Are you not entertained?!
A glimpse of the Wembley arch has triggered the mutant gene in our chairman as a big Easter weekend looms…
“Once in a lifetime…”
Mere hours after announcing a record-breaking month on social media, Wrexham AFC’s official channels enjoyed a fresh blast of rocket fuel to launch April - with footage of Pele Mullin’s last-gasp, Wembley-booking lob against Stockport County beamed right across the world.
The glorious video had enough of a wow factor to generate some healthy viewing figures alone, but quickly shot to viral status after some relentless retweeting by the game’s guest of honour Ryan Reynolds.
Deadpool’s deepening adoration for his club tipped over into full-blown insanity after watching the FA Trophy semi-final 2-0 win - with his puppyish enthusiasm for Pele’s goal manifesting itself in feverish Twitter and Insta posts.
For a few days, you couldn’t wander anywhere on social media without bumping into Pele and his looping strike towards the Tech End.
It was everywhere. And yet again, Wrexham were trending.
Isn’t this all such a far cry from yesteryear? When our beleaguered social media team were handed the unenviable task of drumming-up enthusiasm for non-league dead rubbers. Often, there was little more to say than simply declare it was “MATCHDAY, Reds!” - with staff hoping the mere existence of a local sports fixture would be enough to get spines tingling.
Nowadays, regular 90th minute winners are producing the kind of limb-laden footage that account admins drool over - with Reynolds doing his bit by recycling the content for his 19 million followers.
Wrexham AFC @Wrexham_AFCDRINK IT IN. 🥤 @PMullin7 #WxmAFC https://t.co/ukGfjyzbrZ
Despite claiming to be the more level-headed of our two chairman, Deadpool has been pushed to the brink during the last few matchdays, expressing fears for his health and sanity after too many pulse-pumping stoppage time winners. He even went as far as describing the Stockport game as a “top ten moment”. Quite the quote, given this man’s life has involved breaking into Hollywood, heading up a Marvel franchise, winning a Critics’ Choice Award, marrying Blake Lively, and selling a gin brand for $610 million.
It’s a delight to see Reynolds so giddy about the FA Trophy: A strange, contradictory cup that we’d all love to win on May 22 but never win again.
For as long as FAT contests appear on our fixture lists, we’re still a non-league team, and after winning and losing a final since being booted out of the FL in 2008, we all thought we’d experienced everything this comp had to offer.
But apparently not. The route to the 2021/22 FA Trophy final has actually been one of our most eventful and enjoyable Wrexham cup runs for many a year.
A 5-0 rout of Gloucester marked the final match at The Racecourse before the Wales Christmas COVID lockdown temporarily shut out spectators, resulting in fans piling into pubs around town to watch the next round victory over Folkestone Invicta. The Reds then proceeded to obliterate a buoyant Boreham Wood 3-0 before winning at Notts County for the first time in 18 years, and the semi-final draw paired up the two strongest sides in the tournament - with Pele’s chip triggering Reynolds’ torturous mutant-like transition from fan into die-hard.
Of course, Stockport supporters reacted to their trophy exit in the same way we would have done: “You can have your Mickey Mouse cup while we focus on the league”. Granted, another FAT final wasn’t something that many of us had on our wish-lists for the 2021/22 campaign - but it could actually prove to be one of the most momentous Wrexham AFC matchdays of modern times.
This won’t just be another Sunday spent getting lost on the underground and shouting “HOW MUCH?!” back at eye-rolling barmen after ordering a pint in the local Fuller’s. We could ultimately come to look back on the FAT final as RR McReynolds’ first tangible triumph: The day the Hollywood revolution began with an inaugural piece of silverware.
Or, it could just be another mortifying defeat on football’s biggest stage and a humbling reminder we’re still a fifth tier team slumming it with part-timers - no matter how rich and famous our owners might be.
It’s likely the whole gang will be there at Wembley, with Reynolds calling the opportunity “once in a lifetime”. Fans are obviously up for it, too - with 10,000 tickets gobbled up in 24 hours. If the players treat it with the same sort of childlike fascination, then it’ll be a day out to remember for the right reasons.
“What a waste of money!”
When Pele Mullin hammered a free-kick over the bar at The Hive in October, Barnet fans revelled in the miss.
“Wayyyyy! What a waste of money!”
A vlogger captured the moment and joined in with glee, only to turn ashen-faced seconds later as a roar erupted off-camera.
Pele had, of course, just put Wrexham in front.
Barnet’s supporters fell silent, but their gaffer Dean Brennan had fallen in love.
“That Mullin… I think he’s an outstanding player…” he gushed after the game.
“He was a joy to watch… I know he’s not on our team… but everything he did today was outstanding.”
Brennan got to watch his fave fella in fine form yet again in March, with Pele getting on the scoresheet in Wrexham’s 6-0 rout of the Bees - our biggest marginal win for over two decades. But the Barnet manager isn’t the only one who loves talking about Mullin. Since making headlines for participating in one of the most stunning transfers of the summer, Pele has simply refused to stay out of the news - scoring wondergoals, getting sent off, and performing Klopp-esque full-time fist-pumps in front of packed terraces. He’s proven to be a massive personality as well as a talented footballer. So, when The Billionaire Bulldozer Ollie Palmer arrived for a record-breaking fee in January, there was speculation Mullin could have found his match.
After all, isn’t there only room for one big star of the show?
Palmer has also revealed himself to be something of a handful off the pitch as well as on it - stripping down to his undies after Dover, snatching a microphone off the club compère to bellow “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” Maximus Meridius style, and heading into town for a singalong with fans at Hill Street.
But in Parky’s Hollywood Reds, there’s been room for both stars. This is an ensemble cast.
Pele and The Billionaire Bulldozer are working beautifully in tandem at the top end of the field and appear to have a good relationship - driving to training together and splitting all the plaudits with dignity. Palmer even planted a big old smooch on Mullin following his Stockport winner.
They’ve both been worth every penny. And they’d probably say that about one another, too.
Solihull Sbarring and Parkinson vs Parkinson
When Wrexham’s highly-anticipated 2021/22 curtain-raiser was culled due to a COVID outbreak in the Yeovil squad, arrangements were made to kick-off the first full Hollywood campaign at Damson Park instead.
Looking back, that game feels like it belongs to a parallel universe.
There are some important hallmarks confirming Solihull Moors vs Wrexham did indeed take place in this world - a sold-out away following, Mullin on the scoresheet, the surrounding town soundtracked by Wrexham songs - but in other ways, it feels alien.
Forgotten names like Jamie Reckord, Cameron Green, Jake Hyde, Harry Lennon and David Jones were all in the squad that day (Reckord and Green have moved on to new clubs, Hyde and Lennon can’t get fit, and Jones is still on a milk carton), and most Wrexham fans were obsessed with signing Solihull’s Joe Sbarra - a diminutive attacking midfielder who scored twice against us in a 2-2 draw.
And indeed, it will all feel very different when Solihull come to Wales on Good Friday. For starters, both sides are considerably improved - with The Moors enjoying a purple patch to rise to 4th in the league. They’ll visit The Racecourse full of beans with a decent-sized following cheering them on - and many are already tipping this one to be a playoff rehearsal.
Then, on Easter Monday it’s Altrincham - who are coached by the other Phil Parkinson.
The last Wrexham v Alty match (Dec 28) also seems like it played out on another planet - with Wales caught up in the Omicron panic as the government locked us out of our own stadium. Thankfully - yet peculiarly - we were free to travel across the border to Greater Manchester and watch a game at Moss Lane. The Reds waltzed to a comfortable 2-0 victory that day which set the template for a much-improved New Year - with our lads losing just twice ever since.
Alty, on the other hand, suffered a grim start to 2022 which has left them destined for another mediocre finish in lower mid-table. But the squad have enjoyed an unexpected burst of fine form in recent weeks - winning five of their last seven including a scalp of Chesterfield and demolitions of Dag & Red, Eastleigh and Weymouth 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 respectively.
It could be a tricky one, The Phil Parkinson Cup, and it’s certainly another big fixture. But in truth, they’re all big, now. This is crunch time. And six points over Bank Holiday would put us in the strongest possible position ahead of the final furlong.
It’s important to keep that title fantasy alive for as long as possible. This is a very different world to the one in which we started the season. Anything can happen…