Welcome to Wrexham: Best sporting moments from season one – from Hollywood to Wembley

The second season of the hugely popular sports documentary is set to be released on Disney+

Ben Fleming
Wednesday 13 September 2023 08:08 BST
Welcome to Wrexham season 2 trailer

The second season of Welcome to Wrexham is about to drop on Disney+, recounting the historic Welsh football club’s latest season under new Hollywood owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.

The new series follows on from the hugely successful debut season, which followed the Welsh club and its new owners as they go on a journey of football discovery in the fifth tier of the English football pyramid.

From new managers and record signings to playoff drama and a date with Wembley, here are seven of the best sporting moments from the first season of Welcome to Wrexham.

Reality check

Having bought the club in November 2020 for £2m, McElhenney and Reynolds had little time to get their feet under the table in the midst of a season. As the 2020/21 season reached its climax, Wrexham faced off in a season-defining fixture against Dagenham & Redbridge.

Needing a victory to reach the playoffs, the Red Dragons conceded early and were reduced to 10 men soon after with the sending off of Paul Rutherford. Despite a last-minute equaliser, the draw meant Wrexham fell painfully short of the playoffs and extended their stay in the National League.

New manager, new striker, new squad

Following the disappointing end to their first season as owners, the Hollywood duo rang the changes in the summer with manager Dean Keates dismissed along with a host of squad players.

Parkinson was appointed ahead of the 21/22 season

Former Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson was brought in to provide experience, while the club also agreed a deal with Cambridge United striker Paul Mullin, after the Liverpudlian surprisingly rejected a contract extension from Cambridge having scored a remarkable 32 goals in 46 games to fire his former club to an unlikely League Two promotion.

Hollywood comes to town

In November 2021, McElhenney and Reynolds were able to make their long-awaited first visit to Wrexham for a game as the Welsh side hosted Torquay United at the Racecourse in front of the adoring fans.

After a poor start to the season – winning just four of their opening 11 games – the Red Dragons went a goal ahead after Harry Lennon’s early header but could only draw 1-1 after Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’s late equaliser for the visitors.

Dragons break their transfer record

As performances improved, Wrexham rose from 12th to 3rd by January. Later that month the new owners made their first sizeable financial outlay in the transfer market, bringing in AFC Wimbledon forward Ollie Palmer from the League One in a club-record deal of £300,000.

Palmer signed from AFC Wimbledon

Eleven-goal epic

As Wrexham approached the business end of the season, Parkison’s side continued their good form as they looked to mount an unlikely bid for the title. Facing off against bottom-of-the-table Dover Athletic, they were quickly 2-0 up inside 20 minutes but capitulated, conceding five unanswered goals to fall 5-2 behind shortly after 60 minutes.

However, in a last 30 minutes befitting of a Hollywood script, Wrexham mounted a superb comeback as a brace from Palmer – followed by Jordan Davies’s two stoppage-time goals – secured a dramatic 6-5 victory to keep faint hopes of the title alive.

Day out at Wembley

Alongside their league form, Wrexham reached the final of the FA Trophy, held at the iconic Wembley Stadium. Having fallen short to eventual champions Stockport County in the league, the Red Dragons enjoyed a day out at Wembley before their playoff semi-final against Grimsby Town.

The stars came out for Wrexham’s first visit to Wembley under new ownership

The owners flew in – joined by a host of A-list celebrities – but the day ultimately ended in a crushing defeat as Michael Cheek’s goal secured a 1-0 win for Bromley in front of 46,000 fans.

Playoff heartbreak

A week after their Wembley defeat, Wrexham welcomed Grimsby Town to the Racecourse Ground for the must-win playoff semi-final. After a topsy-turvy encounter, Davies’s late goal sent the game to extra-time at 4-4 but the Red Dragons eventually fell to a heartbreaking late defeat as Luke Waterfall scored in the final minute of extra-time to secure a 5-4 win for Grimsby, who would eventually go on to win the playoffs.

The defeat meant Wrexham remained in the National League, despite their second-place league finish, and extended their agonising wait for a return to the Football League.

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