Promotion-chasing Wrexham Football Club have netted a hat-trick sponsorship deal with the UK’s fastest growing independent travel agency.
Hays Travel North West, which has its head office in the town’s Lord Street, has pledged to sponsor the club’s Mold Road stand for the 2019/20 season.
It’s the third season in a row that the travel agency, which now has 36 branches across North Wales and the north west, has sponsored the stand at the Wrexham Racecourse ground.
The club is now coming to the end of its eleventh season in The Vanarama National League with their last game of the season on Saturday (April 27).
But many hopes are pinned on a tense play-off next week – the first of three matches they need to win in order to make promotion back to the Football League.
Hays Travel North West Managing Director Don Bircham has a long history of supporting the team financially.
Over almost 20 years his firm has donated close to £150,000 to Wales’s oldest football club which was founded in 1864. Hays Travel North West is also the official travel partner of the football club, offering exclusive discounts to season ticket holders and Wrexham Supporters Trust members.
The sponsorship of the stand, already known as the Hays Travel stand, is the latest in a long line of support from Don’s business for the fan-owned club which has included a two-year shirt sponsorship.
Don, who set up his successful chain of travel agencies in 2000 with a single shop in Mold town centre, said: “We are with the town on willing the club to make it back to the Football League which would be so richly deserved.
“For the club to keep sight of their goals, they need local businesses like ours to keep investing and so we are delighted to be extending our sponsorship for another season.
“We are proud of our long-held support of Wrexham Football Club which we know is so important to the community.
“Our Head Office is in the heart of the town and we are always keen to make sure we are doing our bit to give back to the community which has always supported us.
“It’s going to be an exciting time now as we all get behind the players to make that final step back over the line into the Football League and we wish them all the best for achieving it.”
Geoff Scott, Commercial Manager for Wrexham AFC, said: “We are a fans owned community club so to have Don Bircham and Hays Travel extending the partnership is fantastic news. Don and his company are long-term sponsors, he’s a former Chief Executive of the club, a good friend to me and a friend to Wrexham football club and we are very grateful for the ongoing support.
“A lot of our money comes from our loyal fans but we do need commercial deals to keep things going and if we can land them with local companies such as Hays Travel, then all the better because it is what the club is all about – having this terrific support from the community.”
The Hays Travel sponsorship funds will go in to the club’s main pot which is used to service a number of Wrexham AFC commitments including buying new players and paying their salaries, manager recruitment and the running and maintenance of the 10,500 capacity Racecourse stadium, the largest in North Wales.
Money is also set aside for the club’s varied community projects, via The Racecourse Community Foundation, such as a health and well-being programme in primary schools across Wrexham and working with different organisations to provide autism-friendly match days.
The Hays Travel stand has a raised platform for wheelchair users in a sheltered area offering one of the best views in the house which was made possible by fan fundraising.
The Hays Travel North West team has its own goals and is on course to open its 50th branch by the end of 2020 as it continues with major expansion plans. In the last five months, it has opened up new branches in Didsbury, Rochdale, Runcorn, Ashton-under-Lyne and Macclesfield.
The growing network of travel agencies are now the main partner of the hugely successful ATOL-protected Hays Travel, based in Sunderland, which has a turnover of more than £1bn and is the UK’s largest independent travel agency.
At the end of last year, Hays Travel North West announced a turnover of more than £70m for the first time and this year, the expanding business is aiming to provide £100m of holidays
Don said: “It’s a pleasure to be able to do our bit to support Wrexham AFC. We are forging ahead with major expansion at Hays Travel North West which is going extremely well and as a company, we feel it is only right for us to use some of this success to support important clubs and organisations in the communities where we are based.”