The most unusual story of 2020 is real and is being chronicled in a fly-on-the-wall documentary set to get major airplay, with Netflix and Amazon Prime both thought to be interested.
Wrexham AFC Supporters Trust members have voted 98.6% in favour of Hollywood megastars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney becoming new owners of the football club based in Wales, UK.
HISTORIC VOTE RESULT: Fans agree to sell Wrexham Association Football Club for one peppercorn (and £2m investment to start with!) to Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The adventure starts here… https://t.co/E3wf4DUbML
— Wrexham.com (@wrexham) November 16, 2020
The Deadpool star and the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator have been given the club for free after promising to immediately invest £2 million into Wrexham AFC, which sits 13th in the National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system.
“This is the third-oldest club on the planet and we don’t see why it can’t have a global appeal,” Reynolds said. “We want Wrexham to be a global force.”
McElhenney revealed the amazing story of 2020 is being made into a documentary to be shown on Netflix.
“We’re documenting it. We should be thinking about Wrexham the way Manchester United thinks about Manchester United. Engage in the club and community,” he said.
Reynolds told the Wrexham Supporters Trust on 8 November: “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.”
Rory Smith, Chief Soccer Correspondent for The New York Times, told BBC Radio 5 Monday Night Club: “I find this story absolutely fascinating.
“The working theory seems to be that they want to make this documentary.
“By all accounts, Netflix pays somewhere in the region of £300,000–£800,000 an hour of content and selling an eight-episode series would make Wrexham profitable and that would transform them.
“So from that point of view I think there’s something slightly odd about it.”
A message from our owners-elect…
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) November 16, 2020
Wrexham AFC, founded in 1864, had been owned by their supporters since 2011 when the Wrexham Supporters Trust took control. The club has struggled in recent years, having been in non-league for 13 years, but they were not actively seeking investment.
“I got a phone call from the CEO (Mark Catlin) at Portsmouth Football Club who asked me would I be willing to speak to somebody who was representing some people who were interested in investing in the club,” said Wrexham FC Director Spencer Harris.
Former Disney CEO Michael Eisner’s Tornante business bought 100% of Portsmouth Football Club from the Pompey Supporters Trust for £5.67 million in August 2017 with the promise of an extra investment of £10 million.
“Of course I said yes,” said Harris of taking the phone call, “as I have always said yes because this football club is owned by the supporters, so it’s them that has to make any decisions on the really big and significant things such as that.
“In the early days we were talking in principle and getting to know each other, without knowing who they were; we didn’t know until we secured how interested they there.
“Then we got to NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and then we got introduced to Rob and Ryan who are two very talented and down-to-earth guys doing extraordinary jobs.
“From then on in, it has been a mixture of talking to them and their representatives.”
Owners-elect Reynolds and McElhenney will take 100% control of Wrexham from the Wrexham Supporters Trust – subject to final agreement, league and FA confirmation – with a takeover date set to be in “the next few weeks”.
“It is a fantastic thing for the town and it is a fantastic thing for the football club,” Harris said.
“The most important thing was, once an offer of this magnitude was put forward, it was put to supporters to make a choice and they made that choice overwhelmingly so I am absolutely delighted for them.
“There are more steps to come after this – there are a few technical and legal things that we need to do to conclude a transaction – but supporters have given us the backing to do it and we will get that done over the next few weeks.”
— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) October 14, 2020