FA Cup: Wrexham, controlled by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, hopes to write the next page

There is an issue with the club shop at the Racecourse Ground two days before Wrexham’s biggest FA Cup match in years.

Customers hoping to purchase the non-league team’s home jersey for Sunday’s fourth-round matchup with Championship side Sheffield United are walking away empty-handed.

Since last summer, 8,000 red jerseys have been sold, with many going to locations across Canada and the US.

There are currently none left due to a supply-side problem.

Since the surprise takeover of the north Wales club by Hollywood celebrities Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney two years ago, the squad from the fifth-tier National League has gained significant media attention.

With millions of Americans watching the popular series Welcome to Wrexham, the duo brought a video team to capture their first full season in charge.

The north Wales club, which was on the verge of extinction as recently as 2011, has gained a legion of North American supporters as a result, and a follow-up series is scheduled to debut later in 2023.

The second series needs to be as entertaining as possible, says Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson to BBC Sport.

“Our FA Cup run alone has had a few good episodes,” the author said.

How to watch the fourth round of the FA Cup on BBC
In the aftermath of Wrexham’s FA Cup victory over Coventry on January 7, 2023, midfielder Elliot Lee gives his shirt to a young supporter.
We’re in love with Wrexham, says a young fan after Wrexham’s unexpected FA Cup victory at Championship team Coventry on January 7.
The effectiveness of Welcome to Wrexham may be shown by taking a look at the visitor’s register inside the club shop, which is located behind the main stand.

Pages of signatures from cities including Texas, Phoenix, Indianapolis, and Toronto are included.

After watching the documentary, which details the lives of Wrexham’s players and staff after the high-profile takeover, Parkinson frequently finds himself introducing Americans to supporters outside the Racecourse.

To send the players off for the midweek match at Gateshead, which Parkinson’s team won 3-0 to move three points ahead atop the league, Paulina and Tanner Weeks were present at the stadium on Monday afternoon.

The pair saw Welcome to Wrexham and then drove 4,300 miles from Little Rock, Arkansas.

Tanner remarked, “We fell in love with the story.

Paulina tacked on “Without the documentary, we would have no idea what Wrexham is like. We became admirers for just this reason.”

The footballer Jordan Davies and his partner Kelsey’s experience losing their son is the subject of one episode. Since then, the couple has revealed they are having a girl.

In addition, Paulina said, “Thanks to Welcome to Wrexham, I feel like I know all the players.” “I started rooting for them.

“Rob and Ryan have shown their support for Wrexham, and they have given us the chance to do the same. Although we have a few days before we return home, we are already organizing our trip.”

Parkinson, who was appointed in July 2021, claimed that greeting American fans had become a requirement of the position.

“It frequently occurs when we return from training. People are snapping photos, “Added he. “I’ve talked to people who have traveled from all around. It’s obvious that viewers liked the documentary.”

At Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground are Paulina and Tanner Weeks, who are from Arkansas.
After viewing the Welcome to Wrexham Pub, a popular tourist attraction, Tanner and Paulina Weeks made the trip from Arkansas to the Racecourse Ground.
The Turf Hotel, the structure where Wrexham were founded in 1864, is located on one of the Racecourse’s corners.

The Mold Road bar has always been a favorite gathering spot for supporters before games.

But more recently, since the appearance of landlord Wayne Jones in the film Welcome to Wrexham, it has developed into an odd tourist destination, receiving up to 30 foreign tourists each day.

Reynolds, the actor of Deadpool, and McElhenney, the star and creator of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, are shown sipping drinks at the bar after arriving from their base in the United States in scenes filmed inside the Turf.

Reminiscences of Wrexham abound throughout the structure.

On one wall is a picture of Mickey Thomas’ well-known free-kick goal against Arsenal in the FA Cup in 1992.

There are mentions of the club’s participation in the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1975–1976 and their victory over Porto in the same competition in 1984.

The Turf and the football team have developed into stand-alone tourist destinations, according to Joe Bickerton, destination manager for Wrexham County Borough Council.

The town of Wrexham has become a city since the first episode of Welcome to Wrexham broadcast in August. The King and the Queen Consort visited the region in December and made a stop at the Racecourse Ground.

Bickerton further said “We get inquiries regarding the football team every day.

“We just welcomed a couple from Ohio, and we’ve had visitors from New York and Los Angeles inform us that they had seen Wrexham banners in their neighborhood. It’s amazing. Such marketing is invaluable.”

The Turf hotel’s landlord is Wayne Jones.
Wayne Jones, the Turf’s landlord, helped turn it into a popular tourist destination. Since Reynolds and McElhenney joined the team, Wrexham’s social media presence has grown significantly. For example, their Twitter following increased from 79,500 in February 2021 to 320,200 this month.

Before the start of 2022–23, 6,820 season tickets had been sold. They made 2,609 sales three years ago.

The co-owners made an immediate £2 million investment after taking over, and their ambition was evident in a number of prominent hires, including club captain Ben Tozer, who transferred from Cheltenham Town and plummeted two leagues.

However, because of Wrexham’s recent surge in popularity, purchasing tickets for home games has grown challenging.

Sell-out audiences of 10,000 have become the norm, and it is anticipated that this trend will continue even once the Kop, the venue’s oldest section, has undergone renovations to increase capacity to 15,500.

Adam Phillips, a longtime Wrexham supporter who brought his newborn daughter, now eight, straight from the hospital to the Racecourse Ground, stated, “Every new fan is a welcome fan.” At six hours old, she was.

“The community is confident, and long may it be thus.

“Rob and Ryan are sincere, that much is clear. Yes, they are businesspeople that want to succeed financially, but I couldn’t care less how much they earn. Times like these are exciting.”

Tanwen Phillips, Adam Phillips’ infant daughter, is shown standing in the center circle at Racecourse Grounds.
Tanwen Y Gaeaf, Adam Phillips’ newborn daughter, and him on the Racecourse Ground pitch.
Reynolds and McElhenney are active members of the community and frequently give money to Wrexham charities.

Parkinson, who oversaw League Two Bradford City’s remarkable journey to the League Cup final ten years ago and probably the biggest FA Cup upset when the Bantams defeated Chelsea 4-2 at Stamford Bridge in round four of 2015, said, “The owners have raised the entire area.”

Although advancement is the ultimate goal, it’s wonderful to be a part of the city’s positive atmosphere.

Regarding his interaction with the other proprietors, Parkinson said: “They take an active interest in everything that occurs. They eat lunch at the stadium with the players and personnel while they are over here.

“Ryan or Rob will call them if we sign a player or someone gets hurt.”

The fans are confident that they can overcome a team from three levels above in front of the live BBC One cameras after beating Coventry City in the last round of the FA Cup.

Even if Wrexham lose to Sheffield United, their supporters are content with life with their Hollywood owners.

Phillips continued, “We’re enjoying a hell of a ride.

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