Why Wrexham FC’s Hollywood-Inspired Success Story Is Only Just Beginning

By Ian John
April 24, 2023

This past weekend you may well have noted that somewhere down in the dark reaches of the English lower leagues, Welsh football club Wrexham reclaimed a place in the Football League after an absence of 15-years.

Nothing remarkable about that you may think, only it is a remarkable and at times unbelievable story.

And it is one that has only just begun as two famous and ambitious owners have dreams of turning this often-overlooked part of North Wales into their own personal football fiefdom.

So where did it all start? Why did it all go wrong and what has happened since to put the club back in the spotlight and the Football League?

So much so that bet365 Sport has a special England League 2 outright winner for the 2023/24 season market that just lists Wrexham as a very short price 7/2 favourite!

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Let’s first learn a little more of the history of Wrexham FC before we bring things up to date with more recent events.

A History of Wrexham Football Club

Wrexham FC are the third oldest club in world football and the oldest Welsh football team. Founded in October 1864, their Racecourse Ground is the world’s oldest international football stadium that still hosts matches, hosting its first international game in 1877.

Located in the North-east corner of Wales, close to the English border, the club were amongst the inaugural members of the Football League’s Third Division North when it was created in 1921.

The club became a member of the newly organised Third Division in 1958 lasting just two years before being relegated to the Fourth Division.

The team reached the Second Division in the 1977/78 season but didn’t last too long there before two successive relegations dropped the team into the Fourth Division.

Worsening financial problems saw the club enter administration in December 2004, and it took 18 months for Wrexham to exit administration, with the fans memorably raising £100,000 in 24-hours at one stage to keep the club afloat.

However, a decline had set in and in 2008, Wrexham dropped out of the Football League for the first time in the club’s history.

In the next 13 years, the club managed to reach the playoffs on four occasions, but were eliminated each time. After finishing in their lowest ever position in the league, 19th, in the abandoned 2019/20 season, it was clear that fresh capital, fresh ideas and new ownership was needed, but Wrexham fans could scarcely believe just who it would be that would come in to change the outlook of the club.

2020 – Hello To Hollywood

At first, it seemed like a cruel April Fool’s joke when news appeared that Hollywood superstar duo Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds were bidding for ownership of the club.

However it was not and while many fans were sceptical of what the new owners wanted from purchasing he club, many feeling it was just a PR exercise, the duo gained over 98% support from the official supporters club for their takeover bid.

By February 2021, RR McReynolds Company LLC had purchased the club and a short time later, their takeover and first few months of ownership were documented in the Welcome to Wrexham docuseries on Disney +.

Upon taking up ownership, the pair have since thrown their support and considerable financial weight behind the club.

Last season, they finished second in the Nationwide Conference table, but missed out in the playoffs for the fifth time in 15 seasons, but this year, they pipped Notts County to top spot in the table on the penultimate week of the season, setting a new points record (110 and 113 is still possible) in the process.

In addition to returning League Two football to the Racecourse Ground, the ownership have invested heavily in purchasing the Racecourse Ground and have already started extensive redevelopment of the stadium.

They have also invested in the community of Wrexham in many ways –

  • Donating £50,000 immediately upon takeover to the women’s football section at the club.
  • Vast improvement in Live Streaming services at the club.
  • Adding LED boards around the ground (purchased from Wembley Stadium)
  • A new and free Club Membership scheme has been launched.
  • Season ticket prices frozen at 2019/20 level.
  • Architechts appointed to oversee the redevelopment work at the Racecourse Ground including the removal of the old WREXRENT Stand, replacing it with a brand new, state-of-the-art 5500 capacity all-seating stand.
  • The online club shop is launched
  • The owners provide funds for the signing of Paul Mullen, a stunning move as the player had finished top goalscorer in League Two the season above and was dropping down a division to play for the Welsh side.
  • Season ticket sales rise to 5,200.
  • A new club website is launched
  • Club is included in the hugely popular FIFA franchise of computer games, the first non-league team to do so.
  • The team gain promotion to the Football League and announced a pre-season tour of the United States where they will face Premier League Chelsea in one game of the tour on July 19th.

Additionally, the co-owners have also dipped into their pockets to support numerous local charities and individuals with generous donations.

The club’s popularity around the world is such that long-time club sponsor Ifor Williams Trailers, has been joined by the likes of Tik Tok, Expedia, Vistaprint and Aviation American Gin.

What Now?

Perhaps what is most admirable about the way the new owners have run the club is that they have kept fans and the local community involved in every aspect of the club.

In their Welcome to Wrexham documentary series, both owners have emphasised just how much the support of the local community in Wrexham is a fundamental part of their plans and their reward for making those efforts has been an almost total consensus of support across the board.

However, the journey for Wrexham’s new owners does not end with regaining league status. Their ambitions run far deeper and ultimately onto the Premier League.

That would be a remarkable achievement but one that needs to be underpinned by investing in the infrastructure of the club, growing its popularity locally and internationally and developing as much off the field as on it.

Incredibly, Wrexham’s new owners are already well advanced in those processes, meaning next season’s League Two campaign will be hugely interesting to watch.

The fairytale of promotion will lead to a biting reality in League Two, but as we have seen, a team with finances, that is well organised on and off the pitch has an outstanding chance of success at League Two level, especially with three automatic promotion places, plus another available by the playoffs.

A team funded in Hollywood and built in North Wales, is set to shake up the Football League from next season.

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