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Schoolboy, 16, bangs the drum for promoted Wrexham

2023-06-01 18:10:12 source:CBS News author:Press center3 click:538order

Behind Wrexham's army of vocal fans singing for their team is a teenage boy making sure they all keep to the beat.

Drummer Mannie Thomas, 16, has been keeping the rhythm for Wrexham's fans - home and away - for four years.

Mannie's older brother was the previous drummer but, once he got hold of the drumsticks, he was not letting go.

"As soon as I hit it I thought 'this is how I want to support Wrexham for the rest of my life'," he said.

He conducts the team's most fervent supporters in chants and songs before, during and after the game.

Sometimes they march outside the ground in a bid to make the atmosphere "loud and hostile" for the opposition.

It was most notable during Wrexham's last home game of the season when their 3-1 victory against Boreham Wood secured promotion and a return to the English Football League after a 15-year absence.

"We aim to provide a European kind of atmosphere, where we have pre-match displays and displays that will motivate the players as they emerge on to the pitch," said Mannie.

"I think them 30 seconds when the players come out, that can win a football match." 

Mannie was a regular at the Racecourse - alongside his dad and brother - well before Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took ownership in 2021.

"A few seasons ago Wrexham were on the verge of going down to the National League North, and that would have broke us and I would have still been there," he said.

But he would not turn down an opportunity to have a one-on-one conversation with the Hollywood owners.

"To have that interaction with them and to tell them what they've done for me, for my family and the whole town, it would be a dream come true," he said.

"I'd tell them 'you have made my life better, you have filled my life with happiness', and the fact that Wrexham are now where they belong - that's thanks to them."

Many of his peers at school share his pride in the football club.

They are excited for Tuesday's open-top bus parade around the city centre, which will celebrate Wrexham Women's promotion to the Adran Premier league, as well as the success of the men's team.

"I'm looking forward to it - it's going to be amazing, the atmosphere," said Bethan, 13.

She feels the owners have grasped the importance of the club to the area.

"After coming here a few times, I think they've understood more what it means to everyone," she said.

Football is "a massive part of Wrexham", according to Ffion, also 13.

Fellow pupil Henry, 13, said the scenes at the win against Boreham Wood on 22 April were "wonderful".

"It just felt amazing, seeing all the people crying and emotional," he said.

Mannie feels that the city is keeping itself grounded although the club now attracts more overseas fans, following the success of the Disney+ documentary, Welcome to Wrexham.

"The sense of humour, especially, of Wrexham, has not changed whatsoever," said Mannie.

So what does Mannie think of the team's recent success and the next step into League 2?

"To play for this club, you're very, very lucky."

author:Press center9
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