Wrexham on the Verge of Clinching Promotion for Second Straight Year

Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports

Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC is putting the finishing touches on the latest chapter in its Hollywood story.

The club, purchased by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in 2020, is close to securing promotion for the second straight year. Last season, the club won the National League, England’s fifth-tier league, to secure promotion to League Two. Now, with three games left in the season, Wrexham is on the verge of securing promotion to League One, the third-highest league in England. (Wrexham, like other top Welsh sides, competes in the English league system.)

Wrexham is currently second in the league with 79 points, four points behind first-place Stockport and three points ahead of third-place Mansfield Town. The top three teams in the standings at the end of the season are automatically promoted to League One, while the teams placed fourth through seventh compete in a playoff for the final promotion spot. Wrexham will play last place Forest Green Rovers on Saturday and fifth-place Crewe Alexandra on April 20 before closing the season against league leader Stockport on April 27.

It’s possible for Wrexham to clinch promotion on Saturday if it wins and other results go its way. If Wrexham beats Forest Green and MK Dons and Barrow both lose (against Mansfield Town and Gillingham, respectively), then Wrexham will clinch promotion to League One. The club hasn’t competed in that tier since the 2004–05 season.

Wrexham was in disarray when Reynolds and McElhenney bought the team. The club was in financial ruin and had spent much of the past decade in the bottom half of the National League. But with an infusion of cash from Reynolds and McElhenney, who launched a television series, Welcome to Wrexham, to document their journey owning the club, the team immediately turned its fortunes around.

In its first season under the new ownership, the team jumped from 19th in the standings to eighth. Wrexham nearly achieved promotion at the end of the 2021–22 season after finishing second but lost in the playoffs and remained in the National League. The club won the league last season to return to League Two for the first time since the ’07–08 season. If Wrexham can move up again this season, it would mark the first time in the club’s 159-year history that it has achieved promotion in consecutive seasons.

Dan Gartland


Dan Gartland is the writer and editor of Sports Illustrated’s flagship daily newsletter, SI:AM, covering everything an educated sports fan needs to know. Previously published on Deadspin and Slate, Dan also is a former Sports Jeopardy! champion (Season 1, Episode 5).