No Hollywood ending for Wrexham but does the Premier League beckon?

Wrexham bow out to Sheffield United in the FA Cup (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images)
Wrexham bow out to Sheffield United in the FA Cup (Photo by James Gill - Danehouse/Getty Images) /

The Cup dream may be over but can Wrexham realise the hopes of their owners and rise all the way to the Premier League?

Wrexham’s FA Cup hopes ended this week, but Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney see the Premier League as a realistic target in the coming years. Reynolds recently told ESPN:

"We want to walk the walk, even as a fifth-tier club. We say this all the time, but we want to be in the Premier League, as crazy as that sounds to some people.“If it is theoretically possible to go from the fifth tier in professional football all the way to the Premier League, why wouldn’t we do that? Why wouldn’t we use our last drop of blood to get there? We’re in it for the ride. This is a multi-decade project.”"

Wrexham are currently jockeying with Notts County for top spot in the National League (the fifth tier in English football) but can point to the previous exploits of Dave Whelan’s Wigan Athletic for inspiration for the future. Wigan rose from the fourth tier to the Premier League in just nine seasons between 1996/97 and 2004/05, making big money signings such as Jason Roberts and Geoff Horsfield along the way. The Red Dragons of Wrexham are building an even more impressive infrastructure both on and off the field and, though it is still early days, are well-positioned to emulate this feat.

To read more about Wrexham’s monumental rise, click here.

Player-wise they encouraged the likes of striker Paul Mullin to drop a division to play for them when he bought into the project and signed in July 2021. Mullin was a central figure in this year’s cup run in both the initial 3-3 draw and ill-fated 4th round replay against Championship outfit Sheffield United. It has been widely reported that Mullin, along with other players such as Ben Tozer and Aaron Hayden, earn salaries more akin to EFL clubs and if they do clinch a promotion to Sky Bet League Two, the club will likely be even more proactive in enticing top players to North Wales as they aim to climb the league.

But it is off the field where the foundations seem strongest.

Since taking over the club in February 2020, Reynolds and McElhenney have invested heavily into the third oldest professional football team in the world and have a ‘brilliant’ relationship with the fans and city. Having been granted freedom of Wrexham in December 2022, they’ve seen home attendances steadily climb, recently topping 10,000 on Boxing Day 2022. A new stand is currently being developed which will allow for 15,000+, which is significantly bigger than the capacity at Bournemouth and closes in on the likes of Brentford in their new Community Stadium.

The rise of Wrexham has been a marketing dream. Following the development of the Netflix documentary ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ its appeal has spread across to North America with ESPN now showing live matches and the club’s social media channels topping 1.5 million. Global shirt sales have exceeded 24,000 this season and to further their brand, the club have been lined-up to take part in a winner takes all $1million 7-a-side tournament in the USA in June 2023.

It’s Superbowl weekend and all eyes will be on Arizona in the largest sporting event of them all. But the Wrexham project isn’t going away anytime soon and for a UK-based club, the merging of sport and entertainment has never been bigger.