Spectacular, but above all dramatic. Filled with artifice, but ultimately marked with success and glory. So were Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s first months at the helm of a once innocuous Welsh club.

Their arrival as owners of Wrexham AFC was a shock. After more than 15 years of being confined to the Fifth Division and popular oblivion, the Red Dragons were crowned National League champions on Saturday and thus secured promotion to the Fourth Division.

“There’s no denying that if we make it to the Fourth Division next season, we should be aiming for promotion (to the Third Division),” striker Ollie Palmer told The Associated Press before the decisive duel against Boreham Wood.

“When I arrived here, I said I wanted to bring the club back to where I came from, which is to the third division. We have a fantastic squad. We have a team worthy of the third division, no one can hide it. »

Therein lies the beauty and cruelty of European soccer. A small team can make an ascent to the first division if the results are present. But it can also tumble just as quickly.

Wrexham’s success is no accident. Since the two actors acquired the team for a whopping $2.5 million in 2021 — at least, modest for a sports club — it’s been on a meteoric rise.

The Deadpool actor and his sidekick took over a property that had been owned by his supporters since 2011. Immediately, the owners untied their purse strings to make acquisitions that would see them rise through the ranks of British soccer .

First, they acquired a renowned head coach in Phil Parkinson, who notably coached second division teams. They then convinced several players, including their prolific goalscorer Paul Mullin, to move to a lower division to help them in their quest for greater heights.

Note that this is an ambitious plan, because the club’s payroll has proven to be much higher than that of its rivals. A promotion was imperative if Wrexham are not to turn into a money pit.

They first came a little short in 2021-2022 with a second place in the league and an early, but incredible, elimination in the playoffs. The following season was a good one as the club managed to break the league points record. Notably, they secured a crucial end-of-season victory at the expense of their closest pursuer thanks to a 97th-minute penalty save from former Manchester United star Ben Foster.

The one who is tipped to be one of the new owners of the Ottawa Senators in the NHL has also acquired the Wrexham stadium, the Racecourse Ground. As soon as it was owned by the club, major construction sites were erected. The late supporters’ section, abandoned and dilapidated, has been demolished and will be replaced by new bleachers before the start of the 2024-2025 season.

This improvement will allow the club to welcome an additional 5,000 supporters on match days, bringing the total to 15,000. An expansion justified due to the high demand for tickets and the number of matches played to a full house.

On the other hand, the greatest tour de force of Reynolds and McElhenney was the popularization of the club. Admittedly, the owners are Hollywood actors, but once in office they did everything to boost the visibility of the club.

Thanks to the documentary series Welcome to Wrexham – in which the owners play a leading role – the club’s players have become larger than life stars. The club itself has seen its number of subscribers explode and even cap that of a club in the Premier League.

Such was the success of the first season of the documentary that a second edition will be available to cover the club’s winning season.

Once again, in order to increase their popularity, the Welsh team will play friendly matches this summer. It will be measured in particular against Manchester United and Chelsea, two clubs that do not need an introduction. She will also cross swords with MLS clubs during this North American tour.

This club representing a small municipality of barely 40,000 people is now a global phenomenon. We’ll see if the craze holds and how far Reynolds’ pockets will take the club.