It’s worth Mullin over a fourth-tier story with more than one fairytale
League Two is no longer a penniless backwater.
Paul Mullin has a book out just in time for Christmas. Not bad for a League Two striker with four goals to his name – Matt Smith, Jake Young and Isaac Olaofe are no doubt approaching publishers as we speak.
In fairness to Mullin, he plays for Wrexham and his autobiography features testimony from Ryan Reynolds and the other one plus cameos from Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd. Which means Mullin is not your average ‘average League Two striker’ and Wrexham are not your average League Two side.
The club that turned non-league promotion dreams into reality TV is now working on the sequel, unbeaten in eight games and second in the table going into tomorrow’s home clash with Morecambe.
Often a place of limited finances, poor crowds and incompetence, the basement of the Football League is now home to a slew of ambitious clubs with real money behind them, several of them well-known to Mullin and Co.
The first series of Welcome to Wrexham finished with our heroes devastated to miss out on promotion. The winners of the National League that season, Stockport County, are the current leaders of League Two and thumped Wrexham 5-0 in September.
Like the north Welsh side, County have done their time in the non-league wilderness, slipping into the National League North and going part-time before local businessman Mark Stott bankrolled a return to the EFL. They even had their own version of Mullin, with Fleetwood’s all-time top scorer Paddy Madden persuaded to go non-league by the offer of a three-year contract.
The second series of the show featured the season-long race with Notts County – revived under Danish owners Alexander and Christoffer Reedtz – for the title. Eventually both were promoted and the anti-hero is back this time, with Notts sitting just three points behind Phil Parkinson’s men after a recent wobble.
Gillingham don’t have the romantic backstory but they do have the money, with American benefactor Brad Galinson investing serious sums in the squad since taking charge 11 months ago. The Gills were flying high early on but sacked Neil Harris on October 5 ‘to go in a different direction’. With four defeats from six games since, I’ll let you complete the punchline.
Elsewhere, the Class of 92’s Salford, themselves former reality TV darlings, are mired in mid-table, while the 30,000-seater home of MK Dons also hosts mediocrity and Bradford City’s 15,000 season-ticket holders watch a team languishing in 18th.
No longer a sleepy backwater, League Two is home to big crowds, serious money and genuine ambition, all adding up to a competitive promotion race which should be worth watching – and reading – about.