan added.
“We are very happy for the possibility to be here.”
When asked if FC Magdeburg’s fans would bring with them the atmosphere of the MDCC-Arena, he said: “I think our fans will be respectful and will be fine in the stadium.
“We won’t sing songs of Magdeburg here because we want to respect Wrexham, but maybe we will sing some Wrexham songs!”
They certainly did sing Wrexham songs, providing much of the atmosphere – particularly in the first-half - as Dean Keates’ side romped to their biggest victory of the season.
It felt like the start of a special bond between two historic European rivals, between two clubs who will no doubt be hopeful of further meetings in the future.