Wrexham secure promotion ahead of elated owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhinney

Racecourse, Wrexham (CNN) Wrexham lovers He will probably sing at night, serenade them Famous owners In the process, because the upgrade waiting is finally over.

On a raucous evening at the Racecourse, and with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhinney – the actors who have transformed the club since their 2021 takeover – on the field, Wrexham secured promotion to the Football League after an absence of 15 years.

“I’m not sure I can really process what happened tonight, I’m still a little speechless,” Reynolds told reporters after the game.

“One thing that goes through my head over and over again was in the beginning, people said ‘why Wrexham, why Wrexham’; that’s exactly why Wrexham, what’s happening now, is why.”

As soon as the referee blew his whistle, it sealed a 3-1 win against promotion chasing Boreham Wood, thousands of fans raced onto the pitch, the winning players disappeared into the red haze as the fans lit the banners, waved the banners, and lost themselves in the moment. Television cameras showed McElhinney shedding tears.

“I think we can hear how the city feels and that’s what’s most important to us – I think this is a cathartic moment for them,” said McElhinney.

“For us to be welcomed into their community and to be welcomed into this experience was the moment of my life.”

He added that the team’s striker, Paul Mullen, was “one of the greatest footballers in the world”.

Rob McIlhenny and Ryan Reynolds celebrate the trophy on the field.

It will be said that this was a tale made in Hollywood, but the truth is that the story has always been here, waiting for Hollywood. Saved from the brink by its fans, the historic small town club, once in the upper tiers of the English football league system only to join the National League, has its fortunes declined on and off the field.

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But then came Reynolds and McIlhenny and Hollywood did their best, adding star dust and hoping to create a magical conclusion to what is the end of the chapter, not the story.

Next season, Wrexham will compete in the Second Division, the fourth tier of English football. Three more promotions and you’ll be in the Premier League; Easy to write, much harder to achieve.

A team with global appeal

Hours before kick-off, trumpets and fans singing could be heard near the stadium. Atmosphere building for launch which was moved to later in the day so it could be broadcast live on television.

There was no mistaking the significance of the occasion: victory and the championship would be Wrexham’s first promotion since being relegated to the National League in April 2008.

But the team has been here before and failed. There was optimism – this team have only lost three times this campaign and dropped just two points at home – but there was also some uncertainty. Seeds of doubt are hard to shake after years of failure.

Fans descended on the city in droves, hotels were booked for the night, bars were packed, and movie stars were present too, as is so often the case these days.

Wrexham fans celebrate on the pitch after the club won the title.

Reynolds and McElhinney were accompanied to this promotion-clinching match by Paul Rudd, the star of Marvel’s Ant-Man.

He was photographed at the Turf, a down-to-earth pub, before the game, and is the latest Hollywood star to visit the bar regularly appearing in “Welcome to Wrexham” – a Disney+ documentary that follows the cast’s first season.

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Lifelong fans often shake their heads in disbelief when asked about the impact owners and their displays have had on club and city. This Welsh city is now globally recognized as a source of amusement and amazement.

The documentary seems to have captured the imagination of many, as Americans in particular seem to have fallen in love with a club that is the beating heart of its community.

New Wrexham fans from Ohio, Los Angeles, Washington and Arizona have come to Wales this week. Some had tickets, others just wanted to be in town to see for themselves what they saw on TV.

The club’s worldwide appeal can be measured by merchandise sales, of which 80% this season have been in global sales, the club says. By December the club had sold out shirts – 24,000 home, away and away shirts had been cut. It is unprecedented. Needless to say, an even greater demand has been placed for the next season.

Wrexham went 1-0 down after the first minute but came back to win.

What’s next for Wrexham? Competition in League Two would be tougher, but the goal – promotion to League One – could arguably be an easier challenge than the one the club faced this season with three teams automatically promoted from League Two, rather than an automatic promotion. On display in the National League.

In Phil Parkinson, in charge of the team since the summer of 2021, the club already has an experienced manager, who now has four promotions in his career, as well as several players who are already used to playing in the Football League.

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“It’s a huge moment for this football club – from the owners all the way down to the fans who have followed this club over the last 15 years through some really tough times, and I’m thrilled for every single one of them,” said Parkinson.

A star forward who was integral to the team’s comeback, Mullen will likely be a key player next season as well. He scored two goals, the first of which was an own curling effort that put the home team ahead 2-1 and the 71st-minute goal that secured the victory sparked wild celebrations.

“All the shenanigans that come with playing for Wrexham – to deal with it the way we have and obviously come back from bottom tonight is unbelievable and we love what we’ve done,” he said.

“The fans deserve this – I think after the first minute, they all feared the worst but you know, we stick together… no matter what is thrown at us.”

Records broken this season – with a game to go, the club has already broken the record for most goals and points in National League history – suggest Wrexham will be more than competitive next season.

When Reynolds and McElhinney took ownership of the club in February 2021, few could have imagined the impact the pair would have. The story and the dream go on.

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