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ON THE ROAD: Wrexham’s Hollywood ending is ruined by Torquay as stars get taste of non-league life

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That’s the thing with football, it doesn’t quite work like a Hollywood script.

Sure, there are twists to the story, and referees often get cast as the archetypal villain, but in the fifth division of English football rarely does all that come with a happy ending.

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are learning all this fast. A Tuesday night defeat at Maidenhead proved a chastening welcome before their whistle-stop tour was capped off with Torquay United spoiling the party. 

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney may not have got the non-league welcome they hoped

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney may not have got the non-league welcome they hoped 

The American actors watched their new club lose in their first match, before drawing the next

The American actors watched their new club lose in their first match, before drawing the next

But as fans trudged down Crispin Lane cursing one point instead of three, there was an overwhelming sense that this was an ‘I was there’ moment.

Wrexham fans haven’t had many of those in recent years. There was the FA Trophy win at Wembley in 2013, the 150th anniversary game in 2014, and Stoke away in the FA Cup third round in 2015, but the past week has topped the lot.

When locals recount the time these Hollywood stars polished off two bottles of gin with double shots in the Turf Hotel, strolled round the Butchers’ Market, addressed supporters in Welsh, and the Danny DeVito lookalike causing mayhem down Mold Road, Saturday’s result will be nothing more than a footnote.

The pair stayed at the four-star Carden Park estate for their five-day trip to Wrexham along with an inner circle who were rarely far from their side.

Reynolds and McElhenney engaged with fans and enjoyed their first experience of the a match

Reynolds and McElhenney engaged with fans and enjoyed their first experience of the a match

Reynolds had his personal assistant Sophia Travaglia come over, as well as George Dewey, president of Maximum Effort, Reynolds’ production company.

While much of their visit was carefully choreographed by Nick Frenkel, executive producer on the upcoming Welcome to Wrexham documentary, McElhenney and Reynolds appeared genuinely interested in community stories, the people, and the businesses that have fallen on hard times that are now seeing green shoots of life again.

Mad4Movies is a small DVD shop in the Butchers’ Market and while owner Rob Clarke has had the occasional celebrity pop in, talking film with Reynolds and McElhenney was something he’ll never forget.

‘I’m trying to get myself off the ceiling,’ Clarke told Sportsmail. ‘They are nice guys, very approachable and they’ve caught the bug. Ryan asked me, “Is there any film here you’ve never sold?” and I turned to Rob and said, “Let’s not mention Green Lantern” which got a laugh out of them.

The appreciative supporters are daring to dream of more at their National League club

The appreciative supporters are daring to dream of more at their National League club 

‘Before they left they gave me a load of DVDs — some Free Guys and an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season one. Ryan also gave me a Green Lantern which he signed, “Sorry about that”.’

It is these sorts of stories that will stand the test of time and will leave a lasting impact on a community that is daring to dream again.

A total of 9,813 — the third highest National League attendance ever — turned up to the Racecourse on Saturday afternoon to savour the moment. The town centre had never found 90 minutes of peace quite like it. Their pitch address to fans was short but effective; McElhenney showed his Welsh lessons are paying off.

Sat either side of star striker Paul Mullin, who is out serving a three-match ban, Reynolds, who plucked some grass from the pitch before he left as his lasting memento, and McElhenney kicked and headed every ball here.

When Wrexham took the lead in the fourth minute through Harry Lennon, all eyes turned to the owners’ newly-renovated Aviation Gin suite where they embraced in a hug. They well and truly have the non-League bug.

There is a long way to go but the Hollywood stars are already making an impact at the club

There is a long way to go but the Hollywood stars are already making an impact at the club

But Torquay were much improved in the second half and deservedly drew level six minutes from time when Chiori Johnson’s right-wing cross was met two yards out with a diving header by Connor Lemonheigh-Evans.

Dashing back to be with their families for Halloween — ‘we’ll be deceased if we don’t make it,’ Reynolds joked — they left itching for their next visit.

‘I love the fight in this club and this town,’ McElhenney signed off. ‘There’s lots of work to do but we’re all in this for the long haul.’

Now 13th in the National League, no one will argue it’s a long road ahead, but for the first time in ages fans can dream again and that’s a story fit for Hollywood.



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