Football

Welcome to Wrexham Season 1 players, staff: Who was in the team and where are they now?

Hit TV series Welcome to Wrexham was the last sighting for some viewers of several figures at the newly high-profile football club.

Since their takeover in February 2021, co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have overseen numerous personnel changes, in line with most football clubs.

Some figures at Wrexham have been present throughout their initial struggle to win promotion to the EFL and achievement of that goal, while others are no longer involved and have even left the game entirely.

The Sporting News takes a look at what has happened to some of the cast of Welcome to Wrexham since the series first aired.

MORE: Where to watch Welcome to Wrexham

Ryan Reynolds

The co-owner of the club and chairman and executive producer of the series landed a Freedom of the Borough award from local politicians at Wrexham Civic Hall in April 2023.

As well as his duties at Wrexham, Reynolds has been involved in recent films including Spirited, Shotgun Wedding and Ghosted, with Deadpool 3 and If to follow for him in 2024.

Rob McElhenney

McElhenney, the star of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, took on the same responsibilities at the club and for the series as Reynolds, as well as receiving that award alongside him from the borough.

In July 2023, the 46-year-old said he planned to publicly discuss his recent diagnosis for “a host of neurodevelopmental disorders and learning disabilities”. “I figured there are others who struggle with similar things and I wanted to remind you that you’re not alone,” McElhenney added on social media.

Humphrey Ker

Part of McElhenney’s Mythic Quest show, Ker’s interest in football – in between scriptwriting sessions – inspired Reynolds and McElhenney to become involved with Wrexham.

London-born Ker acted as a representative for the pair during the takeover and was made an executive director of the club.

Fleur Robinson

Trailblazing chief executive Robinson had become the first black female to hold the position at a football club during her 25 years at Burton Albion, the EFL team she left for Wrexham in 2021.

“She doesn’t seek out the limelight but [she] is a hero in this story,” McElhenney said on social media after Wrexham won promotion. “If you enjoyed this run, I hope you understand that it would not have happened without her.”

Shaun Harvey

Former EFL chief executive Harvey retains the advisory role he was given by the co-owners, allowing him to fulfill duties during the series including advising on finances.

Harvey has played an important role in Wrexham’s plans to redevelop the Kop at their beloved Racecourse Ground home.

Phil Parkinson

Reynolds and McElhenney were seen persuading experienced manager Parkinson to become the club’s new manager, taking over in July 2021.

After achieving a second-placed finish in the National League at the end of his first season, Parkinson took Wrexham up and remains their boss – although he will inevitably face pressure if they do not challenge again in League Two.

PhilParkinson - Cropped

Dean Keates

Keates’ second spell as Wrexham manager came to an abrupt end when he was sacked along with his coaching staff shortly after the takeover, and he has not returned to a senior role in the professional game since.

The former Wrexham midfielder had guided the team to an eighth-placed finish in his final season, which meant they missed out on the National League playoffs and remained in the division for a 14th season.

Paul Mullin

Prolific striker Mullin turned down a new contract with Cambridge United after top-scoring in League Two in 2020-21, heading to Wrexham and finishing as the leading marksman in the National League in 2021-22.

Mullin’s remarkable record of almost a goal a game has been crucial to Wrexham’s success. The 28-year-old former Liverpool and Everton trainee missed the start of the 2022-23 season because of a punctured lung he sustained during a preseason fixture against Manchester United.

Paul Rutherford

Any viewers labouring under the illusion that football is a forgiving sport had their conceptions corrected when they saw Rutherford – who was sent off in the game when Wrexham missed out on a playoff place – discover that his contract would not be renewed.

The winger now plays for Welsh top-flight team Bala Town, who have appeared in the qualifying phase of the Europa Conference League in each of his two seasons with them. Rutherford also owns a football coaching company.

Jordan Davies

Known as the Coedy Assassin because of his Welsh birth village of Coedpoeth, youth team product Davies rejoined Wrexham in July 2020 after a promising spell in Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion’s development set-up.

Now 25, the midfielder signed a three-and-a-half-year contract extension in January 2022 and overcame a long-term knee injury during Wrexham’s promotion season.

MORE: The lowdown on series two of Welcome to Wrexham

Aaron Hayden

Defender Hayden was profiled in the eighth episode of the first series, which aired in September 2022, and remains at the club he joined from Carlisle United in August 2021.

The 26-year-old is a product of Chelsea and Wolves’ academies and spent four years as a senior player at Molineux, never making a first-teaem appearance.

Ollie Palmer

Parkinson was seen winning permission to sign Palmer for a club-record £300,000 ($376,000) from AFC Wimbledon in January 2022. Wimbledon called the offer Wrexham made to the player they relucantly sold “irresistible”.

The striker quickly forged a strong partnership with Mullin and scored 15 goals in 21 National League appearances that season. He has been less lethal since, scoring 16 in 45 league matches in 2022-23 and starting the following campaign with one in 10 matches in all competitions.

Christian Dibble

The trials and tribulations of goalkeeping were played out by Dibble as part of the series, drawing disdain from some supporters for his mistakes in an epic 6-5 win over Dover Athletic and helping Wrexham to reach the 2022 FA Trophy final.

Dibble played in that game but left by mutual consent in January 2023. He has since been part of Kidderminster Harriers’ promotion to the National League.

Ben Foster

Wrexham’s most high-profile player initially had a loan spell at the Racecourse Ground in 2005 and returned in 2023, coming out of retirement when goalkeeper Rob Lainton was injured.

The former Manchester United and England no.1 saved a stoppage-time penalty in a 3-2 win over arch-rivals for promotion Notts County and signed a new one-year contract in June. But a surprise was in store: the 40-year-old retired from football in August following Wrexham’s 5-5 draw with Swindon Town, saying: “The honest truth is that my performances this season haven’t reached the level I demand of myself.”

Ben Foster celebrates win vs Notts County on April 10, 2023

Welcome to Wrexham promotion team: Where are they now?

Of the 16 players in Wrexham’s matchday squad when they won promotion on April 22, 2023, shown below, only Foster was not still at the club five months later.

Opponents Boreham Wood took a shock first-minute lead at the Racecourse Ground, but Elliot Lee replied after 15 minutes and Mullin scored twice in the second half to seal a 3-1 victory and a place in the EFL.

Player Position Date left
Ben Foster Goalkeeper August 2023
Thomas O’Connor Defender
Ben Tozer Defender
Eoghan O’Connell Defender
Ryan Barnett Midfielder
Elliot Lee Midfielder
Andy Cannon Midfielder
James Jones Midfielder
Jacob Mendy Midfielder
Paul Mullin Striker
Sam Dalby Striker
Ollie Palmer Striker
Mark Howard Goalkeeper
Max Cleworth Defender
Anthony Forde Midfielder
Jordan Davies Midfielder

 

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