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Hollywood backers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney help springboard a Welsh soccer club back into the big leagues

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WREXHAM, Wales – APRIL 22, 2023: Jordan Davies of Wrexham celebrates with fans as Wrexham win the Vanarama National League and are promoted to the English Football League after victory against Boreham Wood.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Wrexham, the Welsh soccer club owned by Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, secured promotion back to the English Football League (EFL) system for the first time in 15 years.

A 3-1 victory on Saturday over London-based Boreham Wood saw the club win the Vanarama National League title, powered by two second-half goals from talismanic striker Paul Mullin.

The win meant Wrexham wrapped up the league title with one game to spare after a fierce challenge from Notts County. It will see the club ascend next season from the National League, the fifth tier of the English football pyramid, into the EFL League Two for the first time since its relegation in 2007/8.

Reynolds and McElhenney purchased Wrexham, the third-oldest professional soccer club in the world, for £2 million ($2.5 million) in November 2020, despite neither having much prior knowledge of the sport or of North Wales, where the club is based.

The Hollywood investment and commercial interest resulting from the popularity of the behind-the-scenes Disney+ documentary series “Welcome to Wrexham” helped build the club a cult following around the world, and provided a financial boost that has enabled Wrexham to attain promotion at the second time of asking.

WREXHAM, Wales – APRIL 22, 2023: Wrexham AFC owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds celebrate with the Vanarama National League trophy.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Last season, Wrexham narrowly missed out on promotion after losing 5-4 in a thrilling play-off semi-final against Grimsby Town, which went on to gain promotion and now also plays in League Two. It also fell short in the FA Trophy cup competition, being beaten 1-0 at Wembley by Bromley FC.

Promotion to the EFL is highly lucrative for small clubs, and Wrexham will receive a payment from the EFL of £1.1 million. Reynolds and McElhenney have promised to reinvest a substantial portion of the winnings in player bonuses and vowed further investment in the club’s infrastructure, with a new stand at the stadium already under construction.

Reynolds and McElhenney attended the game at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground on Saturday along with fellow actor Paul Rudd, and were seen in tears as thousands of fans flooded the pitch at the full-time whistle.

In a Twitter post Sunday, “Deadpool” star Reynolds said: “Everything I own smells like champagne, beer and grass. I’m still somewhere between giggling and sobbing. This town and this sport is one of the most romantic things on earth. Thank you, Wrexham AFC.”

Alongside a video of the pair’s reaction at the full-time whistle, McElhenney, star of hit comedy series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” tweeted: “You can see something leave both of our bodies at the same time. And then we’re filled back up with an indescribable amount of joy and gratitude.”

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