Can AFC Wrexham secure promotion?


Casey Held

Before Ryan Reynolds purchased Welsh soccer club AFC Wrexham back in November of 2020, not many considered the possibility of promotion for the team. Now, AFC Wrexham are only four games away from that possibility becoming a reality.

Wrexham are the oldest team in Wales and the third oldest soccer team in the entire world. Although being located in Wales, Wrexham play in the English league system, which isn’t too uncommon. Wrexham have been playing in the fifth division of English soccer since 2008. Following some financial difficulties, Wrexham found it very difficult to compete with some of the clubs around them with stable financial situations. By the end of the 2019-2020 season, Wrexham found themselves in 20th place of the National League.

That was until in November of 2020, when Canadian-American Ryan Reynolds and American Rob McElhenney, who are both actors, decided to take ownership of the club. The two new owners were quick to make an impact at the club. A new TV show titled We Are Wrexham dropped in order to show the progression of the club and to document this new chapter of AFC Wrexham’s story. This brought an inundation of new fans to the club. The newfound support, along with the influx of money coming into the club from the owners meant that Wrexham were back in business. A few signings were brought along, who also had immediate impacts on the club. New signing Paul Mullin is the second highest scorer in the league this season. With 35 goals in only 42 games, Mullin is tearing up the league and has been a huge part of Wrexham’s success this season. As it stands now, Wrexham sit top of the table with four games left to play. In the National League, only the 1st place team secures automatic promotion, so it’s very important that Wrexham maintain that top spot.

Wrexham have been climbing up the table all season, and they just reached first place after winning their most important game of the season: a home game against Notts County. Going into the game, both teams were tied at 100 points. Whoever won the game would jump ahead of the other and take the first place position. With the game being so close to the end of the season, this could be a title-deciding game. Notts County took the lead just before halftime, but Wrexham pulled two goals back to flip the game on its head. Notts County would go on to score again, tying the game. That score didn’t remain for long, as Wrexham would score just three minutes later. This constant action would set the game up for a dramatic finish. And a dramatic finish certainly did ensue. Notts County received a penalty kick in the last minute of the game. This was a golden opportunity for Notts County to tie the game. Just one kick from twelve yards out in the game’s last minute could be the difference, or rather the lack thereof, between these two teams in this competitive contest. Unfortunately for Notts County, it would be Wrexham’s newest signing who would rob them of the feeling of a stoppage time equalizer. At 40 years old, former Premier League and England National Team goalkeeper Ben Foster was signed by Wrexham on a contract until the end of the season, in hopes of securing promotion. That hope is working out beautifully, as Foster saved the penalty in the 90+7th minute. The final whistle blew not long after, and Wrexham won the game.

Wrexham sit on top of the table, with Notts County three points behind. Wrexham have four games remaining and Notts County have three. This means that if both teams win the rest of their games, Wrexham will earn promotion to the English fourth division: League Two. This means they will earn their helping of prize money from the English Football League, which will help them to propel the club even further.

Almost all of Wrexham’s games can be viewed on ESPN, and I would highly recommend at least tuning in to their last few games. Who knows where they’ll end up if they do end up getting promoted? Could they make it to League 1 or the EFL Championship? Maybe even the Premier League in a decade’s time? Wrexham have their own destiny laid out in front of them, but it’s up to them to fulfill it.