Blackburn boss Jon Dahl Tomasson is relishing the prospect of his side hosting his old club Newcastle after Rovers came from behind to beat Wrexham 4-1 at Ewood Park in the FA Cup fourth round.

The League Two visitors were on for an upset when Andy Cannon put them in front in the 19th minute, bringing a huge roar from the 7,000-plus away fans in the ground.

But Blackburn responded in ruthless fashion with goals in quick succession just past the half-hour mark from Sammie Szmodics and then Sam Gallagher as goalkeeper Arthur Okonkwo was punished for racing out of his area.

Szmodics, the Championship’s leading scorer this term with 16 goals who had bagged a hat-trick in the 5-2 third-round victory over Cambridge, then netted his second of the night just prior to the interval before Sondre Tronstad wrapped things up in the second half.

Former striker Tomasson – a Newcastle player in 1997-98 – said in his post-match press conference when asked about the fifth-round clash with the Magpies that had been set up: “It’s special.

“When I saw the draw, I was thinking about the Champions League game against Barcelona where we won it 3-2, I thought that could be nice if we were able to win against Wrexham, to see my former club here.

“We know how well Newcastle has performed. So I’m really pleased to see my old club coming here.”

On his team’s display against Wrexham, Tomasson said: “It was a good performance, and when you play the FA Cup it’s about winning.

“A game like this could be extremely dangerous, Wrexham are bringing on a Monday night more than 7,000 fans, they had a great run last season, beating Coventry, almost beating Sheffield United as well. The team have done a very good performance and we are pleased to be through to the next round.”

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson said it was “a day for our supporters” after his side beat Shrewsbury 1-0 to secure their place in the FA Cup fourth round.

The Croud Meadow witnessed something of an upset as the Sky Bet League Two side got the better of the League One Shrews thanks to a Thomas O’Connor goal.

Parkinson said: “Today was a day for our supporters and not just the ones that were here but the ones back at home.

“It’s a local derby, and 16 years ago, Shrewsbury beat us to all but condemn the club to the National League.

“When you have had that pain of being a Wrexham fan during that period, it’s great that we give our supporters a day to celebrate.

“It was always going to be a tough game. I saw Shrewsbury play against Fleetwood, and I thought they played really well.

“They’re an established League One team, and it was interesting to see us go toe-to-toe with a team that were right up for the game.

“As the first half wore on, we looked better and better and I thought, in general, we controlled the second half.

“There was a couple of chances towards the end, but we rode our luck with those, but we probably deserved it with the effort the lads have given us today.”

The contest was settled 18 minutes from time when George Evans played the ball into O’Connor’s path and the midfielder’s deflected strike found the back of the net.

Mal Benning made a surging run from the halfway line into the box just past the hour mark, but his effort clipped the crossbar.

Shrewsbury went close to a late equaliser twice, with Taylor Perry sending the ball inches wide of the post on both occasions

Shrews boss Matt Taylor said: “We dominated a game of football today.

“The supporters and I will leave here extremely frustrated, as I’m sure everyone connected with the football club will.

“The fact of the matter is they have had one shot on target, and Marko (Marosi) has not had a save to make as the goal took a deflection and gone in.

“We have had two, if not three, fabulous opportunities. Two from inside seven yards and not put the ball in the back of the net.

“We should go in at half-time 1-0 up at least, but we don’t. Second-half, I thought Wrexham played in our half better, but still, we had opportunities.

“I cannot complain about the performance or the effort but what I can say is the big chances we had today we didn’t take.”

Thomas O’Connor’s goal secured Wrexham a 1-0 FA Cup win at Shrewsbury as they reached the fourth round for the second year running.

The hosts went close midway through the first half when Jordan Shipley floated a cross to the back post for Tunmise Sobowale to run on to but he skied his effort over the bar.

Wrexham had an effort just after half-time through Paul Mullin, who won the ball wide and cut in to the box from the left, but Marko Marosi parried away the danger.

Mal Benning made a surging run from the halfway line into the box just past the hour mark, but his effort clipped the crossbar and went out.

The Red Dragons found the breakthrough in the 72nd minute as George Evans played the ball into O’Connor’s path and the midfielder’s deflected strike found the back of the net.

Shrewsbury went close to a late equaliser as the ball fell to Taylor Perry just yards out, but his effort went inches wide.

Phil Parkinson is relishing Wrexham’s derby clash against Shrewsbury in the FA Cup third round after putting in “a professional performance” to see off non-league Yeovil.

First-half goals from Ollie Palmer and Andy Cannon and substitute Sam Dalby’s stoppage-time strike dumped the National League South leaders out, with the Red Dragons facing League One Shrewsbury away in January.

Parkinson is excited by the prospect of taking on the Shrews, but was happy with what he saw as they ground out a win against the Glovers.

Parkinson said: “I thought it was a professional performance from us. These games are never easy.

“We had to work for it, we were patient with the ball in the first half and the moments came with two good goals. The intention was to go and kill the game off early in the second period, but credit to Yeovil.

“It didn’t surprise me because when you’re top of the division in your respective league, you’ve got good strong characteristics and you could see that.

“They didn’t give in, they kept playing and we couldn’t quite find that final pass to set a chance up to kill the game off until the very last minute when Dalby scored a really good goal.

“I’m just pleased to get through.

“When the draw comes out before the game, everyone starts looking one eye on Shrewsbury, which I think is a great draw for us and an exciting one for the club, but the job had to be done here first and we’ve done it.”

Yeovil boss Mark Cooper could not praise his side highly enough as fine margins went against them, but was frustrated with some decisions by the officials.

He said: “I thought we were brilliant, absolutely magnificent, all of them. I thought we were bang in the game.

“The goal on half-time is a killer for us, it’s a poor header and we didn’t pick up on the edge of the box, but I thought we were brilliant, to a man.

“I thought we played lovely football, we kept the ball, we created some chances, the keeper has pulled off an unbelievable save in the top corner from Charlie Cooper in the first half.

“We’ve had chances in the second half, so it’s just tiny details. There’s a difference between the two teams and you know that when you come here, the ref’s not going to do you any favours.

“It was some really questionable bits and pieces that went against us.

“They’re a top team, let’s have that right. They’ve got a top manager, everything, and they scored at good times, but I can’t give our players enough credit.”

League Two promotion hopefuls Wrexham set up a trip to Shrewsbury in the third round of the FA Cup with a 3-0 victory against non-League Yeovil.

First-half goals from Ollie Palmer and Andy Cannon put the hosts ahead before substitute Sam Dalby’s stoppage-time strike dumped the National League South leaders out.

The hosts took an early lead when goalkeeper Joe Day saved Palmer’s initial header from Cannon’s cross, but the Wrexham striker tucked home the rebound.

James McClean’s low effort crept inches wide in the 20th minute during early Wrexham domination.

Yeovil rallied when Charlie Cooper’s fierce drive tested Mark Howard 10 minutes before half-time, before Jordan Young’s free-kick struck a post.

But Cannon grabbed Wrexham’s second in first-half stoppage time from outside the box, despite goalkeeper Day’s efforts.

Cooper’s early second-half effort flew over before Jacob Mendy’s low 65th-minute drive went wide for the home side.

McClean nearly capped off a fluid Wrexham counter-attack in the closing stages, before Dalby’s chipped finish in time added on sealed victory.

New Wales cap Regan Poole admits he owes so much to Manchester United after making his international debut on Wednesday night.

Defender Poole seemed destined for stardom in 2015 after leaving Newport aged 17, on the same day United made Anthony Martial football’s most expensive teenager.

But Poole’s first-team action at Old Trafford was restricted to an 89th-minute substitute appearance in a 2016 Champions League tie – a 5-1 win over Danish club Midtjylland, in which England striker Marcus Rashford announced himself with two goals on debut.

Poole would be loaned out to Northampton and Newport before signing for MK Dons, Lincoln and Portsmouth, where he has hit the ground running with three goals in 12 appearances for the Sky Bet League One leaders.

“It’s always been my aim to win that cap,” Poole said after helping Wales to a 4-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in Wrexham, ahead of their Euro 2024 qualifier against Croatia.

“I’m 25 and I’ve had to wait a little while to get it, but hopefully there are many more to come.

“I had the experience of playing for the under-21s a few times and got called up there.

“It went quiet for a little while, but I’ve had a really positive start for my new club and hopefully I can stay in the squad.”

Cardiff-born Poole became Newport’s youngest-ever player in 2014 upon making his debut at the age of 16 and 94 days.

Poole’s performances soon had Premier League scouts flocking to Rodney Parade and he eventually headed for Old Trafford for a £100,000 fee, with attached add-ons taking it to a potential £500,000.

“I was at such a young age when the move came about,” said Poole.

“It was such a shock, but it was something I had to do. I look back on my time there and they improved me so much as a person and as a player.

“I don’t regret it in a way because I had to do it. I loved my time there and I think it’s showing now how much they improved me.

“I was training with such good players and that’s shown in my career.”

On his brief time as a United first-team player, Poole added: “That’s something I look back on with great pride.

“I know it was only one game but I can say that I played for Manchester United and not many people can say that. So I look back on that and think ‘well done’.

“Marcus scored two in that game and then I came on late. He was a good friend of mine at the time and he’s gone on to do such great things.”

Poole is determined to play at the top level again and believes that is possible at Portsmouth.

He said: “I’m loving it down there. We’ve started so brightly and we’re looking for promotion.

“We’re trying to get the football club back to where it belongs. Why can’t we do it at Portsmouth?

“Ipswich are doing really well (in the Championship after going up from League One last season) and if we can get promoted, why not?

“Portsmouth is a Premier League football club and should never be in League One.

“I believe I can play in the Premier League. If you don’t think that, you’re in the wrong sport.”

Rob Page has revealed Charlie Savage will be staying with the Wales squad for the Euro 2024 qualifier with Croatia on Sunday.

Savage, the 20-year-old son of former Wales midfielder Robbie, made his full senior debut on Wednesday as the Dragons cruised to a 4-0 friendly win over Gibraltar in Wrexham.

The Reading midfielder was due to join up with the under-21 side ahead of their European Championship qualifier away to the Czech Republic on Friday.

But Savage and Wycombe central defender Joe Low – who also made his senior debut against Gibraltar – will remain with Page’s squad ahead of the vital Croatia clash in Cardiff.

“We’ll keep Savage and Joe, not just off the back of tonight,” said Wales manager Page. “They’ve done themselves the world of good.

“Sav has earned the right to be with us and I’ve got a lot of time for Joe.

“He’s earned the right to be there with injuries we’ve got.”

Savage claimed an assist for a Kieffer Moore header as Wales brushed aside Gibraltar with all four goals coming in the first half.

Bournemouth striker Moore scored twice to take his Wales goals tally to 12, the same number as Ryan Giggs and one fewer than John Toshack.

Ben Davies, who wore the armband in the absence of injured captain Aaron Ramsey, and Nathan Broadhead were also on target.

“He has taken my advice and left,” Page said of Savage’s move from Manchester United to Sky Bet League One outfit Reading in the summer.

“It must have been hard for him. I spoke to Rob who had to leave United to go to Crewe. It’s no different for Charlie.

“He did it because he’s playing week in week out in competitive football. He trains as he plays and has personality. We blocked Robbie from speaking to him all week which was a big achievement.

“Joking aside, Rob has got his back, he’ll look after him. He’s got his feet on the ground.

“Sav’s best position is an old-fashioned box to box eight. The ball for Kieffer was first class, right on his head. He showed he can do both sides of it and he’s a great talent.”

Wales’ comfortable win saw them secure back-to-back victories for the first time since November 2021.

“The results were not great in June, but it’s how you bounce back and we did that in September with class (winning 2-0 in Latvia),” Page said.

“The environment is brilliant. We won’t get carried away beating Gibraltar, but I see work in progress.

“My challenge to them was to be clinical and we were. We have to put it all together on Sunday.

“We picked a team here knowing what we’ll face on Sunday.

“From the first minute on camp we knew the team we’d pick here and we know the team on Sunday. We are ready and can’t wait for Sunday’s game.”

Wes Burns has returned to Ipswich and will be assessed by his club after the wing-back suffered an arm injury that forced him off in the early stages against Gibraltar.

Wales warmed up for Euro 2024 qualifying action by cruising to a 4-0 win over Gibraltar in Wrexham.

All the goals came in the first half as Kieffer Moore scored twice with Ben Davies and Nathan Broadhead also getting on the scoresheet.

After last month’s victory in Latvia, it was the first time Wales had achieved back-to-back wins since November 2021.

The performance, especially the opening period, will encourage Wales manager Rob Page ahead of the vital qualifier against Croatia on Sunday, even if Gibraltar’s standing in world football must be taken into account.

This was the maiden meeting between the two nations at senior level and also marked Wales’ return to the SToK Racecourse for the first time since beating Trinidad and Tobago there in 2019.

The Football Association of Wales were rewarded with a sell-out crowd of 10,008 as fans in the north showed their appetite to support the national team.

Page rested several regulars with the Croatia fixture in mind, when Wales will realistically need at least a point to keep alive hopes of automatic qualification for next summer’s European Championship finals in Germany.

Davies took over the captaincy in the absence of the injured Aaron Ramsey, the Tottenham defender winning his 81st cap as Gibraltar played the 81st match in their history.

Charlie Savage, the 20-year-old son of former Wales midfielder Robbie, Joe Low, Regan Poole and Liam Cullen were handed first caps.

Savage, in particular, could be satisfied with his night’s work as he showed composure in possession and exhibited a good range of passing.

Gibraltar came into the game 198th in the world with only nine nations below them on FIFA’s rankings table.

Preparing to play the Republic of Ireland in Euro qualification on Monday, Gibraltar had suffered six straight defeats and not scored since a 1-0 friendly win over Andorra 11 months ago.

The loudest cheer in the opening minutes came when Savage evoked memories of his father with a crunching, but fair, challenge on Tjay De Barr that left the Gibraltar forward on the floor.

Broadhead was off target with a couple of efforts before Wales took the lead after 22 minutes from an unlikely source.

Skipper Davies rose highest from Broadhead’s corner and Gibraltar’s fallibility in the air was punished again when Moore met Savage’s cross to score expertly off a post.

Daniel James, on early for the injured Wes Burns, was causing havoc down the left and forced a sprawling save from Dayle Coleing.

The over-worked Gibraltar goalkeeper also denied Savage twice and Liam Walker cleared another Davies effort off the line.

Broadhead then took James’ 35th-minute pass and turned smartly to find the top corner of Coleing’s net with a sweet right-footed strike.

Cullen twice went close and the fourth arrived on the stroke of half-time as James scampered free again to deliver a perfect cross for the waiting head of Moore.

Page made a raft of substitutions at half-time and the contest lost much of its rhythm.

The changes also removed the possibility of Wales eclipsing their record 11-0 win against Ireland in 1888.

Tom Bradshaw was inches from connecting with a Josh Sheehan cross that flashed across goal, but the second half was largely a nondescript affair.

James shook the crowd from their slumber with an angled effort that rattled the woodwork, but Wales had already achieved their objectives heading into Sunday.

Phil Parkinson branded Bradford’s penalty a “nothing incident” as he expressed frustration at the officials in their Carabao Cup second-round exit but was pleased with his Wrexham players.

Tyler Smith’s spot-kick inside three minutes put Bradford ahead but Will Boyle’s header took the game to a shoot-out.

Mark Howard saved Dan Oyegoke’s effort, but Luke Young missed and Harry Lewis saved James Jones’s penalty as the Bantams won 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Parkinson was frustrated with the decision to penalise Aaron Hayden’s challenge on Jamie Walker and doubted if referee Ben Speedie saw the incident.

He said: “For an absolutely nothing incident, the ref has given a penalty. He’s got four players in between him and the incident and he’s told me it was him who gave it, but there is absolutely no way he can see it so he’s clearly guessed.

“The linesman has got the best view of all and is mic’d up and is supposed to communicate and the officials are supposed to work as a team. I feel a little bit aggrieved by how that decision has come about, but we have to take it on the chin and we had to respond and I thought the lads responded really well.”

Bradford boss Mark Hughes said: “I think apart from one good save in the first half when Harry saved with his shins and the goal, we tried to keep that one out but it’s difficult with the big lads and we were lacking a little bit of size and weight tonight, but I thought the lads were excellent.

“In my view we fully deserved to win the game in normal time. Obviously you worry when you get to penalties because it can go either way but it was the right result.”

Bradford reached the Carabao Cup third round by beating Wrexham 4-3 on penalties after a 1-1 draw.

Tyler Smith’s penalty inside three minutes handed Bradford the advantage but Will Boyle equalised to take the game to spot-kicks.

Dan Oyegoke’s effort was saved by Mark Howard, but Luke Young missed and James Jones’s penalty was stopped by Harry Lewis to send the Bantams through.

Bradford’s early spot-kick came when Aaron Hayden brought down Jamie Walker and Smith buried, the goalscorer being denied a second by Howard not long after.

In response Jake Bickerstaff’s effort landed inches wide on the quarter-hour, while Lewis kept out Ryan Barnett’s shot and Ben Tozer’s header in quick succession.

Brad Halliday blocked Sam Dalby’s header on the line as Wrexham went close, before Bickerstaff’s later low effort fizzed inches wide.

Emmanuel Osadebe curled a glorious effort over before the hour for Bradford and Halliday later squandered a one-on-one chance wide.

Boyle made the Bantams pay as he emphatically headed home Young’s corner with fewer than 20 minutes left as penalties followed.

Matt Derbyshire, Richie Smallwood, Adam Wilson and Halliday scored for Bradford, while Elliot Lee, Ollie Palmer and James McClean netted for Wrexham.

Former England international Ben Foster has retired from football for a second time.

Ex-Watford and Manchester United goalkeeper Forster walked away from the game last September, but was convinced to end his retirement and sign for Wrexham in March.

Foster saved a stoppage-time penalty against title-rivals Notts County the following month before Wrexham sealed promotion to Sky Bet League Two later in April, but he has now called time on his career following a difficult start to the new campaign.


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He earned cult status during his second spell with the Welsh club for his spot-kick heroics in the 3-2 win over Notts County and agreed to remain part of co-owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s ambitions plans to haul Wrexham up the divisions when he signed a one-year contract in June.

Foster has found life tough in League Two though, conceding five goals in Wrexham’s opening-day loss to MK Dons and he shipped five again in a 5-5 draw with Swindon on Saturday.

The 40-year-old has now confirmed his retirement and told the official club website: “The honest truth is that my performances this season haven’t reached the level I demand of myself and I feel that now is the right time to retire.

“At the forefront of my mind when making this decision was not only what was best for me but also the club, and making the decision now gives the club every opportunity to assess their options before the window closes.

“Wrexham will always have a special place in my heart.”

Reynolds said on Twitter: “He built memories I’ll never let go of for as long as I live. I love this guy. Thank you for everything, Ben.”

Foster started his career at non-league outfit Racing Club Warwick in 2000 before representing Stoke, Manchester United, Birmingham, West Brom and Watford across more than two decades in the game.

He made 390 appearances in the Premier League and played eight times for England, featuring in the 2014 World Cup under Roy Hodgson.

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson added: “Ben has been the model professional while at Wrexham and has done everything we have asked of him.

“I am sure I speak for everyone, when thanking him for his contribution that went far beyond that one magnificent penalty save against Notts County to help us gain promotion last season.

“Wrexham AFC was a better place for having Ben Foster around the club.”

Tom Brady and Michael B Jordan investing into British football clubs shows "everybody wants a piece" of the beautiful game, so says Justin Kluivert. 

A-list Hollywood actor Jordan invested into Bournemouth last year, while NFL great Brady, one of the most successful sportspeople on the planet, recently put money into Championship club Birmingham City.

Jordan's investment helped Bournemouth stave off relegation from the Premier League last season, and the Cherries have made some big signings this transfer window.

Kluivert, son of former Milan, Barcelona and Newcastle United star Patrick Kluivert, has been among those additions, with the 24-year-old joining from Roma.

While he has not yet met Jordan, Kluivert believes the superstar's investment is evidence of football's attraction.

"Of course, football is the most beautiful sport there is," Kluivert said in an exclusive interview with Stats Perform.

"So everybody knows that and everybody wants a piece of that, and that's beautiful."

Kluivert also referenced the growth of women's football, as well as the influx of star players to the Saudi Pro League, as proof that football is continuously developing.

"You see it also with women's football how big that's getting, and it's only getting bigger and bigger," he added.

"Now you can see in Saudi Arabia, this league is going to be very good. I think in America [too], so it's going global, very big.

"I think everybody's going to want a piece of that and love football, and love to watch it and love to be part of it. Yeah, that's nice."

Jordan is not the only Hollywood star to have invested into a club, with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney having grown Wrexham into a global brand following their takeover of the Welsh team in 2020.

Wrexham boss Phil Parkinson was delighted with his side’s clarity during the penalty shoot-out after beating Wigan in the first round of the Carabao Cup.

Charlie Hughes and Thelo Aasgaard both smashed their spot-kicks over the bar as the League One Latics crashed out of the competition.

It was Wrexham’s first success of the season after their return to the English Football League got under way with a 5-3 defeat to MK Dons on Saturday.

And Parkinson, whose run to the final of this competition with Bradford in 2013 included a shoot-out victory over a then Premier League Wigan, said: “We practised penalties and the instructions were clear – ‘don’t try and be clever’. The lads stuck to that.

“It would be great to have a cup run, but it was great to get our season up and running. We deservedly got through.

“We were hurting after the weekend because we don’t like losing and aren’t used to it.

“We had the better chances and we probably should have won it in normal time.

“It was really important to get going again as a team. It’s a nice boost for us after the weekend.”

The Latics barely created a clear-cut chance despite having the majority of possession.

Boss Shaun Maloney said: “We didn’t do enough to win the game.

“In fairness to Wrexham, they executed the penalties better than we did.

“I don’t think there was a hangover from Saturday, we just weren’t that aggressive. We had a lot of possession, but we struggled to break them down.

“We weren’t at the level. We don’t really take any positives from tonight, but it’s a lesson learned.

“We’ve got two young kids who have missed. They’ll have to remember the hurt and make sure it’s a different outcome when they next step up to take them.”

English Football League new boys Wrexham dumped out Wigan on penalties as they reached the second round of the Carabao Cup for the first time in 16 years.

The hosts dominated but were held to a goalless draw in normal time before winning the shoot-out 4-2.

Charlie Hughes and Thelo Aasgaard both hit their spot-kicks high over the crossbar as the Latics crashed out.

Jake Bickerstaff squandered a big early chance for Wrexham when his overhead kick missed the target with Wigan goalkeeper Sam Tickle stranded after committing to a missed punch.

Home striker Ollie Palmer then nodded over 10 minutes before half-time.

Moments later, Tickle kept out James Jones’ strike before the onrushing Callum McFadzean inexplicably poked the rebound over with the goal at his mercy.

Dominant Wrexham had the first opportunity of the second half as Palmer powered an effort wide after cutting in from the left.

Tickle produced a brilliant double save to first keep out Bickerstaff’s strike before smothering Jordan Davies’ follow up.

Bickerstaff made it a trio of missed chances when he fired straight at Tickle, but his blushes were spared by a shoot-out win, with Luke Young, Elliot Lee, Thomas O’Connor and Sam Dalby all scoring for the hosts.

Wrexham’s ‘USA invasion’ has won hearts and minds this summer as Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s club continue their seemingly inexorable rise.

Last July’s pre-season got under way at Nantwich Town, whereas this time more than 50,000 were in attendance in North Carolina as the EFL new boys began preparations for life in League Two against Chelsea.

A 4-0 victory against LA Galaxy II followed before taking on Manchester United’s youngsters in San Diego, where Wrexham’s impact meant that, incredibly, they felt like the home team at times.

Goalkeeper Nathan Bishop was booed mercilessly by fans for injuring star striker Paul Mullin, while fireworks and Wrexham celebrations filled the air as Phil Parkinson’s men took a two-goal lead at sold-out Snapdragon Stadium.

Elliot Lee and Aaron Hayden scored before Marc Jurado reduced the deficit for United, only for Sam Dalby to wrap up a 3-1 win after Dan Gore received a harsh-looking red.

McElhenney looked in dreamland as his team soared in San Diego – a night when fellow owner Reynolds was absent due to filming Deadpool 3 in London.

This summer’s US tour is the latest chapter in a remarkable story that has seen Wrexham go from the National League quagmire to become one of the world’s most talked about teams in 30 months.

Reynolds and McElhenney put the club on the map with the critically acclaimed FX docuseries ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ and have overseen a rapid improvement in fortunes.

The second series starts in September and documents last season’s dramatic National League triumph, when they pipped Notts County to the title and ended their 15 years in non-league.

Viewers across the world have been hooked and Wrexham players have become stars, with thousands of the club’s new fans making journeys from across the US to catch a glimpse of their heroes over the past fortnight.

Keri Eaton, who took the 90-minute flight from Salt Lake City, Utah with husband Todd to be in San Diego, said: “As soon as I heard Rob and Ryan bought the team I did a deep dive.

“I was really excited and kind of just spiralled from there. I watched as many games as I could.

“I like the fact that they were kind of at the top and then have been the underdogs for so long.

“Then to turn around and have owners that come in that are passionate, and not only care about the club but the town. That’s what I fell in love with.”

The American fans’ passion was palpable and their interest visible, with queues for merchandise snaking around the ground. The impressive engagement with fans also came with reminders of their home 3,800 miles away.

Every sign was in Welsh as well as English, with a food truck outside the stadium serving free Welsh rarebit and Welsh cake. Supplies ran out long before kick-off.

Wrexham’s fan fest offered a chance to see if supporters could take a throw-in like captain Ben Tozer and visit a giant mock-up of The Turf – the much-loved pub next door to the Racecourse Ground.

Landlord Wayne Jones features regularly on ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ and still struggles to get his head around the whole experience.

“I’m proud, I guess, but it’s just surreal, isn’t it? You know, it’s crazy, it’s bonkers,” he told the PA news agency. “This is the third one now – obviously we had one in Chapel Hill, one in LA and now we’ve got one in beautiful San Diego.

“Bonkers, just insane. Everybody’s enjoying themselves and the weather is a lot nicer here than it is in Wrexham, right? Having a whale of a time.

“People ask me all the time if life has changed. You know, I’m just the same person. I’ll be cleaning the toilets this time next week, for example.

“But I’m in San Diego, with a mock-up Turf with thousands of fans all cheering on Wrexham, so of course life has changed but it’s all for the better.

“All I really cared about was that the football team continues to grow and becomes better, and the town is thriving, and that continues.”

To underline that how surreal Jones’ life has become, Californian brothers David and Chris Hudson were quick to get a photo with the landlord inside the giant mock-up of his pub.

“It’s the real underdog thing,” Chris, from Fresno said of his passion for Wrexham. “I really got into soccer during the pandemic so it just kind of all came along all at the right time for me.

“Then all of a sudden there was this show on TV and then I’m hooked. What can I say?”

David, who lives in Los Angeles, added: “Total underdog story, promotion and relegation.

“I mean, how can you not root for someone in the National League trying to come up? It’s just a great story.”

The pair would wait with bated breath for the next episode to drop on Disney+ and are excited for League Two action after streaming National League games at awkward times.

As for the possibility of Wrexham securing back-to-back promotions, David said: “A lot of the soccer pundits say we have got a chance… Wrexham, I can’t say we.”

Chris – wearing a red Wrexham t-shirt featuring a dragon – interjected, saying as he put a hand on his brother’s shoulder: “Oh no, we’re part of it now.” Ends

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