As the saying goes, it’s the hope that kills you as a soccer fan – just ask Ryan Reynolds.
The Hollywood actor experienced the full spectrum of emotions on Sunday as he watched Wrexham – the club Reynolds co-owns with Rob McElhenney – draw 3-3 against Sheffield United in a thrilling FA Cup encounter.
Reynolds traveled to the non-league club in north Wales to watch his team play in the fourth-round of the historic competition.
The FA Cup is a tournament that pits teams from all levels of the football pyramid against each other and often throws up unlikely results.
Excited to write another chapter in the history books, Reynolds interacted with fans in the build-up to the match that was broadcast live in the US on ESPN.
Then, along with nearly 10,000 fans inside the Racecourse Ground, the 46-year-old actor was at the mercy of a rollercoaster ride which saw Wrexham come within a whisker of a famous win.
‘One of the most exciting things’
The game started badly for Wrexham as the Welsh team went behind within the first two minutes.
But inspired by an incredible atmosphere inside the stadium, Wrexham fought back in the second half to take a 2-1 lead.
The roar that greeted Wrexham’s goals was testament to the culture the club’s new ownership has helped establish since taking over, as fans started to believe in a soccer miracle occurring underneath the floodlights.
Reynolds looked to have lost all sense of composure, hugging friends and family before celebrating with the fans around him.
But, as any soccer fan will tell you, the sport can be cruel and there were more twists and turns to come.
Sheffield United, which is a strong contender to be promoted into the Premier League next season, equalized shortly after Wrexham took the lead but then suffered a blow as Daniel Jebbison was sent off following an off-the-ball incident.
With its extra-man advantage, Wrexham looked on top and the underdog had seemingly progressed to the fifth round after the team’s star striker Paul Mullin made it 3-2 in the 86th minute.
Reynolds greeted Mullin’s goal with wild celebrations but this was game with a denouement straight out of a Hollywood script.
With one of the last kicks of the game, Sheffield United equalized through John Egan which denied Wrexham a memorable win – at least for now.
“That was one of the most exciting things I’ve EVER seen,” Reynolds said on Twitter after the game.
“Thank you each and every Wrexham supporter who came out and aimed your heart at that pitch tonight.”
The replay will take place on February 7 at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane with the winner hosting Tottenham in the next round.
McElhenney and Reynolds made headlines when they completed their takeover of the club in 2021, with ambitions of taking the Welsh side to the Premier League.
At the time of the takeover, Wrexham had been languishing outside the top four divisions of English football, known as the Football League, for over a decade.
The pair have already delivered a TV series – “Welcome to Wrexham” – which documents their time at the club as its emerges from obscurity and results on the pitch have also been improving as the owners continue to invest in the squad.
The team is currently leading the National League and, if it wins promotion, it will play in English football’s League Two next season.
Secure three more promotions after that and Wrexham will be playing in the Premier League.
Wrexham are one of a number of Welsh clubs that play in the English football league system due to being founded before the creation of the Welsh football league.
It’s a long way to go but the Hollywood pair seem content on sticking around. The team’s performance in the FA Cup so far this season certainly points to a successful future.
“We’re here now. We’re not going anywhere but up,” McElhenney tweeted after the game on Sunday.