Wrexham owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds have welcomed the decision for the club to take over the Racecourse Ground lease and allow them to push ahead with stadium development.
The lease is currently held by Wrexham Supporters Trust, who wanted a binding covenant that the Hollywood-owned League Two club could not be moved away from the ground.
WST members have now agreed to surrender the Racecourse lease under the terms of a deal that will see Wrexham continue to play at the ground until at least June 30, 2115. Wrexham will also make a payment of £187,000 upon surrender of the lease.
Co-chairmen McElhenney and Reynolds said: “We were delighted to receive the support of the directors of the WST and share their understandable desire to protect the long-term future of the club.
"The Club were delighted to be informed that the Directors of the Wrexham Football Supporter’s Society Limited (WST) would be recommending to their membership that they should accept our proposal to surrender the lease for The Racecourse Ground."
Full statement 👇
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) November 20, 2023
“Our legacy at the club will not be defined while we are its custodians, so we wanted to address the anomaly in the WST lease for the Racecourse Ground that did not include the requirement for the team to actually play at the stadium, only not allow it to be used for any other purpose.
“We didn’t want anyone in the future to be able to exploit that position.
“The payment of £187,000, is an equivalent amount to that contributed by fans to save the club.
“To know that we will provide the funding to effectively pay everyone back who contributed to save the club is worth every penny and gives us a great deal of satisfaction.
“We would appeal to the 824 members who have a vote, to do so in favour of the proposal and allow the club to continue on this wonderful journey we are all on.”
Wrexham plan to redevelop the Kop stand – the site currently stands empty – and boost capacity to around 15,600.
It had been hoped to be built in time for the start of the 2024-25 season, but funding issues have meant the project will be delayed.
Wrexham expect the stadium development will see the men’s national team to play at the Racecourse – the world’s oldest international football stadium that still hosts matches, having staged its first Wales home game in 1877 – more often.
Wales visited Wrexham last month – a friendly against Gibraltar – for only the second time since 2009.
A Wrexham statement read: “The club were delighted to be informed that the Directors of the Wrexham Football Supporter’s Society Limited (‘WST’) would be recommending to their membership that they should accept our proposal to surrender the lease for The Racecourse Ground.
“The surrender of the lease is required by the club to enable the funding for the Kop Development/UEFA Stadium Category 4 status to be secured.
“The negotiations between the club and those representing the WST have been undertaken against the backdrop of wanting to ensure that everyone’s interests were protected. We believe that we have achieved this objective.
“As part of the deal, the club will make a payment of £187,000 upon surrender of the lease, a payment of £1,000 per annum (increasing by 3% per annum) and meet the legal costs of the WST connected with the surrender of the lease.
“The most significant non-financial commitment made by the club was the positive commitment that the men’s first team will continue to play at the Racecourse Ground until at least June 30, 2115.”
The news comes after Wrexham’s 2-0 defeat at Accrington and the club’s continued war of words with Stanley chairman Andy Holt.
Wrexham condemned Accrington’s decision to increase matchday ticket prices by £5 for Saturday’s league game.
Accrington 2 Hollywood nil.
Safe journey home folks
Get that on @netflix Ryan lad.
— Andyh (@AndyhHolt) November 18, 2023
Holt took a swipe at Wrexham and their successful docu-series on social media after the game, saying: “Accrington 2 Hollywood nil. I think @VancityReynolds should cut prices by a tenner @ Wrexham_AFC.
“Safe journey home folks. Get that on @netflix Ryan lad.”