The Wrexham striker who kicked off the Tories may have scored a costly own goal

Considering Paul Mullin scored 11 of the goals that helped propel Wrexham to second tier in the National League, a division from which they are desperate to gain promotion, one could be forgiven for assuming the powers that be at Racecourse Ground would wholeheartedly approve of any tweaks or tweaks their top goalscorer might consider implementing in an effort to improve their game.

On Tuesday morning, around the time Rishi Sunak stood behind a lectern promising the return of “integrity and accountability” to 10 Downing Street, Mullin chose to make a different kind of statement. On social media, the Liverpool-born striker showed off the boots he presumably intended to wear for his side’s victory from behind over Halifax that night. It started about the time our new prime minister was done handing out cabinet posts to the kind of slavish non-marks, shameless flip-flops and security-threatening hate mongers that suggested the return of “integrity and accountability” at 10 Downing Street could hardly be further from his mind.

Related: ‘Totally addictive’: How Wrexham took over Reynolds and McElhenney

Mullin’s Nike Air Zoom Mercurial boots had been personalized and bore the player’s name and number, as well as a likeness of the Liverpool skyline under the words ‘This Place’, a nod to the famous author -local singer-songwriter Jamie Webster. In a somewhat less subtle nod to the sense of outrage, desperation and anger felt by many in the UK as the Conservative Party continues to find new depths to plumb, they were also etched with the slogan ” F*** The Tories!” The photo, clearly taken at the Racecourse Ground, was met with almost unanimous approval, but Mullin’s playful display of dissent drew the ire of his employers. They were quick to point out that they wouldn’t have given permission for the impromptu photoshoot if they had known.

A club statement tut-tutting Mullin’s act of insubordination was drawn up and any plans the player had to lace up his pimped boots that night were dropped. It’s unclear who ordered or drafted the slap-down disassociating the club from what he described as an ‘unwelcome distraction’, but this chapter in Wrexham history will make for intriguing viewing when discussed by fans. owners, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, in the next season of their documentary series Welcome To Wrexham.

Predictably, Wrexham’s reaction to Mullin’s politicking created far more furor than the photos of the boots. The club was criticized by many who did not see the statement as being in line with the ‘blue-collar’ credentials of the largely working-class Welsh town which McElhenney says gave him the idea to invest in the club .

The day before, the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia star posed proudly for photos with staff at the Wrexham Foodbank, a charity he and Reynolds have supported since their takeover and one of 1,400 similar monuments in the UK austerity programs managed by The Trussell Trust. The photos were not captioned “F*** The Tories!” but they might as well have been. Wrexham, far from criticizing his co-owner for highlighting social inequality under the Conservative Party, took to his Twitter account to point it out.

We can only assume Wrexham allowed a different photo op at the Racecourse Ground in July, when local Tory MP Sarah Atherton posed alongside fellow Tory Jacob Rees-Mogg and Welsh secretary Robert Buckland. The resulting snaps certainly did not match the club’s recent line that, “while everyone is entitled to their own opinions, whether employers or supporters”, they would also “emphasize that an individual point of view cannot be fairly attributed as the point of view of everyone”. or the club itself.

But while the distance Wrexham have tried to put between them as a club and Mullin’s stunt may have seemed unduly harsh and unnecessarily obsequious towards those in power, there is a very good reason why they must keep the mild preservatives.

Atherton, elected in 2019 to what had been a secure Labor seat, was a driving force behind the Stadium for the North campaign in Wales. With his backing, Wrexham Council have made a bid to increase funding to redevelop the derelict Kop End at the racecourse and are waiting to see if his bid will be successful.

The stand has been unsuitable and unsafe for any purpose or occupancy since 2008, but a successful bid would see the County Borough of Wrexham receive £18million to cover the costs of transforming the Mold Road gateway in the city, which would include a 5,500-capacity stand, new projectors, improved media facilities, a 400-space multi-storey car park, and landscaping for a hotel and convention center. Supplemented by money from the club’s famous owners, it would mean North Wales could once again host international football, although the Wales men’s team’s preference for the Cardiff City Stadium means Wrexham no wouldn’t get high level matches.

Although hopes of receiving the funding are high given that the local MP is a Tory, a cynic might argue that Wrexham’s prospects of success may have taken a hit. When Atherton broached the subject of Wrexham’s candidacy at Prime Minister’s Questions in April, Boris Johnson said: ‘I will do what I can’, a promise almost certainly as fallacious as it is now moot given that he was banned from the back seats. Two prime ministers and the incumbent were questioned in the chamber this week over a surreptitious recording in which he told affluent Tory voters in Kent about steps he had taken to divert funding from much more deprived areas. Sunak, legendary for his inability to use a debit card, is suspected to be struggling to point to Wrexham on a map.

Given what’s at stake, Wrexham’s overreaction to one of their players publicly bashing the Tories is perhaps understandable, as they have no desire to publicly bite the hand they’re hoping for. eagerly feed them. Many Wrexham fans will share the sentiment sewn into Mullin’s boots and it is to be hoped the well-meaning striker they adore didn’t score what could prove to be a hugely costly own goal.

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