05.08.2023 20:10 h

Hollywood stars watch Wrexham lose

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney and Hugh Jackman watched Wrexham's long-awaited return to the Football League end in a 5-3 defeat against MK Dons on Saturday.

Wrexham co-owners Reynolds and McElhenney were joined by fellow actor Jackman in a sell-out crowd at the Racecourse Ground for the team's first League Two match since 2008.

Although Wrexham were beaten by superior opponents, Reynolds and McElhenney will hope it was only a blip in their remarkable journey with the north Wales club.

Since surprisingly buying unheralded Wrexham in 2021, the Hollywood duo's investment has helped lift the team back into the fourth tier, while bringing global recognition to the club via a Disney television documentary series.

Unlike the rest of their League Two rivals, Wrexham's growing fame in the United States allowed Phil Parkinson's side to go on a pre-season tour of North America which included games against Chelsea and Manchester United.

Not content with reaching League Two, Wrexham's ambitious celebrity owners have set their sights on further promotions towards the Premier League.

But MK Dons' victory served as something of a reality check for Wrexham after their fairytale run over the last year.

"It's really emotional. A lot of blood was spilled on this field the last couple of years, with Rob and I involved with the club," Reynolds said.

"It never fails to completely take my breath away when I step out into the Racecourse Ground. It's a church.

"So, to be here, I've got a little first day of school vibes, I have that sort of nervous energy that I'm kind of consumed with but super-excited."

The sides were two divisions apart just three months ago, with Wrexham earning promotion from the National Conference and MK Dons relegated from League One.

Ben Foster could not prevent Eoghan O'Connell's own goal or Mohamed Eisa's excellent solo effort, with Wrexham's Jacob Mendy reducing the deficit just before half-time.

Jonathan Leko drilled home from distance and then beat Foster again as MK Dons took control.

The hosts netted again through Jordan Davies but Daniel Harvie got the visitors' fifth before Wrexham's Anthony Forde completed the scoring in stoppage-time.

"Sometimes you need a day like this, like a reality check, to reassess things and we will do that," Parkinson said.

"The thing is with Rob and Ryan is they're the first people to come in and sit down and have a beer with me after the game because when we win we've enjoyed the good times.

"Today's a knock for us. It's not a season-defining defeat but I had a great chat with them afterwards and we'll have a good sit down this week."