Support our Nation today - please donate here

Wrexham well beaten but unbowed in friendly test against Chelsea

20 Jul 2023 4 minute read
Wrexham take on Chelsea at the Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Credit: S4C)

David Owens

It might not have been the result that anybody wanted, unless you were a Chelsea fan of course, but as far as tests are concerned Wrexham will feel like they’ve undergone quite the workout ahead of their return to the football league.

The eventual 5-0 scoreline may have been a little unfair on Phil Parkinson’s side; Premier League giants Chelsea scoring two goals in added on time, including the last kick of the game. However, the Wrexham boss would no doubt have been content with his side’s overall showing against a team who in the second half had three full England internationals on the pitch.

The gulf in class was there for all to see and the difference in truth was clinical finishing – Chelsea were, while on the occasions Wrexham threatened getting in behind Mauricio Pochettino’s side, they were wasteful.

On social media Wrexham fans were philosophical, while Chelsea fans couldn’t resist a little good-natured banter. Our favourite being the wag who commented: ‘That’s for Green Lantern’.

There were still many pluses to be taken from this first US friendly match – both on and off the pitch.

On the pitch it was minutes in the tank against the sorts of opposition any player at League Two level would love to test themselves, with every member of the match day squad getting a run out.

Off the pitch, the numbers interested in this match underlined how Wrexham fever has well and truly gripped the US – another chapter in an extraordinary story that shows no sign of ending anytime soon.

The game was a 50,000 sell out at the Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with what looked like a greater proportion of the crowd supporting Wrexham.

Tickets had been sold to fans from all 50 US states, while many travelled from abroad to attend the game.

Sports journalist Ben Jacobs posting on Twitter made this startling comparison.

For those not able to make it to the stadium, organisers said that the friendly match was being televised live to more than 100 countries, including on ESPN in the States.

In the UK more than 4,000 viewers stayed up into the wee small hours to watch S4C’s coverage of the game on the Sgorio YouTube channel.

If these bewildering statistics were a gif it would surely be that well-worn but ever popular image of that blond-haired bloke who blinks in disbelief.


Leading up to the game, there was a sizeable sideshow and a buzz surrounding the Wrexham fan park, most noticeably around the marquee that was mocked up to look like famed hostelry The Turf. Landlord Wayne Jones even turned up to pull some pints and sign autographs.

There was also a songbook of Wrexham chants put together by executive director Humphrey Ker for those US fans new to the club being distributed for supporters to swot up on.

With the first trailer for season 2 of Welcome To Wrexham aired ahead of the match and with games against LA Galaxy, Manchester United and Philadelphia Union to come, expect the Wrexham express to roll on relentlessly across the United States.

When co-owner McElhenney tweeted post-match: ‘Thank you ChelseaFC!!!! Hopefully we’ll see you again in 5 years or so :)’, nobody would actually bet against it happening.

Those dyed in the wool, long standing fans of Wrexham must spend their days in a constant state of gleeful bewilderment at their new normal.

Make no mistake with Rob and Ryan at the helm, you can only conclude this particular train is bound for glory.

Turf pub replica (Credit: Craig Jones, Wrexham AFC Fans)

Support our Nation today

For the price of a cup of coffee a month you can help us create an independent, not-for-profit, national news service for the people of Wales, by the people of Wales.

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Our Supporters

All information provided to Nation.Cymru will be handled sensitively and within the boundaries of the Data Protection Act 2018.