Wrexham seal long-awaited Football League return in front of Hollywood owners

Wrexham 3-1 Boreham Wood: Paul Mullin scored twice as the Welsh club returned to League Two after 15 years

Lawrence Ostlere
Saturday 22 April 2023 22:24 BST
Wrexham fans flood the pitch after historic 3-1 win over Boreham Wood

Hollywood glamour graced the sell-out stadium in Wrexham on Saturday night as the team secured their long-awaited return to the Football League, cheered on by their A-list star owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Star striker Paul Mullin scored twice as the Welsh team made a classy comeback to beat Boreham Wood and seal the National League title with a game to spare, and with it promotion to the EFL’s League Two after 15 years.

The ailing club were bought for £2m by the actors Reynolds and McElhenney in November 2020, who set about raising the profile of both the team and the city of Wrexham.

The Hollywood duo have embraced a sport they knew little about, regularly flying from the United States to attend non-league matches at the Racecourse Ground, and meeting and drinking with fans in The Turf pub over the road. Their profile has encouraged global brands TikTok and Expedia to sponsor the club and brought tourists to Wrexham from all over the world.

Rob McElhenney, left, and Ryan Reynolds celebrate (Getty Images)

On the pitch, luxury signings like Mullin and former Premier League goalkeeper Ben Foster have elevated the club to challenge at the top of the division, and after just falling short of promotion last season – a disappointment detailed in the documentary series Welcome To Wrexham – the team edged out Notts County this time around to secure the title.

Reynolds and McElhenney – who were joined by the fellow US actor Paul Rudd watching on – sang along to refrains of “We are going up!” with supporters in the closing minutes, and they were in tears at the final whistle as fans invaded the pitch in celebration.

“I’m not sure I can process what happened tonight, I’m still a little speechless,” said Reynolds. “Boreham Wood showed up today, they’re an incredible team and they have one of the best defences in the entire league and they showed us that all night long. Huge credit to Boreham Wood.

Paul Mullin after scoring the second goal for Wrexham (PA)

“Also this entire story, why it’s been so good is because Notts County is so damn good. They deserve to go up. We’re rooting for Notts County we want to see them go up as well.”

Co-owner McElhenney added: “I think we can hear how it feels to this town and that’s the most important thing for us. For us to be welcomed into their community and to be welcomed into this experience has been the honour of my life.”

Mullin praised his “unbelievable” teammates for handling the pressure put on them. “The character we’ve shown this season has been phenomenal at times and that epitomises it tonight,” he told BT Sport after the game. “We’ve had a long time in this divison and the fans deserve this day.

“I think after the first minute they were all fearing the worst but this group, we stick together. We have done all season, from the media and everywhere else, all the shenanigans that come with playing for Wrexham, to deal with it the way we have and to come from one goal down tonight it’s unbelievable.

“We knew that Boreham Wood were going to be a tough team to beat and when they went one up we thought it could be even harder but the players we’ve got and the chances we can create are unbelievable. We’re just over the moon to get over the line. We’ve come here as favourites and were expected to go up but that makes it even more special when you do it.”

Formed in 1864, Wrexham is the oldest club in Wales and the third oldest professional football team in the world. The club spent 15 consecutive seasons in the National League – the fifth division of the English football system.

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