Promotion-chasing Wrexham Football Club are going places after having their title challenge boosted by a major sponsorship deal.
The Dragons have netted £25,000 from Hays Travel North West, the UK’S fastest growing independent travel agency, which has its head office in the town’s Lord Street.
The travel firm has pledged the cash over two years in a deal to sponsor the Mold Road stand at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground. A bonus payment will also be stumped up if the club are promoted.
The club is now in its tenth season in The Vanarama National League and are currently fourth and in the play-off positions, seven points behind leaders Macclesfield.
Wrexham bounced back to winning ways with a 4-0 thumping of Torquay United on Saturday after drawing all three games played during the Christmas period.
And they still have a game in hand on the teams above them, and are pushing for promotion back to the Football League.
Hays Travel North West Managing Director Don Bircham has a long history of supporting the team financially.
Over the past 15 years his firm has donated more than £100,000 to Wales’s oldest football club which was founded in 1864.
The sponsorship of the stand, now 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: “The business has a proud and long-held association with Wrexham Football Club which is such an important focal point for the community.
“We are based in Wrexham and it is important to always be looking at ways in which we can give back to the community which has always supported us.
“We are all backing the side 100 per cent to make that final step over the line back into the Football League which every Wrexham Football Club fan has dreamed of for a long time.”
Dean Keates, Wrexham AFC Manager, said the stand had not been sponsored for six years and added: “It’s massively important for us to gain sponsorship for the stands. It’s a crucial way for us to gain the funds to help strengthen the club going forward.
“Anybody can do it but I think for us to have the support of a Wrexham-based business and for them to invest in us is great, fantastic, it’s what we are all about.”
The 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 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 recently had the addition of 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.
Don’s own team has its own big ambitions and recently launched a recruitment drive to take on 60 new staff as part of major expansion plans.
The travel firm, which has just announced an end of year turnover of more than £50m for the first time, is set to open 12 new offices across North Wales and the North West by the middle of next year.
Five of those, in Rhyl, Colwyn Bay, Ormskirk, Southport and West Kirby, on the Wirral, opened before Christmas. They will take the total number of Hays Travel North West branches to 28 with a further rise to 35 expected by the summer of 2018.
Don said: “We are celebrating a very successful growth period for the business and the sponsorship of the Wrexham AFC stand is the icing on the cake.
“Like the club, we have big plans for 2018 and I am hopeful our winning streaks will continue for all concerned.”