Welcome to Wrexham is #PRgoals

23rd April 2024 by Kate Logan

It’s the football story that continues to enthral us.

The first two series of ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ have been fascinating to watch. And series three is in no doubt now as Wrexham has just secured promotion to League One – its second promotion in as many seasons.

It’s also scored priceless positive PR for a football club that’s been rescued by its bootstraps more than once.

If you’re not familiar with the Disney+ documentary, it’s a behind the scenes look at the Hollywood takeover of Welsh non-league club Wrexham AFC.

Led by American actor Robert McElhenney, who somehow managed to persuade Deadpool himself, Ryan Reynolds, a Canadian, to become his business partner, the programme, so far, follows their first two seasons as owners.

While still learning the offside rule and, perhaps most importantly, what football means to the fans in this passionate north east corner of Wales, the pair slowly begin to appreciate the realities of running a football club.

It’s a story like no other. While American takeovers and documentaries on streaming channels are nothing new to the Premier League, at this level (Wrexham were initially playing in the fifth tier), they are both highly unusual. 

The documentary delves into the new owners’ motivation, day to day tribulations, fan dedication, and local fascination around what has been a bizarre but thrilling event in football history.

It also covers their investment across the club, including in the women’s team, who have also deservedly received promotion to the Adran Premier, the top tier of Welsh women’s football.

Satisfying our need to see the headlining new owners, the film crew also takes us on a journey with the fans, like The Turf landlord Wayne Jones and likeable yet outspoken painter and decorator Shaun. For fans like Wayne and Shaun the football club really is life. Shaun hates his job and, when we first meet him, has recently split with his partner, yet football gives him hope, every weekend. And while too often in the past that hope led to disappointment, it occasionally leads to unbridled, intoxicating joy. It’s a familiar rush that keeps sports fans coming back for more every week, and it’s captured eloquently in the series by Wrexham’s loyal supporters.

This takeover had been about the best PR it’s possible to get for a football club. But there’s a bigger and even more heart-warming story that Welcome to Wrexham brought into focus. It’s put real people in the spotlight, and we’ve all fallen a bit in love with this story, and their stories. This town and its community are rightly central to the tale and the global interest has given the local economy a huge boost.

And it seems the only way is up for Wrexham. So far, we’ve watched the new owners navigate their first two seasons, triumphantly culminating in the team’s epic promotion to League Two. No mean feat after languishing in the National League for 15 seasons.

Wrexham is back on the football map and, having started my journalism career in the town (which received city status in 2022 too), I couldn’t be happier. I once witnessed a crucial victory in the club’s history, having covered the Court of Appeal case in London that was featured in the “Hamilton” episode of the documentary as a young reporter at the Wrexham Leader. While that made headline news at the time, it still felt the club was battling for all its worth. This feels so different. Wrexham AFC is on the up and we’re all invited along for the ride.

I’ve found myself checking Wrexham’s scores and the League One table every week this past season and I’d wager I’m not the only one. Wouldn’t it be the story of the century if a future series of Welcome to Wrexham featured their promotion to the Premier League? Now that really would be priceless.

Photo by Paul Schnürle on Unsplash

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