Dragons revitalised under Hollywood owners – Wrexham keep making the headlines
National League Wrexham visit Sheffield United on Tuesday as the lowest ranked side left in this season’s FA Cup.
The Welsh outfit, co-owned by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, will secure a lucrative fifth-round home tie with Tottenham by winning their Bramall Lane replay.
Here, the PA news agency looks at a club who are making headlines on and off the pitch.
Wrexham were starting a 12th season in the fifth tier of English football when Reynolds and McElhenney announced their intention to buy Wales’ oldest club in September 2020. Deadpool actor Reynolds – one of Hollywood’s biggest stars – and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator McElhenney completed their £2million takeover from the Wrexham Supporters Trust the following February and life in north Wales has never been the same since.
When @RMcElhenney and I got into this it all felt so impossible. But impossible is @Wrexham_AFC’s favourite colour. That was one of the most exciting things I’ve EVER seen. Thank you each and every Wrexham supporter who came out and aimed your heart at that pitch tonight ⚔️🏴⚔️ pic.twitter.com/s4dbCDJS7W
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) January 29, 2023
Heavy investment has transformed Wrexham from National League stragglers into serious promotion contenders. The Dragons lost a semi-final play-off to Grimsby last season after finishing runners-up to Stockport. They are currently battling with Notts County for the one automatic-promotion spot, three points behind the Magpies but with two games in hand, and dreaming of FA Cup glory.
The impact of #WrexhamFX
🔴⚪ #WxmAFC pic.twitter.com/cism4DtC5G
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) September 25, 2022
The fly-on-the-wall ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary aired on American TV channel FX last year and introduced the club – owners, management, players and fans – to an international audience. The show was warmly received and Wrexham’s profile is now so great that their FA Cup tie against Sheffield United was the most followed football game that day across ESPN’s website and digital platforms in the US.
Phil Parkinson has spent two decades as a manager and Wrexham is his seventh club. The 55-year-old has managed Colchester, Hull, Charlton, Bradford – whom he guided to the League Cup final in 2013 – Bolton and Sunderland. Parkinson has won promotions at Colchester, Bradford and Bolton.
Striker Paul Mullin is Wrexham’s main man, scoring 57 goals in 73 games since being persuaded to leave Cambridge and drop down two leagues in July 2021. Ben Tozer, Callum McFadzean, Elliot Lee and Ollie Palmer also supply plenty of Football League experience, while Wrexham have signed Irish defender Eoghan O’Connell from Charlton since the Racecourse tie against Sheffield United.