WREXHAM are the team to beat since becoming a global sensation but Mark Howard says that has only fired the players up even more.

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney became owners at The Racecourse in February 2021 and a documentary titled Welcome To Wrexham, chronicling the purchase and stewardship of the club by the duo, has now entered it’s third series.

The Reds have become a hit on the small screen and although other teams are even more eager to get one over Phil Parkinson’s side, there has been success on the pitch to celebrate.

Wrexham clinched the National League title following a record-breaking 2022-23 campaign and followed it up by securing a top-three finish in League Two this season, making it back-to-back promotions for the first time in the club’s history, proof says Howard that the players won’t let rivals ruin the football fairytale.

“There is a lot from opposition players, staff and fans. We hear it and see it. But we like it,” said experienced goalkeeper Howard, who made seven league appearances this term as Wrexham finished runners-up behind champions Stockport County.

“We know it’s already in their heads, we know we have a slight edge on them as we have rattled them before the game starts.

“The comments are going on weekly. We find it a bit funny that we have got to people. It’s a motivational tool that people try to throw in our faces but we are accustomed to it.

“For this level it’s been a bit of a media circus but it’s something as players, and I will include the staff in that, that we are all used to.

“We have all embraced it. A lot of players use that against us. For the documentary style show, they all want to be the villain who ruins the episode of Welcome to Wrexham. A lot of the away teams want to ruin the party.”

Howard, who played for the likes of Sheffield United, Bolton Wanderers, Blackpool and Carlisle United before joining Wrexham in the summer of 2022, says Reynolds and McElhenney have proved becoming co-owners of a football club was not a gimmick and the duo are in it for the long-run.

“It’s not and has never been just a short-term thinking,” said Howard.

“The owners have tried to improve every aspect of the town, let alone the club. That’s for everyone to see. We are constantly improving and evolving.

“The dressing room has been renovated, the physio room has been done up and the ground now has a new stand. They are constantly looking to find a new training base.

“It’s all top quality. They also want to build with the academy to develop and bring in players and they want to improve the women’s game as well. Nobody is standing still.

“The club has been on a journey since I joined so to be part of that story has been epic. There’s a big media wrap around because of the two owners but it’s been amazing to be part of.

“It’s a club that is building and will only get bigger and better.”

Howard witnessed at first hand how popular Wrexham are on the other side of the pond after heading to America for a pre-season tour last summer where the Reds played some high-profile friendlies.

“We saw in America last year the popularity and that would only have increased,” said the 37-year-old.

“We were playing the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea and we had an equal fan base which is unbelievable to see as players.

“Wrexham in America? Before the owners took over that would never have been a thing. We are going back there this summer and there will be more high-profile games.”

Wrexham are being backed to continue climbing the divisions under Deadpool star Reynolds and McElhenney, best known for his role as Ronald “Mac” McDonald on comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

Howard, who has been offered a new contract, refuses to get carried away knowing it will be tougher for the Reds in League One next term.

“We’re not making predictions about the Premier League but exciting times lie ahead,” he added.

“Momentum is huge in football. Our target will be to continue to build. We won’t be making big predictions as that is not us. League One is a lot tougher and a bigger ask as there are a lot of big clubs with history.

“The levels get harder but we will try and continue to push on. We have been accustomed to winning. You never know what will happen.

"The owners have shown they will give the backing so it’s exciting times and who knows where it will take us.”

Howard was speaking to OLBG - https://www.olbg.com