Rob McElhenney’s face took physical toll after stress of owning Wrexham

Welcome to Wrexham season 2 official trailer

Wrexham AFC owner Rob McElhenney has opened up on the tolls that come with being in charge of a professional football club. The 46-year-old became the co-owner of the team in 2021, along with fellow Hollywood actor Ryan Reynolds, and has since revealed that the “stress” of the job made his eyes “swollen up like I’m a prize-fighter.”

Wrexham have endured a mixed run since McElhenney and Reynolds became involved in the club. The pair’s first season involved in the club ended in a failure to gain promotion from the national league. And the emotional toll of the journey took its toll on McElhenney, something he only got over when the team guaranteed promotion.

“You, intellectually, know what happened,” he told The Athletic. “But you emotionally, almost forget. With my nervous system, I still feel the anxiety from the end of the Notts County game. I’ve mentioned in one of the episodes that I had a massive double style.

However, last season saw the team perform admirably and gain promotion to League Two following a 15-year absence and a 45-year trophy drought – breaking a new record for the most points earned in a season (111) in the process.

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“You can see them in the documentary. My eyes are swollen up like I’m a prize fighter. That was simply due to the stress. In watching some of the footage, I felt a lot of those things coming back, even though I knew it was a happy ending.”

Since gaining promotion, Wrexham currently sits fourth in League Two. Only a narrow goal difference separates the side with fellow newly promoted team Notts County.

Wrexham have enjoyed a good run of form with nine wins, six draws and just three defeats so far – but the start of the season didn’t go quite to plan. The Red Dragons only won two of their opening five league games and saw star striker Paul Mullin suffer a long injury in a pre-season game against Manchester United.

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“The beginning of the season did not go to plan,” McElhenney added. “Not when you have your superstar striker, who the team is built around, suffers a punctured lung and broken ribs, meaning he can’t leave the United States and see his family.

“That was a very big moment of adversity for Paul, most importantly, and his family. But also the club. We then wind up back at the Racecourse [for the opening game against MK Dons].

Let the coronation begin. And we get absolutely thumped [a 5-3 defeat]! I’m pretty sure the first episode will be titled something like, ‘Welcome to the EFL, be careful what you wish for…’.

“But that is what is so compelling about sport. It is a living organism. There is no end. There was a beginning; that was in 1864 [when Wrexham were formed], so we are right in the middle of the story.

“We believe we are just a new chapter in the beginning of something great. But what will make season three so compelling is you don’t know how we are going to fare.”

Wrexham is hoping to climb further up the table when they face Morecambe on Saturday (November 25) at the Racecourse Ground.

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