Welcome to Wrexham: Star striker ‘Super’ Paul Mullin in profile

The second season of Welcome to Wrexham is about to drop on Disney+, recounting the latest exploits of the historic Welsh football club undergoing an improbable rejuvenation under new owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.

Initially reluctant to makes changes, the Hollywood actors quickly realised a complete rebuild was required in the summer of 2021 when the club narrowly failed to qualify for the playoffs, which would have given them a quick route out of the National League, English football’s lowly fifth tier.

Out went manager Dean Keates, his backroom staff and 11 senior players, in came Phil Parkinson – a promotion specialist talked into stepping into the dugout after a 90-minute phone call with McElhenney from Los Angeles – and a costly new striker, goal machine Paul Mullin.

Originally from Litherland, Merseyside, Mullin, now 28, had begun his career in the youth ranks of Everton and Liverpool before signing for Huddersfield Town. However, he never made a first team appearance for the Terriers and, after a short loan spell at Cheshire side Vauxhall Motors, Mullin was let go in 2014.

Instead, he established himself at Morecambe, scoring 25 goals in 122 appearances over three years.

After indifferent spells at Swindon Town (six goals in 40 games in 2017/18) and Tranmere Rovers (eight in 42 between 2018 and 2020), his career really ignited at Cambridge United, which began with a successful loan spell in January 2020.

“He’s exactly what you want from a striker… we want people with pace and power high up the pitch that can look after the ball and chase people down and set a pressing intensity for us,” Cambridge manager Mark Bonner said of his new signing at the time. “Paul is another one of those, he’ll come and graft.”

Mullin more than made good on that promise, scoring 32 in 46 games over the course of the Covid-disrupted 2020/21 season, catching the attention of McElhenny and Reynolds, who took the advice of their man on the ground Humphrey Ker to sign him at considerable expense.

Paul Mullin in action for Wrexham (Barrington Coombs/PA)
Paul Mullin in action for Wrexham (Barrington Coombs/PA)

As series one of Welcome to Wrexham documents, Mullin snapped at the offer of a lucrative contract in a part of the country closer to his family and hit the ground running, going on to score 32 goals in his debut season, winning the National League’s Golden Boot and Player of the Season awards even as the team narrowly missed out on promotion after an astonishing 4-5 loss to Grimsby in the playoff semi-finals.

In the 2022/23 campaign, the subject of season two of the show, Mullin made national headlines when he wore boots emblazoned with the immortal words “F*** the Tories!” and was chastised for it by the club (the same phrase is seen on a T-shirt in season one worn by Michael “Scoot” Hett, lead singer of local band the Declan Swans).

Mullin subsequently replaced the offending boots with ones carrying a more wholesome message of love for his infant son Albi, who had recently been diagnosed with autism.

The attacker would later praise Reynolds for reaching out to him after that news, commenting: “My little lad was sick and Ryan came over to help, to try and make him better.

“That’s the type of people they are, really cool people. They care about the players, the families, the staff and the club, more importantly.

“It’s nice of them as owners to keep in touch with the lads and check on how they are getting on. It means you’re going to produce for them on the pitch if you’re happy off it.”

As last season progressed, Wrexham went on an incredible FA Cup run to the fourth round, with Mullin – described as “f***ing dynamite” in one song from the terraces – scoring nine goals and going on to be the tournament’s top scorer, even without his side reaching the latter stages.

More significantly, they secured their long-desired promotion to League Two at the second time of asking under the new owners, the team driven on by Mullin’s incredible tally of 38 goals, the striker sealing the title with a brace in a 3-1 win over Boreham Wood that sparked a euphoric pitch invasion as the Racecourse Ground experienced its greatest moment in many a year.

Mullin’s haul for the season was bettered only by Notts County’s Macaulay Langstaff, who set a league record with an utterly phenomenal 42.

Triumphant – and with a well-earned contract extension in the bag – the hulking forward then suffered a serious setback in pre-season this summer when he sustained a punctured lung in an accidental clash with Manchester United reserve keeper Nathan Bishop during a friendly match in San Diego, California.

After being treated with oxygen and leaving the pitch on a stretcher, Mullin was forced to remain in the United States while he recuperated but surprisingly declined an offer to stay at McElhenney’s mansion.

“That offer was on the table but Paul, understandably, wanted to use this time to have a bit of a... Here’s the thing, I wouldn’t want to stay in my boss’s house for ten days to two weeks,” Ker explained to the RobRyanRed podcast.

“I think he was very grateful and no doubt will see plenty of Rob while he is in LA but he just wanted a bit of space to himself where he could concentrate on his recovery.”

He is now back in light training, Parkinson told The Athletic in late August, and should return to action soon.

Discussing Mullin earlier this year and the prospect of his receiving a call up to the Wales national team (he has a Welsh grandmother), manager Rob Page said: “I wouldn’t want to play against him, he’s a pain in the backside.

“Forget his goal scoring and his eye for goal, I like him because he’s a pain to play against. He’s like a rat, and I want that.”

For his part, Mullin has said of the chance to represent Wales: “I’m from Liverpool but I don’t class myself as English – far from it.

“I’d love to represent Wales. Being a part of Wrexham the last two years, I love the people of Wales.

“They’ve took me as one of their own and if I was lucky enough to get the opportunity I’d be ecstatic.”