The WST Christmas Raffle draw took place in the Centenary Club following today's game with Alfreton. The draw tickets were picked out by Wrexham manager Andy Morrell.
WST would like to thank everyone who purchased a ticket, and everyone who took the time to sell tickets on our behalf. We would also like to thank those who donated prizes for the raffle.
The winners were (ticket number and name):
1 A NEW Volkswagen Up car from Wrexham Volkswagen 16898 M Jones
2 Mediterranean Cruise for Two with First Choice (Subject to terms and conditions) 15489 Dave Walker
3 Executive Box for Ten people at the Wrexham v. Grimsby Town match on Saturday 25th Jan 2014. 06565 L Smith
4 2 tickets to a show of their choice at Glyndwr University (Subject to Availability) 04355 Chris Johnson
5 Voucher for four people to have a pre match meal in Bamfords. 72105 Jon Hawkins
6 Signed Wrexham FC shirt 23526 Parsonage
7 Wrexham FC Yearbook 2013-14 signed by the first team squad 26047 Merv Ellender
8 Cheque for £50 (Donated By NCA) 69454 Tony Lewis
9 Signed Wrexham FC away shirt 60976 M Hughes
10 Bottle of Whisky and a Bottle Tia Maria (Donated By Paul Parry) 53077 N Jordan
11 Football Manager 2014 73251 A Jones
12 Two tickets for away travel to the away game at Cambridge on 1st February 2014. 73258 Neil Pritchard
13 Two tickets for the Player of the Season Dinner at the Lion Quays on Sunday 27th April 2014. 42022 Maurice Edwards
14 Bottle of Penderyn Welsh Whisky (Donated By Tony Williams) 25692 AA Platt
15 Oven Clean up to the value of £50 (Donated By John Pugh) 54037 Clive Popplewell
16 £50 Wrexham FC Club Shop Voucher (Donated by Buckley & District Reds) 72128 D Smith
17 Family ticket (2 Adults & 2 Children) for a stadium and museum tour at Old Trafford (Donated By Man. Utd) 60985 M Hughes
18 One nights accommodation and evening meal at the Holt Lodge 31685 Rob Davies
19 Mobile phone car kit donated by Brian Hayes Autoelectrics. 03149 Bill Catherall
20 Bottle of Glenfidich Whisky 05095 Alys Beckett
21 2 tickets for ‘the sound of Dire Straits’ The Straits at Rhyl Pavilion on Saturday 8th February 2014. 18146 Mervyn Davies
22 2 tickets for the London Palladium Production of Scrooge on 6th Jan 2014 at Venue Cymru 36669 H Jones
23 Signed Wrexham Football (Donated by Kevin Williams) 03822 Andy K
24 Family of four tickets for ‘The Goodison Experience’ – A stadium tour of Everton FC, Goodison Park. 75220 De Bolk
25 Signed copy of Joey Jones Autobiography 'Oh Joey Joey' 08302 M Joyce
26 Bottle of Glenlivet Scotch Whisky 77174 Susan Jones
27 Framed photo of 1977/78 Championship winning team (Donated by Dave Davies) 17924 A Butterton
28 Framed photo of 1992/93 Promotion winning team (Donated by Dave Davies) 54025 Craig Bennett
29 Framed photo of 2002/03 Promotion winning team (Donated by Dave Davies) 65214 Michael Hurst
30 Bottle of Bell's Scotch Whisky 12874 Richard Williams
31 Family (2 Adults & 2 Children) for the Anfield stadium tour and Museum tour (Donated by Liverpool FC) 68948 A Parry
Wrexham AFC Limited- Annual General Meeting
And WST Members Meeting
Catrin Finch Centre Glyndwr University
1930 Thursday 28th November 2013
Board members present:
Wrexham FC Board of Directors -John Mills (also Trust Board), Spencer Harris (also Trust Board), Mark Williams (also Trust Board), Barry Horne, Don Bircham (Club CEO)
WST Society Board - Peter Jones, Terry Stott, , Huw Davies, Alan Fox, Jenny Cantwell, Anita Robinson, Peter Howell, Robin Wiggs
Apologies from- Gavin Jones, Tom Stanford, Keith Roberts, Alan Watkins, Dave Jones, Geoff Scott
1 Welcome and Introductions
Peter Jones, WST Chairman, welcomed those present and opened the meeting before a large audience of WST members and explained that the proceedings would consist of the secondannual general meeting of Wrexham AFC Limited to be followed by a WST members meeting.
Peter reminded members that we were about to reach the milestone of the second full year of fans ownership of the club and the club had made great strides to achieve financial stability. The last 12 months had been a memorable with some highs and lows not least two visits to Wembley within a few weeks that had seen the club win silverware, but, also sadly fall at the final hurdle in our quest to return to the football league. He also congratulated the Youth team for winning the Football League Youth Alliance League despite being pitted against football league clubs and their greater funding. Peter explained that as well as a detailed financial presentation members would hear an update of the Club’s branding project and plans for the forthcoming 150th anniversary and would have the opportunity to question board members.
2 Approval of minutes from the first annual general meeting
The minutes of the Club AGM of 24th January 2013 were provided to those in attendance and had been made available on the WST website. Proposed by Paul Evans and seconded by Paul Jones, they were unanimously accepted by those who had been present.
3 Presentation of financial statements
The main part of the AGM consisted of the presentation of a detailed financial statement and accounts by Mark Williams (Finance director) who reiterated that although there was no legal requirement for a company our size to publish detailed financial statements (and few if any other clubs did so) the Board was keen to share as much information as they could with Trust members who were the clubs owners. Consequently full accounts were provided not simply a balance sheet.
Report of the directors and financial statements for the period 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013
In addition to copies of the accounts made available on the night, they would also be accessible on the WST and Club websites shortly. What follows is a summary of a detailed presentation by Mark who explained that the accounts cover operations of the football club from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. However, the 2012 figures only cover the seven month trading period between 30 November 2011 and 30 June 2012.
Profit and Loss Account
This year the profit and loss account is made up of the following three classifications of income and costs: Reoccurring: this is income that will occur each season e.g. league matches and basic player wages. Football fortune: these are income (less associated costs) that you cannot budget for e.g. cup runs, play offs and transfer income and Goodwill: the final write down of the liability we took on from the previous trading company.
The football club had a turnover of £2.3m and made a gross profit of £250,000. Up to April 2013 the club had made an operating profit of £2,000. Player contracts in June resulted in an overall operating loss of £184,000 against a budgeted loss of £198,000. The final write down of goodwill resulted in an overall net loss of £400,000. Goodwill relates to the purchase of the club. This will be the final time we refer to the latter category as all goodwill has been written down in these accounts.
The Club is now debt free.
Without the prize money, the early rounds of the FA Trophy are not very profitable. They come at the expense of two Saturday home matches – a home match can result in £25k of income when accounting for season tickets – and progress to the third round this year will result in two Saturday home matches being postponed. We did benefit from the FA Trophy final but the £300k from the final was not received until late April when the season had finished – so profit was good but there was a delay in receiving a cash flow benefit that the club had to carry.
Income and Expenditure
Gate receipts - The original budget was set to crowds of 3,800 but the average was 3,500 – in cash terms this was £140,000. The action we have taken here is to set this season budget at this level. The remaining pots were either in line with budget - but we sold 400 more season tickets to achieve – revenue or not budgeted for.
A breakdown of the Matchday and Commercial income was provided. The total variance to the budget is £155k. We announced at the WST AGM that we have reduced the budget to a more realistic level – ahead of what we achieved in 2012/13 – and we are on track to achieve the budget.
Football costs were provided. This covers players and management team wages. It also covers the following items- First team and training kit, Medical insurance and supplies, Players travel to away matches, Hotel/players accommodation and Coaching and scouting expenses.
A balance sheet was provided as at 30 June 2013. Called up share capital is the funds invested by Wrexham Supporters Trust namely £485,000. Since the year-end date a further investment of £70,000 has been made in relation to the Club Shop.
Mark explained that this was the last time details of Goodwill would need to be presented. The majority was debt inherited when the Club was purchased which had been paid off during our two years of ownership.
• Wrexham Supporters Trust has invested £485,000 to support the club since November 2011
• We have written down the net liability of £442,000 from the old company over the first two years of trading
• The only liability left from the old company is the longer term Football League pension and hire purchase
• All our liabilities outstanding at the financial year-end were traditional trade and crown creditors
• Wrexham Football Club is debt free for the first time in many years
4 Update on current financial position
Mark summarised performance compared against the budget approved in June this year up to and including October – our latest financial period. Although we are behind budget the majority of this is due to the phasing of home matches as we did not know the fixtures when we produced the budgets and based them on the previous season. Despite being a game behind the increased season ticket has absorbed this but gate receipts are behind overall. As far as Matchday income is concerned average attendances are 300 below our original budget when you exclude the Chester match. We have also incurred additional first team costs. We have supported the manager by providing wages to cover the injury crisis and have incurred additional medical consultant fees due to injuries.
5 Outturn forecast for current financial year
So with these facts known we have reflected actual performance and rolled this forward for the remainder of the season. Having made key assumptions namely: average attendance of 3,200 for Saturday games and 2,500 for midweek, extra for the two bank holiday games, 3,150 for the season; Achieving commercial targets; Achieving Centre for Excellence income targets; Including the FA Cup Second Round income; No FA Trophy income; Running costs updated to reflect actual four months into the financial year our outturn is very close to budget (the estimated loss of £134k). So in effect the cup run so far and player sales have offset the decreased matchday revenue, increased playing budget and increased medical costs.
In summary the business is improving. After some £500k in football fortune last season we made a loss of £185k. This season we are forecasting to make a reduced loss with less football fortune income. However we have opportunities to improve on this in terms of crowd and cups.
The meeting thanked Mark for an excellent presentation and all his hard work. Mark then took questions from the floor.
6 Questions from the floor
A member asked why, for FA Trophy games, it was always the Yale Stand that was closed to home fans. Mark explained that away fans were seated in the Yale stand. At the pre-season friendly with Tranmere the Mold Road Stand was closed and everyone accommodated in the Yale stand but there was some disorder hence we had to keep the two stands open but costs are saved by restricting the Yale to away fans.
John Edwards asked about the number of boxes sold this season. Steve Cook explained that we were one down on last season due to one group purchasing seasons tickets instead. We had attracted a new consortium of two businesses for one box.
John Edwards asked about the payment of fines received for on field disciplinary offences. Don Bircham replied that the club had to pay an administration fee for every red and yellow card. He confirmed that the board were very disappointed with our disciplinary record and had shared this with the management. The manager had the discretion to deduct player’s wages using a policy introduced by the board.
Chris Roberts asked about the TV deal with BT Sport and whether we had to sign up to it after Mark had explained that although the fee was higher than Premier Sports more people had access to BT Sport with a resulting decrease in attendances. Mark confirmed that this was negotiated by the Conference and we had no discretion as to when those games would be played.
Jim Wells congratulated the board on the balance sheet and was pleased with the transparency and asked when we would be “in the black”? Mark replied that from now on any income we generated was ours to invest without having to pay off debt so if things went well this could be as early as next year.
Haydn Taylor asked whether the accounts could be made available before the meeting which was suggested last year. Mark replied that it was important to explain what the figures meant. He had met with the press shortly before the meeting to do so. The board would keep this under review.
John Connor asked how the £72,000 income for the televising of the forthcoming FA Cup match would be spent. Don Bircham replied that so far this season our financial “hits” have been the fee received for Bradley Reid and the FA Cup monies. The “misses” included lower gates and increases to the playing budget to support the manager by bringing in more bodies. This meant that our finances/budgets were on track although if the manager asked for more “we would never say never”.
7 Appointment of Auditors
The meeting agreed unanimously to the reappointment of McLintocks as our statutory auditors and Mark thanked Tim Mitchell for his assistance. Proposed by Mark Williams and seconded by Clive Popplewell
Part Two- Trust Members Meeting
The second half of the evening was taken up with a WST members meeting including a presentation from Andy Slinger a Trust member and season ticket holder which was an update to that he gave to the AGM in January. He had kindly agreed to assist the club (as a volunteer) to develop a Vision Statement for Wrexham FC that captures what we aspire to become and identify our purpose/mission, why do we exist and how we will deliver our vision.
8 Wrexham FC Brand vision- a summary
Andy explained that brand building had changed in recent times and was no longer just about advertising. Brand Alignment is the consistent delivery of a differentiating vision throughout an organisation, exciting people, customers and shareholders. It was a long journey and could sometimes unearth some uncomfortable truths.
Focus Group Findings
Andy had spoken to various “focus groups” including WST members, season ticket holders, lapsed season ticket holders and ‘big gamers’, the WST and Club Boards, Businesses and the COE. He had asked them all what they love about Wrexham Football Club, the role it plays in their life, how the Wrexham AFC experience feels and their vision of the future. These are his findings:
A real club - There’s a universal acknowledgement that Wrexham has the atmosphere, passion and history of a ‘real’ football club. The people of Wrexham love football, but many of them have lost interest or been drawn towards greener grass over the last decade. But, the fact that we play attractive football, represent half a nation, and are moving in the right direction means there’s an opportunity to win them back.
History- Whilst all clubs claim a unique history, the regular FA Cup runs and European adventures make Wrexham genuinely unique. WST ownership, and the struggles to keep the club afloat, are the latest chapter in the Wrexham story that people find attractive. Crucially, people want to celebrate our history whilst also looking forwards and being involved in the creation of new memories.
A reflection of who I am- For the most passionate supporters, Wrexham Football Club is a significant part of their identity. Following the club is a release from the day to day. It’s a constant in our lives; it’s reliable, rewarding and something you can always rely on. The success (or struggle) of the club is a reflection of their personal progress, and as such it means a lot
Family- People regularly talked about how the club felt like family to them. If we can genuinely and practically harness this passion, then we are on the brink of something extremely powerful.
Underdog- Supporters see Wrexham as a microcosm of Wales (or at least North and mid-Wales). The thought of the underdog, punching above its weight, refusing to be beaten aligns with the club’s history and is emotionally powerful. The WST model – dismissed by many outside the ‘family’ – is the latest proof of this, and supporters are ready to be galvanised, to be in the club’s corner.
North and Mid Wales -Many Wrexham supporters themselves come from well outside the traditional one-hour catchment area. They want Wrexham Football Club to once again be the light that draws in people from all over the nation. But this will only happen if we can make the club relevant to his wider audience, and explain what they get out of the relationship.
Community- for WST members, the Wrexham community is anything but soft and fluffy. It’s a source of passion and pride – something emotive and rich – and something that people want to get more involved with. But, most importantly, it’s something active and forward thinking, and needs a clear strategy driving it forwards
The more you put in, the more you get out - Those supporters who are most involved, are those who feel most rewarded by Trust ownership. Whilst the bad times hurt more, the good times are all the sweeter for the knowledge and satisfaction that you’ve contributed to them. This feel-good contribution feels like a strong motivator, and a total antithesis to the selfish, celebrity driven world we’re surrounded by.
Volunteering- Being actively involved in WAFC is a privilege, and more people want to do it, but they just don’t know how. However we broaden the volunteering base, we need to find ways to show our appreciation of people’s help. We should start with the name: a crucial signal that people’s contribution is vital and valued.
Entertainment- Whilst the club has a number of immediate financial challenges, we must never forget that we’re here to entertain. On-the-pitch success is clearly fundamental to this, but we need to work to develop a customer experience that is enjoyable regardless of results. In doing so, we can begin to make Saturdays at the Racecourse a habitual part of more people’s lives.
Creating Events People passionately love a big Wrexham day out. It’s an event that creates a buzz in the town. Rather than passively waiting for a big game to trigger this, we should be pulling together a plan for the forthcoming season to raise the profile of the club. By adding a range of other activities and entertainments, we can make ‘normal’ games more like a Wembley event, and draw in the database.
The Board taking ownership
Trust and Club Board member Spencer Harris then spoke how the Boards intended to take this forward. The last two years had been spent “firefighting”- extensively reorganising the club as a sustainable and well run business and implementing lots of essential processes. Now he said “came the fun part!” taking the business forward.
Spencer explained that the Board had considered the positioning of the Wrexham brand and had decided upon the following positioning statement:
“Through our pioneering, inclusive ownership model and friendly, entertaining match-day experience, we are the professional sporting club that gives the people of North Wales and the Marches the opportunity to celebrate their identity through passionate involvement in the club they love.
We are the club that unites half a nation...”
This is where we want to be. We have a potential fan base of 750,000 in people in North and Mid Wales. We have the potential to expand which many similar sized clubs do not.
Tone of Voice
Our personality should guide our tone of voice: the way we write and talk about Wrexham. We are Vibrant Positive and Inclusive. We are not Insipid, Pessimistic or Unrealistic or Cliquey.
We have identified our Values which should guide what we do and how we act. They are:
Underdogedness- We embody a Welsh underdog spirit, but we’re never downtrodden. We fight for what we believe in, against all of the odds.
Pioneering -We set the standard for fan-owned football clubs and never stand still, always striving for ways to improve.
Wrex-citement-We create a positive family-friendly buzz that that fills you with Wrex-citement.
Do The Right Thing-At Wrexham, we do things the right way. We’re honest, transparent and treat everyone fairly, whether they’re a player, supporter or opponent.
Our Five Vision Drivers
Our Unique Wrex-perience -Creating an exciting, inspiring and entertaining pre, half time and post match-day experience
Passionate, Proud People -Creating a team of brand ambassadors who are empowered and spread the word throughout N Wales
A Future-Proofing Football Architecture -A structure and philosophy that defines ‘The Wrexham Way’, promoting on the field success
A Revenue-Boosting Business Architecture-The creation of additional revenue streams by utilising the unparalleled skills of our membership
Exciting, welcoming Communications -Internal and external communications that bring our brand to life, and attract the people of North Wales
Spencer then set out some ideas as to where these drivers could lead us. They included for example Creating Fan Zones in the town, Creating Events Markets, Stalls and Marquees, Brand Ambassadors Not Stewards, Skills Zone For Kids, Coordinated Flags and Colour, The importance of Wrex ..Meet, Greet, Keep.
Our future starts here!
9 Questions from the Floor
Spencer agreed with a comment that we should do more to promote the Welsh language as our key aim is represent “half a nation”.
Ian Jones asked whether the Trust could facilitate Welsh language learning courses. Spencer replied that as well as Glyndwr we had a partnership with Coleg Cambria who could assist if the take up was there. He confirmed that as well as two Welsh speakers on the Club Board there were a further two Welsh speakers on the Trust Board so the language was well represented on the Boards.
Ivor Williams said we needed to make more of our Welshness which Spencer said was “spot on” and was reflected in the branding project as was our important fan base in Shropshire.
Paul Evans said that grant funding was probably available. He also commented on the value of Wrex the dragon which should be used further afield. Another suit was being sought.
Alan Hughes said we were unique as the only potential Football League club in North and Mid Wales. Wembley proved we can attract people from further afield. Success on the pitch was key. Spencer replied that increasing revenues would enable us to sign better players.
Harry Thomas asked about the categorising of away games and whether we should do the same re charging some away fans more. Mark Williams replied that we needed to simply our ticketing and he preferred packages. In reply to the question about whether we should seek to represent a nation rather than half of it, Spencer said that may be an unrealistic ambition.
Phil Davies asked about the atmosphere at the ground and safe standing. Had we supported the FSF safe standing campaign and had we lobbied Glyndwr? Don Bircham replied that if finances ever allowed Glyndwr were to take some of these ideas when redeveloping the Kop. Peter Jones said we had supported the FSF.
John Edwards asked about grant funding. Spencer replied that some tentative meetings had taken place but were at a very early stage.
Mervyn Jones said that transport was an issue in attracting fans from North Wales and could we help with that. Spencer replied that Steve Cook had been researching this and Steve explained that he had been meeting with Arriva trains re reduced tickets from the coast and possibly tying this in with a deal at Premier Inn.
10 The 150th Anniversary
Peter Jones described the events planned so far for next year’s 150th anniversary. Celebrations commence in January 2014 and will conclude at the end of season 2014/15. Only two other professional football clubs have celebrated this milestone in world football and confirms our status as the oldest club in Wales. A 150thAnniversary Committee had been formed made up of representatives from former players, Glyndwr University, Coleg Cambria, Wrexham Council, Wrexham Supporters Federation, Racecourse Community Foundation and Wrexham Supporters Trust.
Events highlights included:
January: Civic Reception and launch of Special Royal Mail 150th Anniversary Stamp
February: Former Players Dinner with Sweet
April: Legends Match and Player of the Season Dinner
May: Golf day
June: Snowdon Walk involving 150 supporters trusts to raise funds for their own clubs
July: Official launch of the 150th anniversary kit and four team tournament at the Racecourse Ground
August: Cricket match to recognise that the club was formed by members of Wrexham Cricket Club
September: Shropshire Reds 20th anniversary dinner
• Royal Mail First Day Cover to be issued on 4th October
• Wrexham FC Race Day at Bangor-on-Dee
• Friendly match to recognise formation of football club
• Foundation plaque to be unveiled at the Turf, the birth place of Wrexham FC
November: 30th anniversary of famous win over FC Porto
End of season 2014/2015: Time capsule to be buried at the Racecourse and Gala Dinner Finale
Peter also unveiled the special 150th anniversary club badge for season 2014/15.
Peter also mentioned the importance of the Christmas raffle as a key fundraiser. All members would be sent books. The first prize was a VW car and we needed everyone to do their bit.
There being no other business the meeting ended at 2210.
WST Independent Secretary
On Monday evening members of the WST gathered at the Lager Club for the latest members meeting.
The first half of the meeting being taken up with a special guest and the second being for Trust business.
A Goal scoring Legend
Our Special Guest, Club President (and honourable Trust member) Dixie McNeil began the meeting by answering questions posed by Trust chairman Peter Jones.
“Legend” is an oft misused word in sport. But a man who scored 239 goals in 542 games including 54 for Wrexham in our best ever side, is as deserving as any of that title. Add to that the fact that Dixie later managed the club and it’s difficult to think of anyone who knows better what our club means to its fans and to the community of North Wales.
Dixie began by expressing his heartfelt thanks to the fans for supporting his recent appointment as Club President. He was deeply honoured and promised to do his utmost to represent the Club to the best of his abilities during his term of office.
Dixie explained that his career began in his native Leicestershire when he signed for First Division Leicester City and had to give up his engineering apprenticeship to do so. The pay rise from £2.7s.6d a week to £25 being too good to turn down! Despite featuring regularly for the reserves he never broke into the Foxes first team and so began his nomadic life as a pro footballer when, in 1966, he signed for Exeter City to make his debut against, you’ve guessed it, Wrexham at the Racecourse. It was in Devon that he first showed the prolific goal scoring skills that were to become the hallmark of his career. But, despite ending up as top scorer, he was released at the end of the season!
Somewhat disillusioned, Dixie returned to work at the steelworks and played part time for Corby before Northampton Town tempted him back to full time football. Just in time to take part in a remarkable FA Cup tie when Northampton were pitted against European champions- Manchester United. As was to become normal for Dixie, he netted in that game but unfortunately a certain George Best scored six in an 8-2 United win! Dixie recalled being told to mark Bobby Charlton- surely one of the most difficult assignments any player could have been given!
Dixie’s travels continued when he signed for Lincoln City in 1972 and was managed by future England manager Graham Taylor who later said of him “Like all great goal scorers he had no nerves when the ball came to him in the box, he wanted to score and if by any chance he didn’t, it never effected his belief that he would score from the next opportunity- which he usually did” – a description which anyone lucky enough to see him in a Wrexham shirt would instantly recognise.
It was at Hereford United (having narrowly avoided a transfer to Chester City!) that Dixie’s reputation as a really special goal scorer was established. He scored 85 goals between 1974 – 1977; he won the Golden Boot as the top scorer in all four divisions (twice) and fired Hereford into what is now the Championship. It was clear that Dixie has a great relationship with manager John Sillett which was to prove influential in his eventual transfer to Wrexham in 1977. Tight finances at Edgar Street meant that Dixie had to be sold, and despite other clubs being interested, Sillett advised him to sign for Wrexham as they were “by far the best team in the league”.
Dixie described his first drive into Wrexham and his approach to the Racecourse which made him wonder what he had let himself in for! His doubts were soon dispelled when he saw the “new” Yale Stand and saw the calibre of his teammates who he said were clearly more “skilful and attack minded” than any squad he had previously been part of -which “was a strikers dream”. The rest is history as Dixie’s goals propelled the Robins to the Third Division Championship as well as many memorable cup runs (he scored in 11 successive FA Cup ties). Dixie described the importance of having a strong spine to a side with Dai Davies “bullying” the back four into a great defensive unit with Welsh international John Roberts at its heart. Football is, he said, “about confidence and momentum and that side feared no one”.
Dixie said that of all the players he played with -he rated Mickey Thomas as the best. He was “quick, tricky, with a great engine although all of that side were special”. When asked why the team didn’t progress as much as predicted in the higher league he thought that the cup runs “took their toll” although at the time they were great, none better than scoring at Nottingham Forest to beat the reigning European champions.
Relegation back to the third tier of English football meant that the higher wage earners had to be released. Dixie described refusing to return to Hereford as player manager but did go back for a short time as a player travelling from Wrexham. Dixie said that “players should be part of the community and live in the town where they played” and he soon decided to retire from professional football as Wrexham was now his home (but not before another near miss as Chester were again enquiring after him!).
Unable to hang up his boots completely, Dixie’s love of the game saw him turn out for Chirk AAA for whom he scored in a Welsh Cup game against Wrexham. The fortunes of the Club were on a downward spiral on and off the field though and after Bobby Roberts left as manager, Dixie decided to apply for the job. “Everyone thinks they can be a manager don’t they?” he said as he described being told at the interview that the club was “skint”! Having been given the job he was to find out how true that was as there just him, George Showell, and the cleaning lady!
There were still memorable times ahead though including winning the Welsh Club and, as a League Four team, playing in Europe -including the never to be forgotten tie in 1986 against Spanish giants Real Zaragoza. Dixie recalled the Club Directors imploring the payers not to get hammered in the first leg so that a decent crowd would turn out for the return at the Racecourse. A goalless draw in Spain ensured one of the great European nights at Wrexham. Real sneaked through on away goals after a 2v2 draw before a crowd of 14,000. “The fact that they brought a £2million striker off the bench said it all!” The play off final defat to Orient was one of the worst feelings in his career- a feeling which was to return earlier this year!
Club finances were to worsen still further, his best players had to be sold and Dixie described how an away match at Maidstone was to prove his last. Promised an overnight stay which never materialised; the squad travelled by cars to Crewe, by train to Euston with an underground trip and another train to Maidstone finally succumbing to a 2 nil defeat before making the return trek home. This proved to be a final straw and, despite his new contract, Dixie called time on his managerial career at the Racecourse.
Headhunted by John Sillett, Dixie described being assistant manager at Coventry then in the top tier. What was plain to see was his love for our club, to the extent that winning or losing at Coventry “just didn’t mean the same” to him. Further spells in charge of Flint Town and Caernarvon (including defeating Swansea City away in the Welsh Cup) saw the final curtain fall on his managerial career before spending the next 25 years providing expert analysis on Radio Wales. Dixie said he was “only really interested in Wrexham” and recently attended the Man U v Liverpool cup tie but nothing compared to watching the Dragons!
In reply to questions from the floor, Dixie said that his greatest goal was one he scored in a pre-season friendly at Kilmarnock especially as he had spent the first half in the bar having been told he wasn’t playing! When it became clear that he was winding up Killies fan Don Bircham, Dixie confirmed that it was actually the famous goal he scored on the half volley at a packed St James Park in the FA Cup.
The meeting gave a very warm round of applause to Dixie whose love for the Club and the area was plain to see.
Twelve Trust Board members were in attendance (including our four Club Directors) as well as CEO Don Bircham to take questions from the floor and those emailed in advance to the Secretary Alan Fox.
The following summarises the discussions but is not intended to be a verbatim record.
Questions were asked about development of the ground. The University had appointed consultant and former Burnley player Paul Fletcher to advise them and he had met with Board members some time ago. Nothing more had been heard and there was nothing else to report. Finance Director Mark Williams confirmed that the Club did have “first refusal” on the ground should Glyndwr decide to sell at market value.
Mention was made of a recent report on higher education in North East Wales and how it might impact on Glyndwr. Board member Spencer Harris confirmed that he had read the lengthy report which had recommended a partnership between Glyndwr and Coleg Cambria over the next 18 months or so and we would keep a close eye on developments.
Questions were raised about the Club Budget and the income generated by the FA Trophy success. Don Bircham clarified that the amount was some £400,000 which had been used to prop up our running costs and that a competitive budget had again been set for the current season. We were at the “next level of budget” below the “Luton/Forest Green level” and if based on budgets alone “we should have won all our games so far with the possible exception of the Cambridge match”. DB said that we had “kept the business as lean as we can” and praised the work of the office staff and the commercial manager who all “did the work of two people”. No one else claimed anything and he gave a “categorical assurance that every penny goes to the “two Andys- Morrell and Davies”. The Club was run more transparently than ever before apart from the commercially sensitive playing budget/transfer fees. DB confirmed that we have spent exactly the same at this stage of the season as we did last season on player wages.
The question was asked what percentage of the playing budget would be cut if we had not received the “football fortune” last season. Mark replied that there were hundreds of variables which made this question impossible to answer.
A question was asked about the level of Trust reserves. They presently stood at some £214,000.
Questions had been raised about the life vice presidency of Nev Dickens. The Board explained that prior to taking over the Club there was no policy for appointing the Club President or VPs. A policy had since been drafted and approved at the AGM which had resulted in Dixie’s appointment but, so far, no VPs had been appointed under it. However there were a number of existing life VPs appointed at various times before the fans bought the Club. They had been written to and Malcolm Davies, Dave Griffiths, Dave Bennett and Nev Dickens had confirmed their wish to continue with that title which, under our new policy, carried no rights or privileges. No reply had been received from John Marek.
The Board explained, and apologised, for existing problems with the administration of membership. In short, the membership had seen a rapid (and welcome) rise from several hundred to over 3000 in a relatively short space of time. Despite the gallant efforts of our volunteers we recognised that our systems had struggled to cope. We were looking at alternative systems including a joint season ticket/membership card and a common renewal date for everyone. We were hampered in some cases by incomplete details being provided and recorded on the database.
Questions were raised about ticket prices and the Leader discounts. Mark Williams explained that we were targeting families and young people who were the future of the Club. The Leader offer didn’t apply to all matches just Saturday 3 pm kick offs. Season ticket prices had risen but this was inevitable if we wanted to remain competitive and we compared well with other Clubs. Prices for wheelchair users were down.
The Board confirmed that a small number of people had joined before the Season Ticket discount only to cancel their standing order once in receipt of the ticket. This was regrettable and those who had done so had effectively short changed their fellow supporters. This would be looked at next year.
Away travel prices had been mentioned. Away travel is still the same price as last season on the majority of trips this season. Of the 17 games we have had four have gone up in price which is due to the distances involved. They are Gateshead, Dartford, Braintree, Woking. For an example the cost of the coach to Dartford has gone up £230 from last season.
A member asked whether the Club planned to go part time. The answer was a categorical no.
A member asked whether we could have signed Chris Maxwell. Don answered that we possibly could have but the manager would have had three keepers and less money for outfield players.
A member asked why we can’t seem to attract players. DB replied that this wasn’t actually true and players were generally disinterested in who owned a club as long as they got paid.
A member asked about progress on the Andy Slinger’s branding project. Spencer replied that Andy had made presentations to both Boards and had come up with some interesting findings. An example was the idea that we represented “half a nation” and how we could use that to spread our appeal throughout North and Mid Wales. This was work in progress as were discussions with Arriva Trains.
Peter Jones mentioned the outstanding vacancy for a co-opted Trust Board member to lead on Media and Publicity (including the soon to be restarted programme on Calon FM). There had been some expressions of interest but it wasn’t too late to apply.
Pete also reminded members that next year the Club will celebrate 150 years since its formation. A committee was in place, including Pete and Dixie McNeil, to organise a series of special events and consisted of various groups including the Council, the Racecourse Foundation and the Museum. More will be revealed in due course.
WST Independent Secretary
Crazy Joe Clarke
A well-attended members meeting at the Centenary Club on Monday last welcomed midfielder Joe Clarke (the only player to have a Project named after him) as the guest speaker for the first half of the proceedings. Quizzed by Chairman Pete Jones, “Crazy Joe” as he is known by his teammates (a nickname bestowed on him by film buff Glen Little) described his journey to professional football beginning as a youngster playing for various teams in his native Birmingham.