It was like asking the tide to stop rolling in.
"Please stay off the pitch!" the Wrexham stadium announcer pleaded, as hundreds became thousands and the Racecourse Ground playing surface was swamped in seconds by supporters waving scarves and lighting flares. They had waited 15 years for this; of course they were going on the pitch.
Next door at William Aston Hall, which shares a car park with Wrexham's stadium, the sold-out signs were up for "The Magic of Motown," an event billed as the celebration of the sound of a generation with one very special night. However the real celebration was on the football pitch as Wrexham AFC, owned by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, beat Boreham Wood 3-1 to clinch promotion from the National League to the English Football League (EFL). And it was signed, sealed and delivered by two stunning goals from striker Paul Mullin.
"I would like to say that Paul Mullin is one the greatest footballers in the world," McElhenney said after the game, perhaps somewhat carried away by the occasion.
Mullin's two goals took his tally for the season to 47 in all competitions — just one fewer than Manchester City's Erling Haaland, but Wrexham have been playing in English football's fifth tier rather than the Premier League and Champions League. Still, as the highest-paid player in the National League and earning a reported £5,000 a week (Haaland earns £500,000 a week at City), Mullin has done what he was signed to do — secure promotion to the EFL.
Wrexham owners McElhenney, left, and Reynolds, right, celebrate the clinching of the National League title on Saturday night after a 3-1 win over Boreham Wood. Martin Rickett/PA Images via Getty Images
"I'm not sure I can process what happened tonight," said "Deadpool" star Reynolds. "I am still a little speechless. People ask 'Why Wrexham?' This is why Wrexham: this happening, right now, is why."
Wrexham's story is an incredible one, especially given that they have been sprinkled with celebrity stardust since Reynolds and McElhenney bought the clubs from a supporters' trust in 2021. Prior to that, the club had tried and failed to reclaim their place in the EFL, which they lost back in 2008. Poignantly, perhaps, promotion was achieved 15 years to the day since a 2-0 EFL League Two defeat to Hereford consigned them to relegation.