Wrexham have picked up thousands of new fans since Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney completed a takeover of the club – but they haven’t forgot about long-term supporters
Wrexham’s growing army of USA fans will be out in force this week as the newly promoted EFL club embark on a prestigious tour on the other side of the Atlantic.
Instead of friendlies against the likes of local rivals Chester, Tranmere and Shrewsbury, it’s Chelsea in North Carolina and Manchester United in San Diego. That’s what the Hollywood backed ‘Welcome To Wrexham’ documentary has done for the North Wales club’s profile, with Wrexham shirts outselling replica outfits of many Premier League sides in some North American cities.
Some of Wrexham’s newly acquired fans have made the pilgrimage to their Racecourse Ground. Now many of them will see Phil Parkinson’s side, who ended a 15-year exile from the EFL with National League promotion, at close quarters in their own country.
“Obviously these games [Wrexham also face LA Galaxy and Philadelphia Union] are at a different level in terms of the expected attendances compared to a normal pre-season friendly schedule,” admitted Parkinson.
“It means that we have been working hard to make certain we go there in the best possible shape. It’s also a huge step for this club to be back in the EFL and that means the hard graft has to continue.
“We are a hard working group of lads who are representing a working-class city and we never lose sight of that. Hunger and desire can always take you a long way.”
Tinseltown owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney brought former Sunderland and Bolton boss Parkinson to the club two years ago. And due to the documentary and the club’s A-lister backers, it’s been full on for 55-year-old Parkinson ever since the walked through the door. “It’s been an amazing journey,” he added.
“Now it’s a case of taking another step forward because having gone up a level into League Two we know it’s going to be tougher but I also know that the players retain a real work ethic. It’s also about being humble as a group and never getting beyond ourselves. Yes there is a Hollywood aspect about the club but when we work we really work.”
Unlike the end of season celebrations at finishing on top of the National League in an all expenses paid knees up in Las Vegas, the latest trip to the USA is pure business only.
“We are looking forward to meeting some of our American supporters and want to put in performances which makes them proud,” Parkinson said. “Opportunities like these don’t come along too often so you have to make them count, especially with the new season in mind.”
And with Wrexham clear favourites at 7-2 to end up as League Two champions and odds on to be promoted, the expectancy levels surrounding the club show no signs of easing.
Their first round Carabao Cup game against League One Wigan has also been selected for live TV. “At least we are used to being in the spotlight and it will be no different in the USA.” Parkinson stated.