Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Ryan Reynolds heads out for Hollywood after ending with Wrexham


WREXHAM, WALES – SPOILER ALERT! Season 2 of “Welcome to Wrexham” is set to deliver the Hollywood ending that the first one failed to deliver.

This being Wrexham, though, the question of a last-minute plot is not out.

It’s hard to imagine that the A-list owners of the Welsh football team, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, could have anticipated the edge-of-your-seat, unscripted spectacle created by this unlikely union.

“It was the most dramatic thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Reynolds said after a 3–2 win over Notts County. “I’ll never be the same again.”

When Tinseltown met a former mining town in Wales, sparks flew. And even if Reynolds and McIlhenney recognized the entertainment value of a fly-on-the-wall documentary about a historic but down-on-their-luck soccer team that tugs at the ropes of sports club ownership played by two actors learning to play, the final product probably exceeded all expectations.

That is, on-field success apart, the pair look to deliver in 2021 after completing their $2.5 million acquisition.

A win at Boreham Wood on Saturday would secure the league title and, with it, automatic promotion to the fourth division of English soccer after a 15-year wait.

James Jones of Wrexham, left, celebrates with teammate Paul Mullin after scoring during the National League football match between Wrexham and Yeovil Town at Racecourse Ground, Wrexham, Wales, Tuesday, April 18, 2023. Credit: AP / John Super

Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson told the Associated Press, “The supporters have been in a lot of pain.” “We’ve got a great opportunity this week to get the job done. We know it’s not going to be easy, but it’s in our hands.”

A routine three point run on the Racecourse Ground on Saturday would feel almost too straightforward, given the wild ride Wrexham has had over the last two years.

The club, one of only five Welsh teams in the English football system, narrowly missed out on promotion the previous season after an exciting but heartbreaking 5–4 defeat to Grimsby in the play-offs. To make matters worse, Wrexham had finished the regular season 11 points and four places above Grimsby in the standings.

There was also anguish at the FA Trophy final at Wembley Stadium, when Reynolds and McElhenney watched from corporate seats with celebrity guests David Beckham, Will Ferrell and Jason Sudeikis as Bromley ruined their party with a 1–0 victory. Was.

Rob McElhenney visits The Turf pub next to Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground ahead of the National League football match between Wrexham and Yeovil Town on Tuesday, April 18, 2023 in Wrexham, Wales. It’s hard to imagine that even A-list execs Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney anticipated the unscripted drama created by this unlikely union between Tinseltown and a former mining town in Wales. Credit: AP / John Super

There have been other games that have rattled nerves and defied logic, such as the 6-5 win at Dover last season.

But perhaps nothing can compare to the Notts County game, which was effectively a title-decider, with both teams going into the match even at the top of the standings with 100 points and only the league champions guaranteed promotion. Was. In front of 10,000 fans at the Racecourse, Wrexham led 3–2 in extra time when the visitors were awarded a penalty and had the chance to score an equalizer which would have put them first on goal difference.

Flashback to a few weeks ago, when Parkinson sent a message to bosses about a retired former Manchester United goalkeeper who could be convinced to make a comeback.

It turned out to be the right call.

With 6 minutes, 28 seconds of stoppage time on the clock, 40-year-old Ben Foster leapt to his right to put away Cedwin Scott’s penalty kick, prompting wild celebrations on the field and in the crowd. In the executive seats, Reynolds and McElhenny celebrated.

Wrexham striker Ollie Palmer said, “If you wrote it in the script, people would put it in the bin and say it’s ridiculous.” “So maybe that’s what makes this documentary even better than the first one. That’s great. It’s been a wonderful time.

Season 2 is shaping up to be a redemption story.

There may be inherent entertainment in the failure of the team in the first season. And while there probably would have been an audience for a show about Reynolds and McElhenney, that didn’t feel like the project’s aim.

Reynolds’ growing attachment to Wrexham and soccer is one of the show’s enduring themes. After the Notts County match, the “Deadpool” star said he was grateful he took up the sport later in life as it “would have eaten me alive”.

His arrival alongside McElhenny has breathed new life into Wrexham’s team and its community, local characters and sites through worldwide exposure.

If the supporters, who have owned the team since 2011, needed convincing to be realistic to their celebrity owners, Parkinson, a respected manager, operated at a higher level than the fifth tier of the English game.

“I didn’t know Rob and Ryan personally. I didn’t know the reasons for buying the club,” Parkinson said. “They support what they say.

“I can’t wait to get over the finishing line for him. He deserves it. But, I’m sure he will resonate, more importantly for the supporters who have followed this club through some tough times.”

Leading scorer Paul Mullin was convinced to drop down a division to lead Wrexham’s push for promotion, while former AFC Wimbledon striker Palmer dropped two divisions.

“It was a big risk,” Palmer said. “I think at that time we were eighth or ninth in the league and everything was not as good as it is now. … A lot of people really thought it was the wrong decision.

No regrets now though.

Speaking about the second and third divisions in English soccer, Palmer said, “The atmosphere here at the week is incredible and it’s better than most League One clubs and better than a lot of Championship clubs.”

There is little sign of Reynolds and McElhenny losing interest in the near future. A new 5,000-seat stand is being built to increase the capacity of the Racecourse Ground to 15,000.

However, Parkinson doesn’t want to look too far ahead.

“This club has the potential to be anything,” said the manager, “but we have to be careful not to get too carried away with ourselves.”

Palmer is less protected.

“It cannot be denied that we should push for promotion (to the third division) if we go into League Two next season,” he added. “When I came here I said I wanted to bring back the club where I came from, which is League One. We’ve got a great team here. We’ve got a League One football team, you can’t hide from that. Next season if we make it to League Two, which I am sure we will, we will fight for promotion again.


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