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How Hollywood stars returned Welsh football club Wrexham to its former glory

Ryan Reynolds

Wrexham, a Welsh football club founded in 1864 – one of the oldest football clubs in the world – was down and out of the main football leagues until Saturday, when the hard work of the team, managers, fans and new Hollywood owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, returned Wrexham to its rightful place in the English Premier league, sending the community into an unbridled frenzy of joy.

Until recently, the world was largely unaware of the struggles Wrexham Football Club faced. That is, until 2020, when the club was subject to a takeover bid by Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who were looking to invest in the club and take it to new heights. The takeover was completed in February 2021, and since then, the club had been preparing to improve its facilities and compete at a higher level.

Wrexham was propelled to fame when Disney slated a behind-the-scenes sporting series, an increasingly popular genre, this time following the trials and tribulations of the Welsh community and its football club, and the new owners, American Hollywood stars with no prior experience, and their adaptation to Wrexham and to the business of football.

In 1877, the club became one of the founding members of the Welsh Football League, which was one of the earliest football leagues in the world. Over the years, Wrexham played in various leagues, including the Northern Premier League, the Alliance Premier League, and the Football League.

One of the most memorable moments in Wrexham’s history occurred in 1992 when they defeated Arsenal in the FA Cup third round. The game, which was played at Wrexham’s home ground, Racecourse Ground, ended in a 2-1 victory for the Welsh side. The win was considered one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition, as Arsenal was one of the top teams in the English Premier League at the time.

In the late 2000s, Wrexham experienced financial difficulties, and in 2011, the club was taken over by the Wrexham Supporters Trust, a fan-owned organization. Under the trust’s ownership, the club continued to compete in various leagues, including the National League, and enjoyed some success on the field.

Wrexham AFC had a long and rich history before hitting hard times, the club suffering alongside its hometown. Wrexham, the largest town located in North Wales and the fourth-largest urban area in Wales, with a population of around 65,000 people, has a rich history, dating back to the Roman era. In the Middle Ages, Wrexham became an important market town, known for its wool trade and cattle markets. In the 19th century, Wrexham experienced significant growth due to the industrial revolution, with coal mining, brickmaking, and brewing among its main industries. Since then, the mines and steel factories closed, and the market and the town lost its prominence.

Much like its football team, the town is experiencing a remarkable comeback. Partly thanks to Wrexham AFC fans, famously loyal supporters and in large part, to its new owners. The club plays its home games at the Racecourse Ground, which is the oldest international stadium in the world and on Saturday made their fans and owners proud.

As the club geared up for one of its biggest sporting weekends in history, the town witnessed a US tourism boom as more Hollywood actors and their fans poured into the otherwise obscure Welsh town. Megastars watched Wrexham’s big victory against Boreham Wood at home, beating them by 3 to 1, winning the Welsh National League title, and propelling Wrexham back to the English Football League after a 15-year absence.

In just two years, the Hollywood duo saved more than just a football club and are firmly welcome in Wales. Beyond the needed capital injection, commentators spoke of the humility Hollywood showed them, and the attention and respect they paid to the community. Wrexham’s Hollywood success story is hopefully just beginning.

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