Hollywood’s own Ryan Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney have teamed up for an exciting new venture. No, it’s not a sit-com. It’s a fifth-tier football team, Wrexham A.F.C.
2020 has thrown the world of sport more than a few curveballs, but the recent takeover of Wrexham A.F.C. is one of the few that are inherently positive. It would probably have been laughed off at the start of the year if British sports fans were told a Hollywood duo would acquire the fourth biggest football team in Wales. But here we are. How does this kind of thing come about?
There is something a little bit obscure about Wrexham that may make one wonder about their appeal to Reynolds and McElhenney. They have always been a lower-league club, aside from a brief spell in the second tier of English football in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. Relegated from League 2 in 2008, they have languished in the National League for more than a decade. Additionally, due to the sparse population of the area and its close proximity to Liverpool, any dreams of a huge fanbase is decidedly unrealistic.
Of course, Wrexham isn't just some backwater Sunday league team. They have the significant acclaim of being the oldest team in Wales, and the third oldest in the entire world. With only the likes of Swansea, Cardiff and Newport County surpassing them in the English league system, Wrexham are also one of the biggest teams in Wales. With all this being said, the takeover isn’t a daring financial move that will see Reynolds and McElhenney net millions. It seems more akin to a passion project.
With Hollywood grinding to a slow in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, actors are significantly less busy than usual. With some more time on their hands, it may be the case that the American duo have simply teamed up to finally pursue a life-long ambition of owning a sports team. If this is the case, it would not be out of the question to see Wrexham rise in the league system over the next few years. Given their close relationship with the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST), things look hopeful.
The duo have already begun to make positive moves within the Wrexham community. When a disabled supporter started a £6,000 fundraiser for a specialist bath, McElhenney quietly donated the entire amount required. McElhenney’s act of kindness comes within the first week of his ownership of the club and represents a significant statement of intent. With football club owners seldom involving themselves so personally with the community, it comes as a refreshing surprise to see new owners actively seeking a connection.
Whatever Reynolds and McElhenney’s reasons behind buying Wrexham, the deal is done following a 98.6% approval rate from the WST. With the pair already beginning to repay the supporters’ faith in them, might we be seeing the beginning of a brilliant story for the North Wales club? Time will surely tell.
In the words of Rob McElhenney in his first statement as co-owner; “you may have never heard of Wrexham, but you will.”
Featured Image: Twitter@RobMcElhenny