Are there no more worlds left for Wrexham to conquer?

<span>Photograph: Ashley Landis/AP</span>” data-src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/” src=”–/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjt3PTk2MDtoPTU3Ng–/”></img></p>
<p><figcaption><span>Photograph: Ashley Landis/AP</span></figcaption></p>
<p>Attempts to rebrand a long-established product can prove a risky business. Take for example the questionable rechristening of Twitter, a name part and parcel of internet vernacular, with the meaningless nepo-baby-approved brand-awareness-junking letter X. Or how about the all-new Football Daily, which you may or may not have erroneously clicked on to expecting to find Max and Barry, but no this isn’t the podcast, it’s what The Fiver used to be, so sorry about that. Is this what you were after? Go if you must, we understand, we shan’t be offended.</p>
<p>One rebrand that <em>has</em> however been pulled off with elan is that of Wrexham AFC, which now trades under the moniker Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s Wrexham (in association with Disney™ and United Airlines™)™. This new enterprise has been a roaring success from the get-go, transforming the world’s third-oldest club, a modest outfit previously best known for putting 10 goals past Hartlepool in 1962, by instantly turning them into a media juggernaut so beloved Stateside that they’re able to attract more than 50,000 fans in the beating heart of college basketball country: Chapel Hill, North Carolina, home of the Tar Heels. Michael Jordan’s alma mater, for goodness sake. We’d rather have spent our time there eating shrimp n’ grits at Crook’s Corner, enjoying a Jordan-endorsed chicken biscuit at Time Out, or maybe even watching some college basketball, but each to their own.</p>
<p>And so having captured the eastern seaboard, Wrexham have since moseyed out west to wow the locals in San Diego, where they’re turning more heads on the street than Manchester United, the bunch of non-documentary-starring nobodies they play later on Tuesday night at the 35,000-capacity Snapdragon Stadium. As rebrands go it’s been a roaring success, and yet their Hollywood-or-bust ambition doesn’t end here. When asked whether the Premier League was New WreXham™’s ultimate goal, manager Phil Parkinson shrugs. “When you look at teams like Luton who go up, you’ve got to say why not?” And that’s fair enough. Football Daily gives them more of a chance of achieving their ambitious targets than Mr Elon, let’s put it that way.</p>
<h2><strong>CHRIS BART-WILLIAMS (1974-2023)</strong></h2>
<p>The former Nottingham Forest and Sheffield Wednesday player, Chris Bart-Williams, has died at the age of 49. A classy, versatile operator who played in central midfield or at centre-back, Bart-Williams became a hero at both the City Ground and at Hillsborough, the clubs where he stayed longest. He amassed 248 appearance for Forest and 156 for the Owls, combining superb positional sense and discipline with a fine range of passing. He was one of those distinctive, memorable players who generally appeared to have more time than everyone else on the pitch. Having started his career at Leyton Orient, he also went on to play for Charlton, Ipswich, Apoel in Cyprus and Marsaxlokk in Malta, before retiring in 2006. He moved to the US and worked as a coach and mentor, including roles in women’s football and in schools. Reacting to news of his death, Nigel Pearson described Bart-Williams as “a genuinely lovely guy”, Chris Waddle called him “a good lad and a very talented footballer”, while Richard Williams, formerly of this parish, wrote that he “looked as though he possessed the qualities needed to become one of the great holding midfield players but was probably too versatile for his own good”. RIP.</p>
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Chris Bart-Williams playing for Forest in 2000. Photograph: Andrew Cowie/Shutterstock


“The only thing I wanted to do was be a footballer. I wasn’t going to let these people derail that. I made a conscious effort to just dismiss it and get on with it. There wasn’t an alternative. You couldn’t walk off because it wasn’t done” – Viv Anderson, the England men’s team’s first black player, on how he dealt with racist abuse from fans in the late 1970s. Read the interview here.


RIP Trevor Francis. Sad to read of his passing. He was a year older than me. We both lived in Plymouth. One day at a public park pick-up game, I found myself as a full-back against him. In less than five minutes, it was obvious he was to go on to be a successful player and I would have to make do with refereeing. I lost count of the number of times he waltzed past me and the number of goals he scored. Safe to say our paths never crossed on the field of play again” – Nick Little.

Legend had it that, back in the day, Trevor Francis and Midlands jokester Jasper Carrott were sometimes mistaken for one another. Carrott, allegedly, would go along with it, to the point of autographing items in Francis’s name. That and seeing him (Francis, not Carrott) play several times at St Andrew’s are my memories of a player some say would have played more for England had he not stayed at Birmingham so long” – Carl Zetie.

Trevor Francis in his Birmingham days.

Trevor Francis in his Birmingham days. Photograph: Colorsport/Shutterstock

Fifa continues to shoot itself in the foot, opting for no paper tickets at the Women’s World Cup. This means having their app on your smartphone. I am going to Brazil v France this coming Saturday with a friend (yes, I have one), but his phone isn’t smart enough to cope with the app. So for his $30 ticket, he has had to acquire a new phone, making it a much more expensive experience than he had planned. Well done Fifa, you sure have your moments, but I am hard pressed at present to think of any that favour the football community at large” – Ewen Anderson.

May I be the first of … well, probably just one, honestly … to point out that Scrooge McDuck has a money bin, not a money pit (yesterday’s Football Daily)? And that furthermore he only has the single bin, so it would be quite impossible for Kylian Mbappé (or anyone else) to be caught between them? Getting the occasional minor detail wrong is one thing when it comes to football itself, but this is a bridge too far” – Edward Dean (and no others).

Colin Reed (Friday’s letters) asks how Saudi Arabia’s PIF can purchase a player it already owns. Among the many highlights of Joe Kinnear’s brief spell at Newcastle United was the time he went to watch a Birmingham City game and praised the performance of Shane Ferguson … who was actually on loan there from the Toon. This all suggests far greater awareness of the Newcastle b@nter era than the Saudi PIF is usually given credit for. It should still get in the bin, obviously” – Ed Taylor.

If the correction on this article shows anything (other than the universe is actually pretty big), then the spirit of your pedants still lingers around Big Website Towers” – Darren Leathley.

Send your letters to Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’ the day is … Darren Leathley.


Colombia 2-0 South Korea: Linda Caicedo is up and running with a goal on her Women’s World Cup debut, sealing a vital win for Las Cafeteras, who are now poised to reach the knockout stages for just the second time.

Linda Caicedo celebrates after scoring.

Linda Caicedo celebrates after scoring. Photograph: Dan Himbrechts/EPA

New Zealand 0-1 Philippines: Group A is officially wide open after Sarina Bolden’s header sunk the co-hosts, who could have booked their place in the last 16 with a victory.

Sarina Bolden and the Philippines get their celebrations on.

Sarina Bolden and the Philippines get their celebrations on. Photograph: Marty Melville/AFP/Getty Images

Switzerland 0-0 Norway: Instead, all four teams could still go through after a damp draw in rainy Hamilton, with Norway drawing another blank after Ada Hegerberg was knacked in the warm-up and Caroline Graham Hansen got in a funk at being dropped. “It’s tough, I don’t know what I can say. There’s not much I can say,” she said, before saying plenty more. “I feel like I’m standing here with my hands tied. I feel I have been stepped on for a whole year – everyone says all the time that we have to stand together as a team and as a nation, but I feel I’ve been on the receiving end.”

Caroline Graham Hansen

Caroline Graham Hansen after coming on during the stalemate. Photograph: Abbie Parr/AP


The latest edition of our sister email is out today and features Anita Asante on the story of the World Cup so far: the underdogs. Sign up for the full version here.


After becoming the breakout star of Ted Lasso, Jonathan Wilson is writing a European footb … sorry, soccer newsletter for fans of the game in USA! USA!! USA!!! (Canadians, Australians and Tuvaluans may also enjoy it). You can sign up here, along with asking him some questions about the game too.


It’s only David Squires on … the Women’s World Cup so far.


The BBC has apologised after one of its reporters asked Morocco’s captain a question about LGBTQ+ rights before their World Cup defeat to Germany. “We recognise that the question was inappropriate,” said a BBC spokesperson. “We had no intention to cause any harm or distress.”

Italian teenager Luca Koleosho has completed a move from Espanyol to Burnley for a fee in the region of £2.5m. “It feels amazing to be here,” he cheered.

Equally enthused appears to be Anthony Elanga, fresh off his £15m switch to Nottingham Forest from Manchester United. “I had interest elsewhere, but for me [this] feels like the perfect place,” he tooted.

United boss Erik ten Hag isn’t quite so thrilled at the apparent stasis in their search for a new striker. “The only thing I can say is we do everything that’s in our power to get it done,” he sighed. “If it was up to me, as soon as possible, the earlier the better.”

And Hearts are celebrating after getting a deal over the line for Peterborough centre-back Frankie Kent. “It’s pleasing that he remained committed to joining us despite another Scottish club trying to get involved late on, and I suppose we should take it as a compliment that our recruitment strategy is being mimicked elsewhere,” parped sporting director Joe Savage.


Martin O’Neill and Jonathan Wilson pay tribute to the late Trevor Francis, while here is his obituary, as written by Peter Mason.

Kieran Pender reports on why 30-year-old Katrina Gorry and 21-year-old Kyra Cooney-Cross represent Australia’s past, present and flamin’ future.

Jamie Jackson has gone on the road with New WreXham™.

And will Kylian Mbappé sign for Tottenham? Almost certainly not, but let Barry Glendenning bring you the latest football transfer t1ttle-tattle anyway.


Goran Ivanisevic trains with his beloved Hajduk Split in 1997. The Croatian would eventually be included in their squad four years later.


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