April 22, 2024

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Wrexham have the toughest starting schedule – and the opening matches feature controversial opponents

Wrexham have the toughest starting schedule – and the opening matches feature controversial opponents

If everything has seemed like a dream for Wrexham since their impressive rise to the National League, today the first welcome dose of reality has arrived: their fixture list for the 2023-24 League.

Wrexham now have their way to what they no doubt hope is a quick trip between two non-league sides into the third tier of English football. Not that things always go smoothly; More than half of the 23 teams Wrexham will face next season have also played in the National League in the 15 years outside the English Football League (EFL).

The general rules for match lists are simple, of course. You play against every team in your division twice, once at home and once away, and it all sorts itself out in the end. right? Well… not really. When and where you play a team, as well as standings, can still have an impact on a side’s momentum at various points in the campaign.

It is no less important than which point is the starting point. tone setter. Pop into a flyer and many of your supporters’ pre-season hopes could trump reality. Look at losing and staying winless, and it’s easy to make big deadline decisions before moving on after a few hours of football.

So how about the start of Wrexham? the athlete He evaluated his opening ten league games to judge how hard Phil Parkinson’s men were able to find him.

The system is relatively simple, ranking each opponent by their final position last season in League Two.

In addition to these 18 teams who have not been promoted or relegated there are four teams who have been relegated from League One, and we have also ranked them in their final standings. So Milton Keynes Dons, who finished 21st in the 24-club Third Division and missed out on survival by one point last season, after a year of running the same preliminary fixtures in the same division, present the toughest match possible.

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Due to the two clubs being joined from the National League, Wrexham were champions and thus ranked 23rd, with Notts County promoted through the play-offs, making them the easiest to match in the division.

Yes, this is far from a flawless account, but it will always be before the real fun begins and all those rash judgments can be made.

And we still have a long six weeks to go, so now let’s take a look at Wrexham’s start.


Because you know how we worked all this out, you’ll quickly realize where Wrexham’s opener is in next season’s standings.

The North Wales side will start things off at the Racecourse Ground, which is always favourite, but they’ll do it against MK Dons – aka, by our off-season accounts, their toughest home game all season. It’s no secret that a healthy opening weekend win will only further fuel dreams of consecutive promotions.

A week later, it was one of the easier overseas trips, with AFC Wimbledon ranked 21st.

These first two antagonists offer an interesting subplot, of course.

MK Dons remain a controversial club in the eyes of many English football fans – particularly Wimbledon fans – because they were born out of an FA-sanctioned decision to move Wimbledon, from London’s southern suburbs, 75 miles north to Milton Keynes, a commuter town further north. West of DC, and rename it.

It is the type of franchise decision often seen in American sports. However, most English football clubs originate from their communities and carry a history dating back more than 100 years, while the well-established system of relegation and promotion across divisions means that clubs are expected to earn their place in the pyramid rather than be given it. In the event, rather than setting up a club in Milton Keynes and working their way through divisions from the depths of the non-league, Wimbledon’s owners were given permission to dissolve a club founded in 1889 and relocate.

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Founded in 2002, the new club granted Wimbledon a place in the football pyramid and allowed them to use Wimbledon’s nickname, The Dons. Rather than proceed with the move north, some Wimbledon supporters formed their own team. The Asian Football Confederation was established from scratch, and began its life in the ninth division of English football. They have been promoted six times since, going up for five years in League One. They are now back in League Two after relegation in 2022, back in their spiritual home of Plow Lane after years without a stadium to call their home, and back to take on that despised club from Milton Keynes, as well as Wrexham.

Speaking of the Welsh…

Three of their first five matches are against sides ranked in the toughest 10, although neither Barrow nor Swindon Town finished in the top six last season. Three of the five are also at home.

Opening 10 matches Wrexham

Game

a team

h / a

difficulty

1

Milton Keynes Dons

h

1

2

Asian Wimbledon Championships

a

21

3

Walsall

h

16

4

Swindon Town

h

10

5

barrow

a

9

6

Tranmere Rovers

a

12

7

Doncaster Rovers

h

18

8

Grimsby Town

h

11

9

Stockport County

a

5

10

Crow Alexandra

h

13

September brings another five games to look forward to, with a standout trip to last season’s Stockport County, who finished fourth (three teams advance automatically) and then lost at Wembley on penalties after a 1-1 draw. Drawn with fifth-placed Carlisle United. This is one of Wrexham’s toughest outings all season. However, the other four encounters in September are against teams ranked outside the top 10.

There are some close neighbors at that start, too. It’s 32 miles (51 km) from Wrexham to the Liverpool suburb of Tranmere, while Crewe Alexandra’s support team will have just 24 miles to cover to get to the racecourse.

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Also of note is Wrexham’s 46th and final regular season game, which comes on the last weekend in April. They host Stockport that day, which might be a perfect fit if both teams have promotion or still have the play-offs to play for.

MK Dons were relegated in their League Two opener to Wrexham (Photo: Katherine Ifill/Getty Images)

At this point Notts County also deserves a little love.

Given the fantastic run for the National League title shared by the two clubs, and the kind words following success from Wrexham owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhinney, you’d imagine fans at both clubs would be anxious to see how the others fared.

How do notes compare?

By our calculations, their opening five matches are easier than Wrexham’s – although they also play three of them away from home.

Opening 10 matches in Notts County

Game

a team

h / a

difficulty

1

Sutton United

a

14

2

Grimsby Town

h

11

3

Morecambe

a

2

4

Doncaster Rovers

a

18

5

Tranmere Rovers

h

12

6

Accrington Stanley

h

3

7

Milton Keynes Dons

a

1

8

Salford City

a

7

9

Forest Green Rovers

h

4

10

Colchester United

a

20

However, the next five make September more difficult, with four of their opponents ranked inside the top seven, including two teams relegated from League One.

Notts in fact play six of their opening 10 matches away from Meadow Lane, while Wrexham play six of their first 10 matches at home. But don’t get too caught up in it. Everything, as we said at the top, aligns towards the end of the season in terms of the fixture list; The same may not be said of arbitration decisions and luck.

All that remains is to keep October 28th and February 17th free.

When the two teams meet, the second match is on the racetrack.

(Top photo: Oli Scarfe/AFP via Getty Images)