In a feelgood final scene ripped straight from a Hollywood movie script, Wrexham owner Rob McElhenney celebrated his team’s crucial victory over promotion rivals Notts County by kissing goalkeeper Ben Foster.
McElhenney and fellow film star Ryan Reynolds have taken non-league Wrexham to a global audience since the duo bought the unfashionable Welsh club in 2020.
The popular FX documentary series ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ has captured the highs and lows of the team and their celebrity owners.
Monday’s 3-2 win against Notts County was perfect for the next instalment of the show as McElhenney and Reynolds watched from the stands while Wrexham moved within touching distance of promotion from the National League.
In a plot twist that might have been beyond even the imagination of Tinseltown’s finest screenwriters, Wrexham snatched the points when Cedwyn Scott’s penalty was saved by former Manchester United and England ‘keeper Foster in the seventh minute of stoppage-time.
Foster, 40, was only playing for Wrexham after coming out of retirement following an injury in March to the club’s first-choice ‘keeper Rob Lainton.
Wrexham have played in the fifth tier for the last 15 years, but, revitalised by their celebrity takeover, they are on the verge of a return to League Two.
McElhenney, a star of the ‘Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ sitcom, and Deadpool actor Reynolds were jumping with joy at the final whistle, with Wrexham now three points clear of second-placed Notts County with a game in hand.
Foster, who played in the Premier League with Watford last season, revealed McElhenney took his celebrations up close and personal.
“Rob kissed me fully on the lips and Ryan called me a double handsome b*****d,” said Foster, whose career has come full circle after a transformative loan spell at Wrexham at the start of his career.
“I said to them ‘Listen, you may as well end the documentary now. You’ll never get a better moment than what’s just happened’.
“They’re so happy, if you could order a top of the range owner, then you would just package them two up because they are as good as it gets. It means so much to them, they were buzzing at the end, they care so much.
“This is non-league but they’re doing it like it’s Premier League standard, the way they travel, prepare, training sessions, the food, the recovery. It is ridiculous how they run it, so fair play to them they deserve all they get.”
‘Beautiful and torturous’ –
Beaten in the play-off semi-finals by Grimsby after finishing second in the National League last season, Wrexham are desperate to go one better this term.
They need seven points from their final four games to clinch the title, which guarantees the only automatic promotion place.
“It’s just insane to me in this league that only one goes up automatically,” Reynolds said.
“If it were different—and I think it should be—both of these clubs would be celebrating together right now because what they’ve done is not only created drama unlike anything you’d ever see in a damn movie, but something that I think people will be talking about for ages.”
Wrexham’s heart-stopping victory, which featured several lead changes, came after Reynolds and McElhenney received the freedom of the borough at a civic ceremony earlier in the day.
The drama underlined to Reynolds why he and McElhenney made the surprise decision to transfer their love of US sport to a tiny Welsh football club.
“I don’t feel like I have a heart any more. I think I used all the beats I had left during that match,” Reynolds said.
“That was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before and indicative of all of you lifers who have watched and participated in this beautiful, torturous game.
“I am actually grateful in this moment that I didn’t care about this years ago because it would have just eaten me alive. It’s troubling how hooked I am!”
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