Sports Gazette

The sports magazine brought to you by the next generation of sport writers

‘Everyone’s second club Wrexham’ make up almost half of EFL League Two’s Instagram following

‘Everyone’s second club’ Wrexham are a statistical anomaly amongst League Two clubs, making up almost half of the Instagram followers across all teams.

Wrexham followers

Credit: Gemma Thomas Photography

This comes after a 2926% increase in Instagram followers since new owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds took over in February 2021.

Wrexham now boast 1.2 million followers on the platform, compared to 2.6 million across all clubs, making up 45% of the following.

Play-off candidates Barrow are the least followed League Two side with 20,900 while the league average sits at 109,458.


Chris Swadling founded Mileone Sports, part of Mileone’s operations is to help clubs develop comprehensive media strategies and help to generate fan engagement and sponsorship value.

On Wrexham’s vast social media following, Chris said: “In terms of the benefits, a strong brand often correlates with stronger revenue.

“Someone like Ryan Reynolds being involved increases that brand equity and exposure which then in turn leads to things like Disney series, additional revenue from streaming providers, broadcasters.

“So number one is brand value, and the reason that they want to increase that profile is ultimately because that leads to a kind of net increase in revenue.

“The second is it means expanding the fan base right beyond regional markets. So the Premier League is a great example of this. It’s truly global. What a lot of clubs in the Premier League are now trying to do is target and tap into new audiences, all for the purpose of growing the global fan base to increase merchandising, sales, ticketing, broadcasting, and things like that.”

After the first series of their Disney show, for example, the club saw a £300,000 increase in retail sales.

The commitment to a global outlook took the Welsh club to America for their 2023 pre-season tour, playing four games across three states.

Goalkeeper Mark Howard joined the club from Carlisle in 2022 having played for clubs across the football league such as Sheffield United, Bolton and Blackpool.

Mark Howard

Mark Howard who also hosts ‘The Yours, Mine, Away! Podcast’ / Credit: Gemma Thomas Photography

Mark said: “The club is continuing to grow. I think we noticed that more when we went to pre-season in America, how we were received out there was just phenomenal.

“It was something that obviously playing in the lower tiers of the English football league, you just don’t get at any other clubs.

“We played Manchester United and Chelsea and half the fan base was there for us for each of these games and you just think that’s incredible to go across the pond and to say that we’re taking half the stadium off of a Chelsea or a Man United. The noise they made singing the Wrexham songs, it’s just bizarre, it’s bonkers.

“From the Disney show as well, off the field you are being recognised a bit. It’s just everything that goes with it, the club has become its own entity and I think it’s everybody’s second club.”

The Red Dragons’ social media growth isn’t exclusive to Instagram. Their largest following comes from TikTok, the club’s shirt sponsor, where they have accumulated 1.5 million followers since starting from scratch in 2021.

Last year’s National League champions have also seen a 900% uptick in Facebook followers and 700% increase on Twitter, which was originally their largest followed platform in 2021 with 79,589 followers.

Continuing to detail the benefits of this improved brand, Chris said: “You can attract top talent and retain and hire the best people in the business.

“For example, take a chief executive officer (CEO) deciding to work for Manchester United or Bournemouth. Ultimately, it’s probably the heritage, tradition and scale of a club like Manchester United that would often draw the top talent in.

“So I think part of the ploy to grow a global brand is so that you’re able to attract the best people as well.”

Phil Parkinson’s side have been able to recruit a collection of vastly experienced players, including some that have reached Premier League level, to help them vie for back-to-back promotions.

Mark said: “James McClean is the biggest professional I’ve ever met, he’s constantly in the gym before and after training, he’s the hardest worker, he runs the most, he’s a freak of nature let’s be honest about it.

“He’s so disciplined into the lifestyle that is being a professional footballer that everyone should look at him, no matter what age you are, you look at how hard he works and think ‘wow that’s impressive!’”

Now 34-years-old, McClean made over 150 Premier League appearances with Sunderland and West Bromwich Albion.

Wrexham aren’t the only League Two club to have high-profile owners and a TV docuseries. Salford City caught headlines when they were taken over by members of the Manchester United class of 92’ and landed a series on BBC.

Talking about how Wrexham have been able to exceed even a club such as this, in terms of both social media following and in the league table, Mark said: “The way that the club has been built and the disappointment the club has had in the last 15 years, everything’s built to this moment when the owners took over and it just seems like the momentum is with us.

“They’re trying to do everything off the field and on the field, the manager knows the leagues, how to grind out results and assemble a squad that will look after themselves and look after each other.”


  • Eduardo Tansley

    Trying to tell stories he would want to read, whether that's Dominican football or British basketball, Eduardo has interviewed sports people from CEOs to athletes on the rise. @tansleyeduardo