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British Soccer Players Celebrate with Hollywood Stars in Vegas 

brandon May 9, 2023

Vegas, the destination of choice for those looking to party. And that has proved to be the case for the playing staff of Wrexham AFC from Wales. After clinching a breathtaking National League [England’s fifth tier of soccer] title win to earn promotion to League Two, the club’s famous owners decided that Messrs Mullin, Lee, and Palmer deserved to let their hair down. First on the list was a four-day trip to Vegas.

British Soccer

The players were told to leave behind their debit cards, as the tab would be picked up by the club’s Hollywood benefactors. It looks like the group has taken advantage of the Nevada hospitality.

Many in the States may be forgiven for not having heard of Wrexham before 2021. While they were a historic, famous club, they had fallen on hard times. They had fallen out of the fully professional English Football League. This consigned them to playing in the National League, then known as the Conference Premier. Many clubs in this league are semi-professional and the money floating around has historically been minimal. That all changed when sitcom royalty Rob McElhenney and Hollywood heartthrob Ryan Reynolds decided to get involved with the UK’s national sport. In February 2021, they finalized their deal to purchase Wrexham and the club hasn’t looked back since.

A Whirlwind Road to Vegas for Wrexham

It’s a well-deserved trip to the casino destination of the world for the Red Dragons’ players. Unlike the US soccer system, all the leagues in England’s football pyramid are linked by a promotion and relegation function. This means that a team like Manchester City, the incumbent Premier League champions, could drop all the way down to the grassroots of the game. In fact, they were in the third division of England as recently as 1999. Their coach, Pep Guardiola, was entering the final years of his playing contract with Barcelona around that time. Wrexham, however, hadn’t played at that level since 2002. Instead of winning the Premier League six times since, though, they tumbled all the way down the divisions until they were relegated out of the Football League in 2008. That’s where they had been all the way up until now.

Most of the divisions in the Football League will operate on a three up and three down basis. This means that, usually, the teams that finish first and second are promoted to the league above, while the third promotion spot will be decided through a playoff series. League Two – the bottom division of the professional system – promotes four of its teams but only relegates two. That means that there are only two promotion spots available to teams in the National League. Because of that, only the division winner is guaranteed to play in the Football League the following year. The four teams below will then compete in the playoffs. And that’s where Wrexham stumbled in the past. Just last year, in front of the Disney+ cameras, they fell to Grimsby Town in the semifinals. That made it so important that they clinch first this year.

Neck and Neck Title Race in the National League

It may not be the top division of English football, but the excitement this year would rival any big competition. Wrexham had to duke it out across the grueling 46-game season with Notts County, England’s oldest continuously operating professional football club. By the end of the season, the Welsh side was top with 111 points and the Nottinghamshire side was second with 107. That’s a tight, tight margin of victory and would likely have left the side from Flintshire, Wales, breathing a big sigh of relief. Throughout the season, the two sides regularly swapped positions and even had the division’s top strikers battling each other for the top scorer award. Macaulay Langstaff, a former Middlesbrough youth player, and Paul Mullin, Wrexham’s talisman, ended on 42 and 38 goals respectively. It was a scintillating season for soccer fans.

The players may currently be living the life of luxury in the baking hot Nevada desert but they will soon be back to work. While the offseason is underway and their regular season won’t return until August, they are booked in to play some high-profile friendly games in the US. The Red Dragons will face off against Manchester United and Chelsea in San Diego and North Carolina respectively later in the year. It looks set to be an exciting summer for the players at the club, as well as the fans back in Wales. Before that, though, there may be some sore heads to nurse after a week of celebration in Sin City.

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