The players threw their fists into the air and quickly disappeared, swallowed by thousands of fans who flooded the field. Flares sent smoke into the dark skies of Wales. The team owners were placed in private boxes, shared hugs and wiped away tears.
The made-for-TV story of Wrexham AFC finally has a happy ending.
Wrexham’s story is now hardly a secret: a proud Welsh football team acquired by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny in their own FX documentary “Welcome to Wrexham.”
A two-year journey for the actors, their team and their city culminated Saturday night when Wrexham’s victory on home field sealed promotion to the next tier of the National League Championship and the English football pyramid. reached.
You don’t have to watch the FX documentary series or watch the Wrexham game to appreciate the emotional value of that storyline. But now that Wrexham’s story of chasing promotion has hit its mark, here’s a quick catch-up on what the team has accomplished, and an inside look at what lies ahead.
what happened over the weekend?
Wrexham, who have spent most of the season at the top of English football’s fifth tier, the National League, clinched the title with a 3-1 win over Borehamwood on Saturday.
As champions, Wrexham will be promoted to the English Football League (specifically League 2) next season. The team has not played so high in the English football system since his 2008.
Wrexham have been stalked, chased and pushed this season by another storied, 150-year-old British team, Notts County. With his one game remaining, Wrexham have 110 points, Notts County have 106 and third-placed Chesterfield have him only 81.
Wrexham and Notts County are the first teams to reach 100 points in England’s top five division since Manchester City in the 2017-18 Premier League. Notts County still have promotion potential, but the club will need to survive the promotion play-offs to earn it.
What a wonderful underdog story.
Well, it’s not a pure Bootstrap story. In addition to the Hollywood star power in the owner’s box, another actor, Paul Rudd, Was a guest of Reynolds and McElhenneywas held on Saturday night, and with the A-list sponsorship that attraction brought, Wrexham benefited from a much larger budget than many teams in that league. This allowed them to sign players and staff that many of their National League rivals were out of reach.
For example, Wrexham goalkeeper Ben Foster once played for England. The team’s star his striker, Paul Marin, was a League Two player the year before signing for Wrexham. Manager Phil Parkinson recently led Sunderland in the third tier.
what happens next?
Season 2 of “Welcome to Wrexham” will probably start writing now. Much like the “Rocky” and “Bad News Bears” franchises, Season 1’s disastrous failure was washed up by Season 2’s triumph. Look for the first episodes to be released in August or September.
However, Season 3’s storyline is very shaky. In League Two, Wrexham will face a bigger and better-funded side than they have in the last two seasons.
But recent history favors Wrexham. In the past five seasons, none of the ten teams promoted from the National League were relegated the following season. One was Tranmere in 2018-19, his first season in League Two, which saw him promoted to the third tier. (Stockport could repeat that feat this season.)
The cost of doing business will undoubtedly rise in League 2, but Wrexham’s upper tier may not be as financially taxing as other teams. Wrexham has averaged less than 10,000 fans per game this season. This is the top of the National League and would be among the top three in League 2 attendance. Plus, the club has a lot of money behind it, and a win could bring in even more.
Will the success story continue?
it’s not rock. Many of the newly promoted teams ended up in the mid-tables of Ligue 2, making adjustments both financially and competitively. Whether the .500 season will be good TV remains to be seen.
What is your ultimate goal?
Reynolds and McElhenney have a lot of rational remarks about organically growing a team, but they also have bigger goals.
Reynolds: “We always say that we want to go to the Premier League. told ESPN in January(Actually, to most football fans, it sounds crazy. Wrexham is still a small Welsh club, and the Premier League is one of the richest domestic competitions on the planet.)
“If it’s theoretically possible to go from professional football’s fifth division to the Premier League, why not?” Reynolds said. “Why not use the last drop of blood to get there?”
So can Wrexham succeed at even higher levels?
The road is long and there are big hurdles ahead.
Although the owners have improved the racetrack, it still holds only 10,000 people. The largest Premier League stadium he holds over 70,000. Wrexham itself is his city of 60,000, a long way to go. every day How — from London, Liverpool and Manchester.
Reynolds and McElhenney believe their fame and documentaries can help. In the US, interest in Wrexham has been much higher over the past two seasons. Metrics such as online page views and social media followers generate Premier League-like numbers that are not easily translated into pounds or dollars. A person who enjoys documentaries and has warm feelings for a team thousands of miles away is not as valuable an asset as the fan who lives nearby and buys his ticket and new jersey each season. Sure, Wrexham has those fans. Only a limited number are available.
McElhenney joked that he has “TV money”, but Reynolds has “movie money”. owned by those who have At least two, Manchester City and Newcastle, now boast national money.
A better point of comparison for Wrexham might be a team like AFC Wimbledon, founded by fans when Wimbledon FC moved. With a built-in fan base, AFC Wimbledon quickly climbed the league, beating out behind and underfunded rivals, eventually reaching the third tier. However, they were relegated last season and now seem to have found their cap.
Reynolds and McElhenney dream big. Their success is undisputed and now official. But the reality of football means their dreams of glory in the Premier League are still a long way off.