Wrexham’s Paul Mullin punctures lung in not-so-friendly match with Manchester United

Wrexham striker Paul Mullin, center, grimaces after puncturing his lung
Wrexham star striker Paul Mullin grimaces after suffering a punctured lung Tuesday during a friendly against Manchester United at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)
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Wrexham AFC striker Paul Mullin suffered a punctured lung during a collision with Manchester United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop in a preseason friendly Tuesday night in San Diego.

The mishap leaves the namesake team from the FX docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham” to start the English Football League season next month without its top scorer from its previous campaign.

It also left manager Phil Parkinson seething, even after his fourth-tier team pulled off a 3-1 win over the Premier League powerhouse.


“I’m fuming with it. I have to be honest about that,” Parkinson said after the match. “It was a clumsy, reckless challenge in a preseason game. I can’t say any more than the fact I’m not happy with it at all.”

During the postgame interview, Parkinson said Mullin was hospitalized with a small puncture to his lung and was expected to see a specialist Wednesday morning. He also confirmed that Mullin would miss at least the Aug. 5 opener at Milton Keynes Dons.

Wrexham later tweeted a photo of Mullin in a hospital bed, wearing an oxygen mask and giving a thumbs up.

“Thank you for all your messages,” the caption read. “All good here.”

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Ryan Reynolds, who co-owns the oldest soccer club in Wales with fellow actor Rob McElhenney, tweeted: “Paul Mullin puts his last drop of blood into everything he does. The entire @Wrexham_AFC community is pulling for a speedy recovery.”

Mullin scored 38 goals last season as Wrexham won the National League title to earn a promotion to EFL League Two. A song called “Super Paul Mullin” is often sung by the crowd at home games.

Mullin was attempting a header just outside the box in the 11th minute when he was met with full force by Bishop. Mullin immediately went to the ground and held his left side in obvious pain.

Wrexham forward Paul Mullin stays on the ground holding his side after an injury.
Wrexham’s Paul Mullin was in obvious pain after colliding with Manchester United goalkeeper Nathan Bishop during a friendly Tuesday in San Diego.
(Gregory Bull / Associated Press)

After about seven minutes, Mullin was able to walk off the field with assistance and wearing an oxygen mask.

Bishop received a yellow card and was booed by the crowd at Snapdragon Stadium following the incident.

“I feel so bad for Nathan,” Wrexham’s Ben Foster, a former Manchester United goalkeeper, said after the game. “He’s heartbroken, honestly he’s absolutely heartbroken. I’ve passed Paul Mullin’s number onto Nathan so he can get in touch with him. He’s absolutely gutted.”

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Bishop later tweeted his “sincerest apologies” to Mullin, calling the collision “a complete misjudgement and a genuine accident with 0 malicious intent at all.”

“Wishing you the speediest recovery and hope to see you back scoring goals as soon as possible!” Bishop wrote.

Still, it was probably for the best that Bishop issued his apology over social media.

Asked during his postgame interview whether Bishop had addressed Wrexham regarding the incident, Parkinson said, “I haven’t seen the goalie and it’s probably best he stays clear of us for the time being because we are not very happy with him.”

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