Wrexham supporters can finally celebrate their team’s promotion, and they’ll be screaming their praises to the club’s famous owners all night long.
Wrexham won promotion to the Football League after a 15-year hiatus on a rowdy night at the Racecourse, with actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney — who have transformed the club since their 2021 takeover — in attendance.
Reynolds told reporters after the game, “I’m still a little speechless; I’m not sure I can actually process what happened tonight.”
I keep thinking, “Why Wrexham? Why Wrexham?” because that’s what people kept asking in the beginning. This, this very moment, is why Wrexham exists.
After a thrilling 3-1 victory over promotion contenders Boreham Wood, the referee blew the final whistle and thousands of fans rushed onto the pitch, lighting flares, waving banners, and losing themselves in the moment. McElhenney was caught on camera wiping away tears.
McElhenney stated, “I think we can hear how it feels to the town, and that’s what’s most important to us — I think this is a moment of catharsis for them.”
The moment of my life was when we were accepted into their community and given this opportunity.
People will say that Hollywood invented this scenario, but the truth is that it was already here. Once a powerhouse in the English football league system, the ancient small-town team was rescued from oblivion by its ardent fan base before plummeting to the lowest tier, the National League.
A popular group around the world
Then Reynolds and McElhenney showed there, and Hollywood did what it does best: sprinkled stardust and hoped for the best to make a wonderful climax to what is only the end of a chapter.
Wrexham will play in the fourth level of English football next season, in League Two. It’s simple to say “Three more promotions, and they’ll be in the English Premier League,” but far more difficult to actually do.
Near the stadium, the sound of tooting horns and spectators singing could be heard hours before kickoff. The excitement is mounting as the start time, originally scheduled for earlier in the day, has been altered to allow for live television coverage.
Winning would guarantee Wrexham its first promotion since it was demoted to the National League in April 2008, therefore the stakes could not have been higher.
However, they’d tried this previously and failed. There was hope and uncertainty. The squad has only lost three times this season and has only dropped two points at home. Years of near misses plant seeds of mistrust that are difficult to eradicate.
There was a massive influx of fans into the city, which resulted in fully booked hotels and packed bars. There were also movie stars in attendance, as is the norm these days.
Paul Rudd, the star of Marvel’s “Ant-Man,” joined Reynolds and McElhenney for their promotion-deciding battle.
Before the game, he was spotted visiting a pub called the Turf, which is conveniently located near the stadium. He was the latest Hollywood personality to frequent the establishment, which has been featured in the TV documentary “Welcome to Wrexham,” which follows the actors during their first season as managers.
New Wrexham Supporters Flocked to Wales
When asked what they think of the owners and their program, longtime fans generally shake their heads in dismay. The fact that the tiny Welsh city is now well-known around the world is both hilarious and puzzling.
The documentary appears to have captivated a wide audience; Americans in particular appear to have fallen in love with a club that serves as the community’s nerve center.
This week, a slew of new Wrexham supporters flocked to Wales from as far away as Ohio, Los Angeles, Washington, and Arizona. Some came with tickets to the match, while others simply wanted to see the city for themselves after seeing it on television.
The club claims that eighty percent of its merchandise sales this season have come from outside of the United States. In December, all of the club’s shirts had been purchased, with 24,000 of the home, away, and third strips going to fans. It’s never happened before. A larger purchase has been placed for the upcoming season.
Wrexham—what’s next? Even though promotion to League One from League Two will be more difficult than it was this season, due to the fact that three teams instead of one are promoted from League Two, the competition there will be stiffer.
The club boasts a manager with experience in the Football League Phil Parkinson, who has been in command since the summer of 2021, and numerous players with experience in the league.
According to Parkinson, “It’s a massive moment for this football club – from the owners all the way down to the supporters who have followed this club over the last 15 years in some really tough times,” and he’s happy for all of them.
Paul Mullin’s Role
The team’s standout striker Paul Mullin, whom McElhenney referred to as “one of the greatest football players in the world,” will undoubtedly play a significant role again next year. The first of his two goals was a spectacular curling effort that put the home team ahead 2-1; the second, which came in the 71st minute and all but sealed the game, set off frenzied celebrations.
He added, “To come back from one down tonight is unbelievable and we love what we’ve done.” He went on to talk about the shenanigans that come with playing for Wrexham and how the team handled them.
The supporters were due it; “I think after the first minute, they were all fearing the worst but you know, we stick together… no matter what’s been thrown at us.”
Wrexham has more than proven they can compete in the National League, as they have set new records for most goals and points in a season while still having a game in hand.
No one could have predicted how much of an influence Reynolds and McElhenney would have on the club when they bought it in February 2021. This is not the end of the story or the dream.