Football commentators are often drawn to the insistence that: “You couldn’t write this script!” Yet, all too often, you really could have.
Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds – as has been well documented by now – have parsed over plenty of scripts as potently famous actors but have turned their hand to penning one in north Wales.
After a typically dramatic defeat in last year’s playoffs – where’s the jeopardy in succeeding without a struggle – Wrexham have belatedly returned to League Two at the culmination of the new ownership’s second full season. With ambitions fixed on taking this fairytale all the way to the Premier League, there are plenty more pages to write.
But before all that, how did the first chapter of this intriguing success story unfold?
Read more about Wrexham’s Hollywood story
In April, the club posted an unprecedented turnover of £6m. The figure only covered the first full season under the ownership of McElhenney and Reynolds (2021/22) and may well balloon when this year’s accounts are revealed next spring.
Boasting a golden underbelly, Wrexham have been able to lure players with ample Football League experience into the theoretically unprofessional fifth tier.
Since the start of last season, Wrexham have forked out roughly £320,000 on transfer fees – more than seven times the second-biggest spenders according to Transfermarkt. Yet, that figure doesn’t capture the exorbitant wage bill – inflated by the lucrative offers handed to third and fourth-tier players that joined for free – which would not look out of place in League Two.
Wrexham’s leading scorer Paul Mullin is thought to comfortably be the best-paid player in the National League. Across the last two seasons, the expensive striker has totted up 70 league goals on his own.
The squad has also enjoyed the Premier League-level perk of flying on a privately chartered jet to particularly long away games and rapidly improving physical recoveries with cryotherapy chambers – heady fantasies for most in England’s professional football pyramid, let alone non-League sides.
There may be a gaping hole at one end of the oldest international ground still in use but it has been a practically impenetrable fortress for Wrexham this season.
By coming from behind to beat Boreham Wood and secure promotion, Wrexham earned their 22nd home win of the season – out of just 23 league games. Only slipping up in a 2-2 draw with Woking on Valentine’s Day, Wrexham collected 67 of a possible 69 home points.
In front of the club’s fervent support, Wrexham totted up 74 goals, more than 20 teams in the fifth tier have managed at any venue this season.
Unquestionably the defining fixture of this enthralling National League season came at Wrexham’s famous Racecourse Ground on Easter Monday. Notts County have gone stride-for-stride with Wrexham in a brilliant jab-jab, thrust-thrust race for automatic promotion this season.
The lead at the top of the National League summit has changed hands between the two clubs a dizzying 14 times this season. Wrexham ultimately made the final move above Notts County with a riotous 3-2 victory over the Magpies on the bank holiday.
It was a bonkers contest in circumstances that have become commonplace under the current ownership.
Fittingly for a team owned by Hollywood stars and the subject of a TV show on Disney, Wrexham have carved out a number of a cinematic turnarounds this season.
Despite falling behind just 12 times all season – the joint-fewest of any club in England’s fifth tier – Wrexham have come back to win seven of these games, a tally no other National League team can better. The club’s promotion-sealing victory against Boreham Wood was only earned after Lee Ndlovu gave the visitors a lead inside 43 seconds.
In the same spirit, Wrexham know how to close out the show. Notts County may ultimately pip the Dragons in terms of overall goals scored, but Wrexham lead the National League for finding the net in the crucial final 15 minutes of matches.
The National League records book have been painted a distinct shade of Wrexham this season. Parkinson’s side have racked up an unprecedented triple-digit points tally, surpassing Crawley Town’s 105-strong haul in 2011/12.
With more than 103 goals pilfered this term, Wrexham also bettered the most prolific teams of fifth-tier seasons gone by, outstripping the glut accrued by Barnet in 1990/91 and Hereford United in 2003/04.
The story may just be starting but it has been an enrapturing watch so far.
On this edition of Talking Transfers, part of the 90min podcast network, Scott Saunders, Graeme Bailey & Toby Cudworth discuss a potential midfield merry-go-round this summer, Victor Osimhen’s chances of joining Chelsea, Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher’s futures, Harry Kane, Ilkay Gundogan, Ousmane Dembele & more!
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