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How Wrexham got promoted to the English Football League

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Wrexham’s fairytale story of recent years reached a crucial step in the final weeks of the 2022/23 season as they sealed promotion back into the English Football League (EFL).

The 2021 buyout catapulted the club to global attention as Hollywood megastars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney decided to make a bold investment in the Welsh minnows.

Reynolds and McElhenney have caused a wave of excitement around both the club and the town, as Wrexham fans looked to end years of misery in the National League (5th division), following a major cash injection from the duo. 

Fans at the famous Racecourse Ground have dreams of moving up the tiers of English football. The Premier League is the top flight (1st division), while Wrexham currently play in the National League (5th division) among many semi-professional teams.

Managed by Phil Parkinson, Wrexham impressively won the National League title (5th division) and secured automatic promotion to next season’s EFL League Two (4th division), avoiding a late collapse despite some nervous moments during the season.

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Wrexham currently play in the 5th tier of English football, and have now earned promotion to the 4th division. Here’s the outline of the men’s football pyramid in England with promotion and relegation between divisions: 

Wrexham have won the National League for 2022/23 and secured automatic promotion to EFL League Two. They achieved the title in their penultimate regular season match (total of 46 games played). 

Parkinson’s side clinched the title and promotion on April 22 with a home win against Boreham Wood.

Only the top team earns automatic promotion to the 4th tier (called EFL League Two). The other promoted team will emerge from the playoffs between the clubs that finish in 2nd to 7th place.

Unsurprisingly, Wrexham have never played in the Premier League — the top tier of English football — since the league’s inception in 1992/93.

The highest tier Wrexham have ever reached was the 2nd tier back in 1978. They spent three seasons there before dropping down to the 3rd tier and have never broken past that ceiling since.

However, other fellow Welsh sides have played in the top-tier Premier League with Swansea City playing in the top-flight for seven seasons between 2011 and 2018, and Cardiff City enjoying two single-season stays, in 2013/14 and 2018/19.

The buzz around Wrexham’s promotion is justified in the minds of their embattled fans, after spending the last 15 seasons in the 5th tier National League (previously called “Conference National”).

The club dropped out of EFL League Two (4th tier) down to the 5th tier at the end of the 2007/08 season after finishing rock bottom of 24 teams and they had been stuck there since.

The last time Wrexham tasted promotion of any kind and moved up a division was 2003, when they moved from the 4th tier to the 3rd tier of English football. 

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