Wrexham paint town red with open-top bus parade after promotion to EFL

Ryan Reynolds and Wrexham celebrate league title with bus parade (1:41)

Wrexham celebrate their promotion back to the English Football League with an open top bus parade. (1:41)

Wrexham's Hollywood owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney ditched the star-studded Met Gala to join the Welsh soccer club's open-top bus victory parade on Tuesday as they celebrated their promotion to the English Football League.

Wrexham secured a fairytale return to the EFL following a 15-year absence last month after beating Boreham Wood 3-1 to win the National League with a game to spare.

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The dollop of Hollywood glitz has made Wrexham's promotion to League 2 one of the most unlikely and heart-warming stories for many a season.

Thousands of people gathered on Tuesday as the 159-year-old club's fans filled the streets with red and white smoke.

The size of the crowd meant the bus route had to be changed and the parade was extended before finishing at the club's Racecourse Ground later than scheduled.

Since being taken over by Reynolds and McElhenney in November 2020, Wrexham have become a club with global appeal, gaining international interest and new fans across the world.

Humphrey Ker, Wrexham's executive director, said the scenes proved again why the Hollywood pair took over the club, seeing a place with an incredible legacy and potential.

"And if you can activate both of those things, you get what you have today - crowds of people coming out to celebrate a historic championship in terms of points numbers, but also, in terms of restoring what we now belong to," he told the BBC.

On Monday, McElhenney, who is best known for his role in the long-running comedy "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," spoke with his fellow actors on the show and called the entire experience surreal.

"The surrealness of how large it seemed, like I was with Ryan and Elton John called to talk and congratulate us," McElhenney told the Always Sunny Podcast. "It's bizarre. The Prime Minister of the UK gave us a shout out in parliament, we heard from the king, I mean it's bizarre.

"I stayed out all night long with the players trying to keep up with their alcohol intake and I did pretty well. But they are large, young men. I got very drunk and had a blast. I was on camera the entire time, which is why I didn't say anything stupid.

"Shirts came off at one point and I was like, this is where the chairman keeps his shirt on."

The Welsh side were the first minor league side to feature on the hugely-popular FIFA video game in the 'rest of the world' category, while a Disney docuseries "Welcome to Wrexham" that followed the club's journey under the new owners was released.

The club attracted the attention of American tourists in Wales, with celebrities such as Will Ferrell and Hugh Jackman also turning up at games to show their support.

Wrexham said the parade was also to celebrate the achievements of their women's team, who achieved promotion to Adran Premier, the highest level of league competition for the women's game in Wales.

Sources confirmed to ESPN on Monday that the star owners would also take the team on a trip to Las Vegas to celebrate.

The club is set to play three summer friendlies in the U.S., with matches scheduled against Chelsea in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, on July 19, LA Galaxy II at their home in Carson, California on July 22 and Manchester United in San Diego on July 25.

Information from Reuters was used in this story.