Wrexham are one of British football’s most historic clubs, founded in 1864 and a permanent member of the English Football League (EFL) from being admitted to the old Division Three North in 1921 until their relegation from League Two in 2008.
The Welsh club have famously beaten Arsenal in an FA Cup game in 1992, as well as Porto in a UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup tie in 1984, by virtue of winning the Welsh Cup – and only three years before the Portuguese giants won their first European Cup.
In 2020, Wrexham hit global headlines when they were bought by actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The goal is to make Wrexham a ‘global force’, but whilst still fully respecting the club’s storied history and engaging in the local community.
Last summer, Wrexham landed a deal with social media giant TikTok and became the first non-league club to be included in an EA SPORTS FIFA game when they made it into FIFA 22.
Now, the dream of returning to the EFL is close.
Wrexham are locked in a National League title battle with Stockport County, another club with decades of EFL heritage that have been sleeping at non-league level since being relegated out of the Football League for the first time in their history in 2011.
Only one of them can secure automatic promotion into EFL League Two for next season.
As things stand, Wrexham lead the National League on goal difference, having beaten Stockport 3-0 on Sunday to leapfrog their rivals. But the Dragons have played a game more and their destiny is not theirs to control because of Stockport’s outstanding fixture this week.
The title and automatic promotion had looked like Stockport’s to lose in April after County had won 17 of 18 league games since Boxing Day. But four defeats in their last six National League fixtures, including against Wrexham which would sealed things there and then had they won, has opened the door late on for the Hollywood-backed Welsh club.
If Stockport win their game in hand against Torquay at home on Wednesday night, they will return to the top above Wrexham with a three-point cushion going into the final day. Stockport then finish the 44-game regular season at home to Halifax on 15 May, with Wrexham simultaneously playing away at Dagenham & Redbridge to conclude their own campaign.
Should Stockport take at least four points from their remaining fixtures, they will win the National League and automatically return to the EFL, regardless of whether Wrexham beat Dagenham. But anything less than four points and Wrexham will have a chance to finish first.
Whichever club finishes second in the table, already a guaranteed minimum at this stage, will enter the National League play-offs – earning a bye to the semi-finals stage alongside the league’s third place club, either Solihull or Halifax depending on final days results.
Four other clubs, which could include Dagenham if they upset Wrexham, will start in quarter-finals, with two winners from that initial round progressing to the semis.
The 2022 National League play-off final then will be played at the London Stadium on Sunday 5 June, which has caused controversy for Wrexham as it is the same day as Wales’ World Cup play-off final against Scotland or Ukraine.