Wrexham prepare for life in the Football League
Wrexham may have just ended a 15-year exile from the Football League but the work is only just beginning for celebrity owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds. The Hollywood actors have revolutionised the North Wales club since completing a takeover in February 2021, finishing this season as National League champions with a record 111 points.
Investment on the pitch has been key to the Red Dragons’ uplift in success. The financial ability to convince established EFL players like Paul Mullin and Ben Tozer to step down to the National League has been key in helping to turn Phil Parkinson’s side into a promotion-winning machine.
And work off the pitch is also evident, with the Racecourse Ground’s famous old Kop end standing terrace, which was closed for safety reasons back in 2008, finally knocked down to make way for a new 5,500 all-seater grandstand, that is expected to be ready in time for the start of the 2024/25 season.
But being the boss of non-league football and progressing through the divisions of the EFL are two very different things and co-owner McElhenney is mindful that the club must now find a way to ensure that they can continue to be upwardly mobile, without the necessity to just a spend their way to success – a risky model that could change for the worse at any moment and act as a warning to any future owners of the club.
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Speaking on the Fearless in Devotion podcast, McElhenney said: “From the beginning, we’ve been talking about what our short-term strategy is and what our long-term strategy is because we’ve always said we want to build a sustainable business.
“We look at the entire club as a massive investment – an investment in the club, town and future. And neither one of us wants to put ourselves or the club in a position where any one of us are just writing cheques to keep the business of the club afloat.
“Everything we’ve done since we’ve come in is to ensure no matter who comes in – and hopefully it’s us for the rest of our lives – we are building a sustainable business. Whatever that might mean in the future, who’s to say?”
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The club and its owners have enjoyed being in the limelight recently following their on-field success and the adulation that it brings, but McElhenney’s business partner Reynolds insists that there is no chance of the pair losing interest in their project as they knuckle down to the job of making the club self-sufficient.
He said: “I find it fascinating there are people who assume this could ever be boring in any stretch of the imagination. We don’t pretend it’s just salad days ahead. It’s a journey. It’s making sure that no matter what we do as stewards of this club we are avoiding stasis or backtracking at all cost.
“That can sometimes happen, at least from when I’ve observed other clubs, you can get in this cycle where you’re just keeping your head above water.
“So we always want to be on that inexorable march forward, not just as a club but as a community, and Rob and I love Wrexham about as much as two human beings could love anything on this planet.”
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