The spotlight is very much on Wrexham this season and for good reason, but Phil Parkinson has certainly been backed by his new Hollywood owners as the club looks to return to the EFL for the first time since 2009.
The Red Dragons drew 1-1 against Notts County in front of a bumper crowd for the first home game of the season last week, with the clash being screened live by BT Sport.
That point came on the back of an away victory versus Eastleigh and a thrilling 2-2 draw at Solihull Moors in what has been a steady start to one of the most important campaigns in the club’s history.
This will be Wrexham’s 14th season in non-league since their 87-year residence in the Football League ended amid turmoil and uncertainty in 2007/08.
The club were the first to be docked 10 points for entering administration in 2004, ultimately suffering relegation from League One as a consequence.
Then their Racecourse Ground’s existence was threatened when the former owner, Alex Hamilton, a property developer, ordered the club to move so that he could sell the site for retail.
That was followed by a winding-up order from HMRC over an unpaid tax bill just as Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) were taking ownership.
No wonder than that the club’s long-suffering fanbase is basking in the optimism that the new campaign has brought with it.
“There’s lots of anticipation about Wrexham and tickets are selling fast,” Nathan Salt from Rob Ryan Red told FansBet.
“They’ve just reopened season tickets, which were capped at 5,200, and for the game against Woking after the international break they’re expecting a crowd of around 8,000.
“You can see the momentum is building around the club now.
“There’s also a strong belief in the dressing room that there is a group there now of leaders that can go on and win games.
“At this level, it’s all about consistency as we’ve seen time-and-time again with ex-Football League teams that struggle to find that consistency needed to go up.
“That’s why we’ve seen the likes of Sutton United, Barrow and Harrogate Town leapfrog these sides in recent years.
💬 “This squad could be at the top end of League Two and even have a good go in League One… The ambition is the title this year.”
— FansBet (@FansBet) September 2, 2021
“It’s about staying fit and staying in form and finding ways to win games and, as much as the owners have done their bit, it’s over to Phil Parkinson now and his players to prove they can do it.”
There has been plenty of attention on the Red Dragons since the high-profile takeover of the club by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
The pair have taken 100% control of the club from the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) and have made a £2m investment under the terms of the deal.
And it’s fair to say that the A-listers are sparing no expense as they look to lead Wrexham back to the Football League.
Wrexham brought in just one player on transfer window deadline day with right-back Bryce Hosannah arriving at The Racecourse on a free transfer from Leeds United.
But he was the 10th new signing of the summer with the notable arrival of Ben Tozer from Cheltenham Town, where he was captain, for a fee thought be around £200,000.
The 31-year-old, who was an ever-present feature in Cheltenham’s League Two-winning defence last season, signed a three-year deal following lengthy negotiations between the clubs.
Without doubt, however, the most eye-catching piece of business conducted by the club this summer was the signing of Paul Mullin from Cambridge United.
Mullin scored a whopping 34 goals for The Us last season in League Two – a record breaking tally for the division – contributing massively to their promotion on his way to being named the League Two player of the Year.
“You’ve got to say it’s the best window that Wrexham have had in the non-league era by far,” says Nathan.
“The quality the club has been able to go and get with money is something with fan ownership we weren’t able to fund.
“Wrexham now have a squad that can realistically compete for the title.
“It was 2011/12 when we got 98 points and finished behind Jamie Vardy’s Fleetwood Town, so that’s as close as we’ve come to a title in a while.
“This feels like our best opportunity yet, the owners have gone out there and really put their money where their mouth is and they can build a League One calibre squad.”
Wrexham are preparing for a 14th season in non-league after missing out on the National League play-offs last term, with the club deciding against offering manager Dean Keates a new contract after failing to secure a top-seven finish.
And they will no doubt face strong competition for top spot with a number of sides vying to join the likes of Harrogate Town and Sutton United, who have recently taken the step into league football.
“During our time in non-league, this is by far one of the strongest teams we’ve seen,” explains Nathan.
“Others that have gone up before have had really strong squads but this squad at Wrexham is well-built to be at the top-end of League Two and have a good go in League One.
“Really the ambition is the title and those behind the scenes believe that we’ve got a really strong chance to go up and end this stay in the National League.
“It’s really encouraging, it’s been an ambitious summer and they’ve gone and pulled it off and the fans really can’t believe how well we’ve done in terms of the business we’ve done.”
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