I found myself on a recent trip to the UK, accompanied by Charles Jones and his two sons, Connor and Hunter. After a fantastic first week exploring the charms of Ireland, we found ourselves in Northern Ireland. Over breakfast, we eagerly anticipated our Stena Line trip to Cairnryan, Scotland, the next leg of our journey.
In the months leading up to the trip, I had developed a newfound interest in football, spurred by the news that actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney had purchased Wrexham AFC, a football club in Wales. I had quietly considered this as a potential destination for our trip, but I hadn’t mentioned it until we stood by the legendary Loch Ness in Fort Augustus, Scotland.
“Guys, I’ve got an idea for our Welsh destination. How about we visit Wrexham AFC?” I proposed to the group. The confused looks I received were expected. I went on to explain my recent fascination with the club and its new, high-profile owners. After a little convincing and the promise of an exciting adventure, everyone was on board. But there was a condition: our road trip from Scotland to Wales would include an in-car marathon of “Welcome to Wrexham,” the Hulu documentary that chronicled Ryan and Rob’s acquisition of the club.
Over the next 9-hours we immersed ourselves in the story of Wrexham AFC. By the time we arrived at the Turf Pub, we felt like we were part of the Wrexham family. We were greeted by Rach who shared fascinating stories and showcased an abundance of fan mail from all corners of the globe. We even admired the wooden statue of Deadpool engraved with the phrase “It’s always sunny in Wrexham.” Peeking through to the Racecourse, we could see the ongoing construction of the new stand – a visual testament to the evolving Wrexham story.
Our Wrexham experience also had a surreal twist with a hostile local, who expressed his displeasure of my presence. However, he later changed into a gracious host. He explained his behavior as a product of a bit too much to drink at a wake, and all was well after that.
Our visit was rounded off with a trip to the team store the next morning, where I picked up jerseys and tees for myself and my kids back home in North Carolina. The journey then continued from Wrexham into mainland Europe where we road tripped through 12 countries and finally back to London for our flight on June 11th.
The impact of our trip to Wrexham was profound. We found ourselves engrossed in the unfolding underdog story, feeling a genuine connection to the locals and their beloved club. We returned home as dedicated Wrexham fans, eagerly awaiting the upcoming July 19th match against Chelsea in Chapel Hill. We are eagerly awaiting season two of “Welcome to Wrexham”.
In the end, the journey to Wrexham didn’t just show us a new destination, it opened our hearts to a unique community, and gave us a story to cherish and share. Our unexpected road to Wrexham ended up being a high point of our trip, connecting us to a vibrant community across the pond. Wrexham has gained four fans from North Carolina, who experienced a small part of their story.
Who knows, maybe next time we’ll get the chance to meet Wayne, or perhaps even Ryan, Rob, or Toyota’s Head Caterer “Chet Peterson”, who like the late World B Otto, keeps a watchful eye on the buffet.