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Old 21st August 2021, 10.11:31   #1-0 (permalink)
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Default Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Yet more good publicity
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Old 21st August 2021, 10.27:47   #2-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Any Link to This?
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Old 21st August 2021, 10.29:36   #3-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/w...iere-5xpf6nrnv

Its behind a paywall unfortunately
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Old 21st August 2021, 10.46:43   #4-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Wrexham basking in the Hollywood spotlight before big season premiere
Gregor Robertson
Saturday August 21 2021, 12.01am, The Times


To Damson Park, then, where Wrexham’s Hollywood-inspired adventure begins in earnest this afternoon with a sell-out National League fixture against Solihull Moors. So intense was the scramble for tickets that postcode checks will be carried out at the home turnstiles.

Such is life now for Wales’s oldest club, and the rest of the fifth tier, as supporters return and excitement surrounding Wrexham’s first full season under the ownership of the actors Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds reaches fever pitch.

Even the league’s sponsor, Vanarama, is giddy with excitement. Yesterday the mystery behind an enormous Hollywood-style “WREXHAM” sign, erected on a slag heap at Bersham Bank colliery, was ended when the company unfurled a banner promoting tomorrow afternoon’s “season premiere”.

“Promotion, promotion, promotion,” is Wrexham’s aim, says Reynolds, the star of the multimillion-dollar Deadpool franchise of films — and little wonder after a summer during which the former Bradford City, Bolton Wanderers and Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson was lured to the Racecourse Ground, along with Paul Mullin, last season’s top scorer and player of the year in Sky Bet League Two.

Parkinson was persuaded by the owners’ passion for the project during a “surreal” Zoom call with McElhenney, one of the stars and writers of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.


“I had a really good chat with him and quickly I was back in the hot seat,” Parkinson, 53, says.

“Like everybody when Wrexham were taken over, I read about it, but it wasn’t until I spoke to Rob that I realised how genuine they are about this project. And how they understand that they’ve never run a football club before, so they’ve employed people who understand the profession.

Former Sunderland and Bolton manager Parkinson was convinced by the owners’ passion for the project

“You may think in other industries that always happens but, in football, quite often people buy clubs and think they know how to pick the team and how to run it. That can be a very costly mistake. They’ve got a lot of good people in behind the scenes, with a lot of experience, and that’s a wise decision.”

Les Reed, the former FA technical director, Shaun Harvey, the former EFL chief executive, and Peter Moore, the former Liverpool chief executive, have been hired as advisers as the owners seek to improve every aspect of the club. Fleur Robinson, a highly respected commercial director at Burton Albion during their rise from non-League to the Championship, has been appointed chief executive. Sponsorship deals have been signed with the global video-sharing platform TikTok, the global travel brand Expedia, and Aviation Gin, which is co-owned by Reynolds.



And coming to a TV screen near you soon is Welcome to Wrexham, the documentary series that could command up to £300,000 an episode, which is in production for FX by Boardwalk Pictures. Having the cameras following his every move has, “taken some getting used to” for Parkinson, whose tenure at the Stadium of Light followed the acclaimed Sunderland ’Til I Die documentary.

“Obviously I spoke to the [Sunderland] players and staff who were part of that, and it did bring its own challenges,” Parkinson says. “But what we’ve spoken about with the lads is that they come in with a smile on their face, enjoy being part of this, because it is different.

“We’ve built trust with the makers of the documentary and we want to play our part in making it a successful programme. The best way we can do that is by winning games of football.”

Parkinson has recruited seven players — Mullin, Aaron Hayden, Liam McAlinden, Shaun Brisley, Jake Hyde, Harry Lennon and David Jones, the former Burnley midfielder, who also joins the coaching staff. All but Hyde, a former Halifax Town striker, joined from Football League clubs.

The arrival of Mullin on a three-year deal, after scoring 32 goals for Cambridge United en route to promotion from League Two, really set pulses racing. “It’s a bit surreal,” says Tim Edwards, founder of the podcast and fanzine Fearless in Devotion. “It will all probably only really sink in on Saturday, when the team that’s been assembled runs out, the circus stops, and we’re all there. Then we can go: ‘OK, this is real now.’

Reynolds, star of the Deadpool franchise, says that promotion is Wrexham’s target this season

“There is expectation, but there always has been. It’s just gone hand in hand with massive, underwhelming disappointment. We’ve tried and failed [to win promotion] 13 times and counting. From a play-off final, to not even finishing near the play-offs, to the 98-point season when we still didn’t go up [finishing behind Fleetwood Town in 2012] — you just never know what’s going to happen in this league.

“If we don’t go up, a lot of people will say this was our best chance to, because a salary cap comes in next season. It’s typical, Wrexham finally get some money and they get one crack at it.”

Details of that cap have yet to be decided. In the meantime, Parkinson has been preparing his squad for the unique challenges of a division with only two promotion places up for grabs, and opponents that range from former Football League clubs like Notts County to minnows like Dover Athletic.

“That’s the beauty of English football, that you can come up against different styles week to week, and you’ve got to adapt,” Parkinson says.

“Going to some of the grounds is going to be new for me, but we’ve got to make sure we’ve got the right mentality, not just to play at home in front of a full house, but away from home on a cold Tuesday night when there are not so many supporters there, making sure we are ready to roll up our sleeves and compete.”

A decade ago Wrexham fans raised more than £100,000 in a day to ensure the club could begin the 2011-12 season. They have fought off asset-strippers, property developers, winding-up orders and administration, and in the past decade the Supporters Trust did a remarkable job in returning the club to a sound financial footing.

“If any fans deserve a large slice of good fortune, it’s Wrexham fans,” says Edwards. “And I’m sure you will agree.”

In the town, meanwhile, the excitement is palpable. Season tickets and replica shirts sold out temporarily. Wrexham’s allocation for Saturday’s rearranged fixture sold in less than two hours after both clubs’ opening games were postponed because of Covid outbreaks in the camps of Yeovil Town and Dover Athletic.

Richard Watkins, a long-term Trust member who owns two pubs in the town, says that there has been only one topic of conversation at the bar this week. “Have you got your season ticket? Have you got a ticket for Saturday?” he says. “And the other one is: when are they [McElhenney and Reynolds] coming over?

“They’ve spoken about wanting to get to the town, about meeting the community. So everyone is expecting that, one Saturday night, they’ll be stood at the bar next to them.”

“It’s a great story,” Parkinson adds. “The owners have brought a really positive vibe to the town, despite not being able to visit yet, and it’s great for this area to have a lift.

“Wrexham has great potential, and that’s why the owners chose the club. Obviously there’s a long-term goal, which is to return this club to the Football League, where it should be. But the short-term goal is Solihull, the next game. The challenge is to be right at the top of the league.”

Last edited by Hamilton Pathetic; 21st August 2021 at 10.48:11..
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Old 21st August 2021, 11.42:40   #5-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Great read..big thanks for posting
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Old 21st August 2021, 12.01:03   #6-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Many thanks.
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Old 21st August 2021, 13.07:39   #7-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Thanks HP for posting this. A good read!
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Old 21st August 2021, 17.15:41   #8-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Many thanks for the post. Enjoyable well written article .
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Old 22nd August 2021, 08.06:52   #9-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: Full page article about Wrexham in today's Times

Good read - Ta'
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