Fans have decided to take aim at the BBC over an article they published on Wrexham and their method of travelling by plane.
Editorial Sustainability Lead at BBC Sport, David Lockwood, with additional reporting by Matt Hickson says research showed the club took 8 domestic return flights to rivals including the likes of Eastleigh, Gateshead and Barnet.
But amid the Welsh outfit’s tour of North America where they have played the likes of Chelsea and Man Utd to help grow their profile with thanks to owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, Wrexham are now coming under criticism for doing what no other club did in the National League last season, which was to fly to their some of their opponents.
BBC Sport report how 14 of those 16 journeys left from and returned to Manchester Airport with the shortest flight was just 29 minutes and the average flight time was 43.5 minutes.
It’s not uncommon for Premier League or even EFL clubs to do this to help players with their recovery especially with a packed out fixture list, but there is concern regarding environmental damage caused by short-haul flights, leading to the matter becoming a talking point.
But when you’re in a position like Wrexham’s who have the money, ambition to be like other top flight clubs in the long run, are they really out the ordinary? Of course they’re going to be doing things differently to everyone else in the top tier of non league.
They have their way of doing things and judging by their pre-season trip abroad, they aren’t showing any signs of stopping, even with this BBC article being published with this chart created…
What were the plane journeys?
|Wrexham v||Journey||Flight time (minutes)|
|Eastleigh||Manchester to Southampton||46|
|Southampton to Manchester||44|
|Maidstone||Manchester to London Biggin Hill||44|
|London Biggin Hill to Manchester||45|
|Gateshead||Manchester to Newcastle||47|
|Newcastle to Manchester||29|
|Maidenhead||Manchester to London Oxford||39|
|London Oxford to Manchester||32|
|Dagenham & Redbridge||Manchester to London Southend||44|
|London Southend to Manchester||50|
|Bromley||Manchester to London Biggin Hill||62|
|London Biggin Hill to Manchester||49|
|Barnet||Manchester to Luton||38|
|Luton to Manchester||37|
|Torquay||Liverpool to Exeter||47|
|Exeter to Liverpool||44|
You can read more on BBC Sport’s piece here, which include a quote from Katie Cross, who runs Pledgeball, a research driven organisation who work with clubs to “engage fans and lower their footprints”, she said Wrexham’s rapid trajectory risks being “overshadowed” by a “surging environmental impact”.
She adds: “The club, with the full backing of their new owners, seem to be following the well-carved out track of measuring success through global expansion and financial success.”
A co-owners’ mission statement on the club website is included, pledging a “commitment to a more ecologically-sustainable version of the club and stadium” with Wrexham’s lucrative sponsorship deal with United Airlines brought up, saying it has come at a time when there are calls for football to distance itself from fossil fuel industries as sponsors.
Reynolds and McElhenney states: “We seek out sponsors that match the spirit of both Wrexham AFC and the people of Wrexham. We could think of no better sponsor.”
But Frank Huisingh, who runs a campaign group called Fossil Free Football, said: “Football has a clear interest in stopping the climate crisis from escalating further. It is therefore sad to see that so many young world-class players are asked to promote a very polluting activity like flying.
“Wrexham AFC shouldn’t have followed their [Premier League clubs] lead. They should do what is best for fans around the world and stop advertising air travel.”
Cross says: “Imagine the impact if Wrexham chose to prioritise environmental sustainability in their decision-making and used their huge profile to push it up the football agenda? It would be a game-changer and would cause heads to turn.”
Cue the Twitter reaction. Fans take aim at the BBC over this article published on Wrexham exploring their use of travelling by plane…
@xgform: Don’t worry, football season starts next week, and we can get back to more interesting stuff 😀
@wrexhamcarl: Thank you BBC most of the country hates us – this is the first post in 2years that other fans are actually sticking up for us.
@GlennColeman1: Complete waste of research.
@richardlock14: So??? How many total useless flights for presenters and crap do you do???? A hell of a lot more that’s for sure! “Oh let’s fly someone out to the latest area of concern just for the sake of it”
@sartejt: Wait till the BBC find out how many domestic flights that don’t involve football clubs are run each month…
@DeborahS31: So what? 🤦♀️
@ANorthantsfan: Jersey are in the Combined Counties League and fly to most away games, as do visiting teams to Jersey.
@united_boy2002: Why is this news?
@efcalexx: team travels across country to other teams
@DialMForMatt: The BBC flew out journalists to stand in the sun in Spain to lecture us about climate change
@gks266783: anything to report on the country’s appalling transport infrastructure that drives this behaviour?
@LukeTysonGyp: Slow news day. How many flights did Premier league or Championship clubs make.
@red_devil1999: The good old British media, taking a success story and finding the negatives.
@MKT1882: Blimey, I get that they have a large media profile due to their owners but is everything about them newsworthy? I bet even the Wrexham fans are getting a bit sick of it.
@Jm2672Jason: My god, call the church elders, this is shocking 🙄
@Jayallanents: To be fair eastleigh is right next to the airport.
@daviebroon51: Why is this news typical BBC journalism 🙄🙄
@Nottscountydan: And? They’re rich as fuck. As much as they’re our rivals on the field this is hardly news. Fair play to them.
@CarolT1957: Well, they can afford it! Most other non league clubs can’t.
@d196325: The BBC agenda strikes again.
@DanielHolmes93: Happy to slag Wrexham off for pretty much anything but every other club would do this if they could afford it?
@BucksTalesAdge: Sports team takes most convenient form of travel for them headline shocker!!!
@adamReames: They will literally dig for ANY story to involve Wrexham ffs 😂😂
BBC when they haven’t posted about Wrexham for 5 minutes pic.twitter.com/YjbxVPTLRu
— #InTomLockyerWeTrust (@SSE_LTFC) July 28, 2023
— Steve Baker (@SteveBa99880334) July 28, 2023
— David McVittie 🇨🇷 (@mcvittie_david) July 28, 2023
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