Wrexham Celebrate Second Successive Promotion of the Ryan Reynolds Era

Andy Cannon of Wrexham celebrates his goal to make it 3-0 Wrexham, during the Sky Bet League 2 match Wrexham vs Crawley Town at SToK Cae Ras, Wrexham, United Kingdom, 9th April 2024 (Photo by Cody Froggatt/News Images)

It’s true that money talks at the lower levels of football in particular.

But there’s been plenty with deep cash reserves over the years that haven’t gone on to achieve great success, so it’s hats off to Phil Parkinson and all his staff at Wrexham FC.

They have made the most of the Hollywood fortunes of club owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to secure back-to-back promotions for the Red Dragons, who will now play in the third tier of English football for the first time in more than 40 years.

Cause for Celebration

According to reports and social media posts, Wrexham players enjoyed a fine time of things as they celebrated the 6-0 victory over Forest Green that saw them secure automatic promotion to League One.

The betting online makes it a 25/1 chance that Wrexham go on to win the title, such is the supremacy of 1/40 favourites Stockport. But it could still be possible that Parkinson & Co go on to lift the trophy.

Either way, promotion is a remarkable achievement in itself, because for all the financial heft supplied by Reynolds and McElhenney, you still have to fashion a team that can go on and collect the 80+ points required to secure ascension.

Paul Mullin and Elliot Lee have led the way in front of goal, while the likes of Ben Tozer, James McClean, and Ollie Palmer have also been vital to the Welsh side’s rise.

Elliot Lee of Wrexham, during the Sky Bet League 2 match Wrexham vs Crawley Town at SToK Cae Ras, Wrexham, United Kingdom, 9th April 2024
(Photo by Cody Froggatt/News Images)

It will be interesting to see if this group of players is retained in League One, where the uptick in quality is far greater than the gulf between the National League and League Two. Next season, Wrexham could be taking on the likes of Derby County, Portsmouth, Barnsley, Bolton, and Peterborough United – an obvious step up in class.

For now, all involved at the Red Dragons can celebrate another successful season. Reynolds took to X to admit to “crying tears of joy” at his club’s thrashing of Forest Green. You wonder if there will be similar emotions experienced next term, too.

In Exile

Will Evans of Newport County scores to make it 2-2 during the Emirates FA Cup Fourth Round match Newport County vs Manchester United at Rodney Parade, Newport, United Kingdom, 28th January 2024
(Photo by Craig Thomas/News Images)

As for Newport County, Wales’ other representatives in League Two, it’s a season of what might have been.

They will ultimately finish the 2023/24 campaign safe from relegation, but that includes a spell between late March and mid-April in which they lost six consecutive games.

Without such a barren spell, the Exiles would have been looking at a top-half finish – a fantastic achievement in a division featuring clubs with considerably more resources than them.

From the start of January to mid-March, Newport’s formline read W8 D1 L4 – the sort of progress that even Wrexham themselves would be pleased of. If Graham Coughlan’s men can extend that sort of form over a longer period, they could become a serious player in League Two.

‘Newport County’ – Owain Vaughan via Wikimedia (Creative Commons 2.0)

Key to those long-term ambitions will be keeping hold of Will Evans, the 26-year-old forward snapped up from Bala Town. He’s rattled in 18 goals during the 2023/24 campaign with a few more games to go – Evans is very much the jewel in Newport’s crown right now.

If they can keep him, will the Exiles be celebrating promotion in April 2025 in the same manner as Wrexham?