What next for Wrexham after winning the National League
Is winning the National League the start of something really big for Wrexham?
Hollywood actors and co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have said their dream is to take Wrexham into the Premier League, but can it really be done?
Here, Phil Blanche examines what makes the story so special and what comes next for the Red Dragons.
Wrexham Is The Name
WE ARE CHAMPIONS!
AFTER 15 YEARS, WE ARE BACK IN THE FOOTBALL LEAGUE!
🔴⚪️ #WxmAFC pic.twitter.com/8crPfDlwqs
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) April 22, 2023
The club’s anthem proudly declares ‘Wrexham Is The Name’ and there is no doubt The Red Dragons have a rich history.
Formed in 1864, Wrexham are the oldest club in Wales and the third oldest professional football team in the world.
Wrexham have won the Welsh Cup a record 23 times and regularly represented Wales in the now-defunct European Cup Winners’ Cup, beating the likes of Porto and FC Zurich and playing against Anderlecht and Manchester United.
Are the owners ambitious?
You bet. What many considered a publicity stunt at first with Reynolds and McElhenney starring in a documentary series about them taking over the club from the Wrexham Supporters Trust has turned into something far bigger.
Reynolds said after Easter Monday’s victory over title rivals Notts County that he is “very hooked” on his involvement in football, and the two actors have immersed themselves not only in the club but the city of Wrexham itself.
The pair recently received the freedom of the borough of Wrexham and there is no pulling back from Reynolds’ declaration in October 2021 that they are determined to take the club into the Premier League.
How far can they go?
In short, probably a long way. Although Salford – Wrexham’s predecessors in the non-league publicity stakes under the part-ownership of Manchester United’s ‘Class of 92’ – have seen their rise stall in League Two in recent years, the Welsh club will be confident of making quicker progress.
Reynolds is among Hollywood stars who can command 20 million dollars per film and his business ventures, notably the sales of Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile, have seen his personal wealth skyrocket.
Deep pockets are needed for the Premier League but reaching the Championship should be achievable and, as history has shown in the past, anything is possible from there.
So expect more signings this summer?
Indeed. Reynolds and McElhenney have not been slow to open the cheque book and spend big – at least at National League level – on transfer fees and wages.
Ollie Palmer was a club record £300,000 signing from AFC Wimbledon and scoring sensation Paul Mullin turned his back on League One-bound Cambridge to sign for Wrexham.
More recruits will come this summer and former England goalkeeper Ben Foster, who was tempted out of retirement at the age of 40 to play a key role in the final weeks of the season, may also be persuaded to stay on.
Anything else to get excited about?
Plenty. Wrexham’s women’s team have been promoted into the top division in Wales while playing in front of record attendances for women’s football in the country.
Training facilities have been upgraded with a new performance gym, and work will start this summer on a 5,500-seat Kop Stand that will see the Racecourse Ground stage senior Wales internationals again.
Oh, and ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ season two will be out later this year with the eagerly-awaited documentary series covering the triumphant 2022-23 campaign.
Watch: The extraordinary scenes as Wrexham are promoted
Watch: The goals that fired Wrexham to promotion glory
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