Phil Parkinson has his mind set on ending 15 years of pain on Saturday as Wrexham look to seal their long-awaited return to the Football League.
Victory over playoff chase Boreham Wood at the Racecourse Ground would secure the National League title and a return to League Two for the first time since 2008.
For all the Hollywood buzz and international attention that has arisen since Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought the club in late 2020, go back to 2011 and an unpaid £200,000 tax bill led to a settlement petition. The promotion would be a reward for those who kept Wrexham alive.
“There have been 15 years of pain in the town and the club,” said the coach. “The club has had many difficult moments and we have had supporters who followed the club at home and away during all those difficult periods.
“I totally understand what it means to everyone. There are fans who have been incredibly loyal and passionate behind the club. The whole city and area have supported the club and it would be very special if we could finish the job.”
Parkinson, 55, previously earned promotion at Colchester, Bolton and Bradford, and also guided the Bantams to the 2013 League Cup final while still in League Two.
But he said promotion with Wrexham would be “up there” among his achievements “because of the importance of getting a team back into the league.”
Tuesday’s 3-0 win over Yeovil put Wrexham on the brink of a promotion that had seemed in their hands since a 3-2 win over nearest rivals Notts County on 10 April put them in the bottom 10. top of a tense title race.
The excitement is obvious at Wrexham, with players mobbed by fans seeking autographs and selfies as they arrived for a post-training gym session on Thursday morning.
Parkinson is trying to keep things “normal” in preparation for Saturday’s game, but admitted that nothing is really normal in life at a National League club that boasts its own Netflix series, and which hosted the King Carlos and the Queen Consort for a visit. late last year among a number of celebrities.
All of that could be distracting, but securing the promotion would prove otherwise.
“They’ve come through very well,” Parkinson said of his players. “They have enjoyed it.
“It goes back to drafting, bringing in players who would accept that. We are a very unusual National League club with an incredible spotlight on every game.”
With the spotlight having been on Wrexham for so long, the extra attention this captivating title race has drawn has perhaps been easier to handle.
“It has almost become normal,” added captain Ben Tozer. “For some people on the outside it may seem a bit like a circus, but now we are so used to it.
“Even with the cameras around every day, even I feel very comfortable with it. At first I didn’t like it, but it has become normal.
“The pressure has always been there. We have always pushed ourselves.”
Wrexham have already set an English professional record with their tally of 107 points, still with two games to play, but Notts County’s own form means there is still work to be done.
“Everyone would rather have won the league by March, that’s the way it is, people want things to be easy,” Tozer said of the fight.
“But if you want to win a league it is difficult, you have to do things well day after day. It’s been great to have that pressure. We’ve both been pushing each other.
“It’s been a bit like (Lionel) Messi and (Cristiano) Ronaldo, pushing each other. He’s been tough and he’s been good.”