‘I can’t wait’: Wrexham fans on the new season under Hollywood owners

Wrexham kick off their season on Saturday with a tough test at Solihull Moors in the National League. Are fans excited about life under new owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney? We spoke to five supporters to hear their hopes and expectations for this season – and the club’s future.

‘I’m looking forward to a season of genuine hope’
This year’s league is the most competitive ever, with Stockport, Chesterfield, Notts County all looking strong. I hope we make the play-offs at a minimum, but I’m too pessimistic to think we’ll storm the league. You’d have to be naive to think it’ll be a walk in the park. We have made some good signings, but we are not the finished product. That said, I’m looking forward to being back at the Racecourse for a season of genuine hope, which has not happened enough during our time in non-league – or even when we were in the league, come to think of it.

I went to a few Wrexham games as a kid but I’ve only been a more hardcore supporter since about 2008, when I was 18. A difficult period was the fans’ takeover in 2011, when there were worries that we would lose the ground or even the club. And on the pitch we’ve had play-off defeats, which have been demoralising.

The takeover by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney has been surreal, but they seem genuinely sincere. They don’t just seem to be here to make a documentary and leave after two years. After years of scraping by, it feels like you need to pinch yourself. There’s been more good press coming out of Wrexham recently than there has been for decades – how could you not be happy with that? But at the same time, it puts a target on our backs. Joe Gill, 34, teacher, Nantwich

‘Let’s not get ahead of ourselves’
I’ve supported Wrexham for 60 years. I remember the team being in the quarter-finals of the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1976. The Racecourse was absolutely rammed with people. I was also at Wrexham in 1992 when they beat Arsenal 2-1 in the FA Cup. Our history is second to none, but the last 10 years have been a nightmare. My hope is to have stability in the club. At one point we had supporters getting mortgages on their house to keep the club going. But we now have owners with the money to build a solid foundation. We’ve sold 5,000 season tickets, so I would be very disappointed if we do not reach the play-offs. I really think this is our season.

Wrexham is at the centre of the community. When the team does well, the Wrexham community seems to do well. That’s why the recent takeover is a shot in the arm. It’s irrelevant to me that the new owners are Hollywood superstars. The one thing that has impressed me about them is that they’ve said they realise what the club does for the community and vice versa. They took the trouble to put on the back of the shirt collar the mining disaster at Gresford where 266 people lost their lives. It showed that they have recognised the community and done their homework.

People are saying Wrexham are buying success but, with what we’ve gone through in the last decade, we deserve a bit of luck. In the next five years we’ll be in the top tier. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves; if we don’t get promoted this year, that doesn’t mean it’s a failure. Graham Drury, 69, retired, Chirk, Wrexham

‘If anyone deserves a break, it’s us’
I’m a season-ticket holder and attend games with my 14-year-old son. I’ve been watching Wrexham since the 1990s. My son attended his first game at the age of three and has never known them to be anything other than a non-league team.

For the first season in years, I’m fairly confident we can attain promotion to the Football League. There is a general feeling of optimism around the town, with old and new fans getting caught up in the buzz.

The hugely increased publicity the town has been afforded by the takeover has been well received locally, while simultaneously making us every other team’s club they love to hate. We’ve been branded the new Salford, but that couldn’t be further from the mark with our rich history and fanbase. If anyone deserves a break, it’s us.

The hiring of Phil Parkinson was an astute bit of business. His CV boasts multiple promotions and his appointment shows the ambitions of the club; going for a proven manager rather than a “Hollywood” style appointment. Initial signings have been promising. Stuart Chaffer, 47, tax specialist, Wrexham

‘It will be between us and Stockport to go up automatically’
I’m hoping that, after what feels like an eternity in this league, we’re finally able to get back into the Football League. I grew up in the Brian Flynn era and had started to lose hope we’d ever get back. Under new ownership and with an increased budget hopefully this is finally the season.

I have supported the club for 27 years and we have been close a few times before, but in recent seasons the club has been limping along just content with survival, still wounded by the mismanagement of previous owners. There’s now an increased drive to take the club forward. You can see the ambitions of the new owners in some of the players we’ve brought in, the length of their contracts and the transfer fees paid.

The increase in exposure and the sponsorship brought in is on another level to what we had become accustomed to previously. People who haven’t shown an interest in years are now returning. There is a feelgood factor again now. I expect us to be very competitive and one of the teams to beat. It will be between us and Stockport to go up automatically. Adam Squire, 35, Merthyr Tydfil

‘I’m just going to enjoy the ride’
I can’t wait for the new season. I hope we’ll go up but it’s such a difficult league to get out of, and Stockport, Notts County and Chesterfield have all got strong squads. It’s great to see so much interest in the club, with massive shirt sales and season tickets sold. On a purely selfish basis, as someone who has been a fan for 30 years, it’s going to be much harder for me to get tickets for matches – I work every Saturday so didn’t buy a season ticket, but I don’t begrudge this at all. It just goes to show the potential in the club.

I’m going to enjoy the ride and, whatever happens, I’ll be amazed if we’re not in a much better situation both in the league and financially thanks to Rob and Ryan. It’s going to be fun, and it hasn’t been that much fun supporting Wrexham in the last 15 years! We deserve a bit of luck. Mathew Evans, 43, wine merchant, Colwyn Bay