Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have made a bid to buy and invest in Wrexham AFC, a non-league club who play in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system.
Wrexham AFC, which has been a supporter-owned football club since 2011, announced that the Deadpool star and McElhenney, the creator and actor in TV comedy series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, announced that members had voted overwhelmingly for talks on the offer to proceed.
SGM | Name of potential investors revealed following vote.
More here 👉 https://t.co/Hi26BlfoKl
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) September 23, 2020
Reynolds, who is known to back an underdog, and McElhenney plan to buy Wrexham AFC, which is based in north Wales, for a “nominal sum” and immediately investment £2 million for the purpose of taking the club forward as a business and as a successful football team.
A total of 1,223 members of the Wrexham Supporters Trust – more than 95% of those asked – voted for the talks to proceed with Reynolds and McElhenney, with just 31 against, at a special general meeting of the club on Tuesday.
Yep, you never know. https://t.co/PuIghab8Mg
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) September 23, 2020
Let’s use this photo moving fwd thx https://t.co/TZm9HBDNdU
— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) September 23, 2020
A Wrexham Supporters Trust statement from 14 September stated: “The profile of the Investors is such that there is likely to be a significantly increased profile for the football club and very substantial commercial opportunities going forward.”
“It’s still at the stage where we have to finalise the deal and bring it back to the members at a second AGM,” Wrexham Director Spencer Harris said.
“But I would like to think that Rob and Ryan think Wrexham is an attractive prospect with fantastic potential. People with the professionalism of Rob and Ryan do not come around very often and news of their interest is quite exciting for the supporters, I’m sure.
“They are very driven individuals and very successful people in their industry. But from our discussions I can say they are both down to earth and want what is best for the club.”
Reynolds, 43, last month sold recently sold his premium gin brand Aviation Gin to spirits conglomerate Diageo for US$335 million, with potential for up to an extra US$275 million based on sales. Reynolds retained an ongoing ownership interest in the gin, Diageo said.
“A little over two years ago, I became an owner of Aviation Gin because I love the taste of Aviation more than any other spirit. What I didn’t expect was the sheer creative joy learning a new industry would bring,” Reynolds said in a statement, adding that growing the brand with his company Maximum Effort Marketing has been “among the most fulfilling projects I’ve ever been involved with”.
Reynolds also bought a stake of mobile wireless carrier Mint Mobile in November last year. In connection with the investment, Reynolds will help with Mint’s communications and marketing efforts as well as strategic decision-making, Mint Mobile said in announcing the actor’s involvement.
The start of Wrexham AFC’s 2020-21 National League season on 3 October is likely to be delayed after the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said fans would not be able to attend sporting events from 1 October because of the worsening number of people with COVID-19.
“I recognise the implications for our sports clubs, which are the life and soul of our communities, and my right honourable friends the Chancellor and the Culture Secretary are working urgently on what we can do now to support them,” Johnson said.
Wrexham AFC is one of the better supported clubs in non-league football in the UK and its ground, The Racecourse, is graded to stage international football matches.
Reynolds and McElhenney are not the first celebrities to spend their wealth on sporting ventures.
Will Ferrell is co-owner of Major League Soccer franchise Los Angeles FC; Australian actor Russell Crowe owns the South Sydney Rabbitohs, who play in the National Rugby League played in NSW and Queensland in Australia; comedian and actor Drew Carey is an owner of Major League Soccer franchise Seattle Sounders FC and serves as chairman of Sounders FC Alliance, the club’s member association; and former footballer David Beckham owns Inter Miami, who also play in Major League Soccer.