Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney & Wrexham: Hollywood stars' ownership takeover explained
As if 2020 wasn't eventful enough, Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney became the new owners of National League side Wrexham AFC.
The news came as a surprise since Deadpool star Reynolds and It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia star McElhenney were not known to be football fans in the past.
So why have they bought the club? Goal brings you everything you need to know.
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- Why are Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney buying Wrexham?
- What are Reynolds & McElhenney's plans for Wrexham?
- How have the Wrexham fans reacted?
- Will there be a documentary?
Reynolds put forward his vision to turn Wrexham into a "global force" during an online meeting with the club's supporters in November 2020.
Ownership in football clubs is a potentially lucrative business, and the duo follow a trend in recent years in which major Hollywood celebrities have invested in teams. The Office star Mindy Kaling owns shares in Swansea City, while Natalie Portman recently bought her own women's soccer team Angel City FC.
Reynolds had hinted that the sale has been eight years in the making, outlining his desires to return Wrexham to the top-flight of football.
The actor highlighted a tweet from 2012 that involved a Wrexham resident, Shannon, telling her friend about an awkward life-drawing class as part of her course in college - eventually stating that she wished Reynolds was the model instead.
Reynolds then retweeted a joke Shannon made to her friend about the actor ever turning up in the Welsh town, admitting he had waited eight years to reply to her.
"Yep, you never know," Reynolds said, before adding, "I’ve waited eight years to respond to this tweet."
With the two Hollywood stars reportedly injecting a figure of roughly £2 million into the club, that amount would likely be seen as an extremely positive investment given the club, like many other lower-league outfits, are experiencing financial difficulties due to the obvious hardships caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Wrexham captain Shaun Pearson stated: “I’m probably similar to everyone else; at first you think: ‘Nah, no way.’
"But it is potentially a big opportunity for the club. It is probably a little while off in terms of everything going through but you’d be lying if you didn’t think it was exciting. This is something that could move the club forward in quite a big way.”
On October 26, 2021, the duo were spotted attending their first-ever Wrexham game, a Conference Premier clash against Maidenhead United.
The game finished 3-2 to Maidenhead, prompting McElhenney to tweet: "We didn't want our first win to be away anyway."
Reynolds went a little further in his assessment, writing on Instagram: "Football is a staggering, heartbreaking, gorgeous, tommy-gun of soul-deadening, evil and beauty and I'm never sleeping again ever, ever."
Reynolds and McElhenney intend on using their own money to invest in the club, expected to amount to £2 million, outlining their goals of injecting cash to allow Wrexham a chance of hitting the heights of the top of the English football pyramid.
“Our goal is to grow the team, return it to the English Football League in front of increased attendances at an improved stadium while making a positive difference to the wider community in Wrexham,” they explained in the call.
They went on to outline four goals: reinforcing Wrexham's values, expanding the club’s identity and awarding the fans’ loyalty and dedication to their club with a promise of a shot at success.
The two also revealed their plans to renovate the Racecourse Ground, build a new permanent training ground and promised they would “always beat" rivals Chester FC, who play in the National League North.
The owners celebrated the confirmation of their takeover with a video message that promoted “Britain’s leading trailer manufacturer for over 60 years” – Ifor Williams Limited.
“Why are Rob and I pitching a north Walian trailer manufacturer?” asked Reynolds in the video.
“Because we just became owners of Wrexham Association Football Club and they’re our team sponsor,” McElhenney responded, adding, “You may never have heard of Wrexham, the Racecourse Ground or Ifor Williams but you will. So, to the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, thank you for your faith and trust in us.”
They reiterated their drive to make the Welsh club "a global force".
Reynolds said: “We are humbled and we are already getting to work. Oh [expletive deleted] – this is really happening.
“We want to be at the Racecourse Ground as much as possible – as many games as I can make.
“We want to have a pint with the fans. You’ll be fed up of us! We want to be great ambassadors for the club, to introduce the club to the world and be a global force.”
They also iterated their insistence that they not cloud the soul of the club with their celebrity status, saying: "Everything we do will be informed by these four principles and never one without the other. We want to be part of Wrexham’s story, not drag the club into ours."
The majority of Wrexham fans approved the sale of the club to the Hollywood duo, with 98 per cent of the votes cast in their favour of the bid by the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust.
The Wrexham Supporters Trust Board said: “Subject to final agreement, league and FA confirmation the RR McReynolds Company, LLC will take 100% control of Wrexham Football Club Limited from the WST. Both parties will now proceed with finalising the details of the takeover, and we will update Wrexham supporters as soon as we can.
“The Wrexham Supporters Trust Board would like to thank Mr Rob McElhenney and Mr Ryan Reynolds, and their advisors Inner Circle Sports and Walker Morris, for their professional and considered approach and for the time they have already put into the process.
"As Wrexham supporters, we would like to wish them the very best of luck in charge of our Football Club and look forward to what the future brings.”
Both actors hinted that the process of the duo taking over the club will be documented and turned into a film, with McElhenney stating in the video call with the fans in November: “We’re documenting it. We should be thinking about Wrexham the way Manchester United thinks about Manchester United.
"Engage in the club and community.”
Reynolds added: "Sports is storytelling and is so woven into the fabric of the sport. The Wrexham community is incredibly dynamic and supportive."