Why everyone’s talking about Wrexham AFC, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney

Hollywood actors are in talks to invest in the Welsh football club

Welsh football club Wrexham play their home games at the Racecourse Ground
Hollywood actors are in talks to invest in the Welsh football club 
(Image credit: Lewis Storey/Getty Images )

Compared to the English Premier League, the non-league divisions in British football are not known for being glamorous.

But that could all be about to change after it was revealed that Hollywood A-listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are in talks to become investors in Wrexham AFC.

Welsh club Wrexham play in the fifth tier of English football and should the actors become backers it would add a certain sparkle to the Red Dragons’s Racecourse Ground. The stadium first opened in 1807 and has been used for football since 1864, the same year Wrexham were established.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
See more

What happened?

Wrexham are the oldest football club in Wales and according to their historians they are the third oldest professional football club in the world.

Perhaps it’s the 156 years of football history that is attracting the acting duo to north Wales?

The club has been fan-owned since 2011, but during its Special General Meeting (SGM) on Tuesday the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board confirmed that Canadian Reynolds and American McElhenney are the potential investors.

Members have voted overwhelmingly for takeover talks to proceed, BBC Sport reports, with 97.5% of voters (1,223 members) in favour of the resolution.

Wrexham Supporters Trust Board said in a statement: “As a result, talks with the proposed bidders will now continue and we are in a position to confirm the two people interested in investing in Wrexham AFC.

“Rob McElhenney is an American actor, director, producer and screenwriter, best known as the creator of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Ryan Reynolds is an award-winning Canadian actor, writer, producer and business entrepreneur whose credits include Marvel’s Deadpool.

“In due course, Mr. McElhenney and Mr. Reynolds will put forward their vision for Wrexham AFC and proposal for members to vote on at a second Special General Meeting.”

See more

What happens next?

The BBC says any potential takeover could lead to £2m being invested in the club.

Trust director Spencer Harris said that talks with Reynolds and McElhenney are in the early stages and he expects a further vote from fans on the outline of the proposed deal “in weeks rather than months”.

Harris told BBC Radio Wales Breakfast: “We’ve known for a little while [about their interest], but we wanted to come as early as we could in the process to involve supporters.

“As everybody knows we are community owned and therefore this has become public knowledge a little bit earlier than it would in any other normal circumstance, but yeah it’s out there now so people know all about it.

“We started talking through representatives of theirs, talking about the club, and we’re now in a position where we are able, following the SGM on Tuesday night, to get into detailed discussions about what a takeover deal could look like.

“There is some way to go and at the end of the day it will be the supporters who decide what the future direction of the club will be.”

News of the actors’s potential investment comes at a time when football clubs across the UK are in financial crisis because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Fans are not allowed back into stadiums as yet and it was reported earlier this week that the start of the National League could be delayed because of this.

Wrexham are due to begin their league campaign with a home clash against Boreham Wood on Saturday 3 October at the Racecourse Ground.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.