The Transformation of Wrexham, a 158-Year-Old Club, After Being Acquired by Hollywood Stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney

Alisa Barladyan
10 Mar 2023

In 2020, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney made headlines when they announced their purchase of the Wrexham Association Football Club, a Welsh football team. This acquisition caught many people off guard and was met with a lot of curiosity. While many fans were excited about the news, others were skeptical and critical of the actors' decision to invest in the club. The club seems to be thriving two years after the big purchase, and its fan base has grown exponentially. It looks like the risky investment was a hit! But why did amateurs from Hollywood succeed in the football industry by just taking a chance? 

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What's so special about Wrexham?

Wrexham AFC is one of the oldest football clubs in Wales, founded in 1864. The club has had a long and rich history, having played in numerous competitions, including the English Football League, Welsh Premier League, and European competitions. In 1992, the club even made it to the quarter-finals of the European Cup Winners' Cup, a significant accomplishment in the club's history.

Over the years, the club has had its fair share of ups and downs, both on and off the pitch. In 2011, the club went into administration, and its future looked bleak. However, fans rallied together and managed to save the club from liquidation. The club has since been managed by a Supporters Trust, which has successfully kept the club afloat and competitive.

Interesting facts about Wrexham AFC:

  • Wrexham AFC is the third-oldest football club in Wales, after Ruabon Druids and Bangor City;
  • The club has played in a total of 35 different stadiums throughout its history;
  • The club's nickname is The Dragons, and its mascot is a fire-breathing dragon named Wrex;
  • Hollywood actor Michael Sheen is a well-known fan of the club and has spoken about his love for Wrexham in several interviews;
  • In 1957, the club had the highest attendance in a Welsh Cup final, with over 21,000 fans in attendance;
  • Welsh Cup Winners - 23 times (record)
Bet on Wrexham, Bet on English Football

Here’s a short video of Michael Sheen that became viral where he is supporting the Welsh football team ahead of the World Cup 2022 match against England. 

Actors running a football club? Yes.

Now, let's talk about the club's new owners, Ryan Reynolds, and Rob McElhenney. Both actors have had successful careers in Hollywood, with Reynolds starring in blockbuster films such as "Deadpool" and "The Proposal", while McElhenney is known for his role in the hit TV show "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"

The actors and businessmen have been friends for years and bonded over their love of football. When they heard that Wrexham AFC was up for sale, they saw it as an opportunity to invest in a club with a rich history and passionate fanbase. 

We're excited to be the new owners of Wrexham AFC, and we're committed to investing in the club and doing our part to help it succeed on and off the pitch.

Raynolds and McElhenney in a statement

Investment, renovations and... of course, TV Series

Since the announcement of their ownership, there has been a lot of excitement and anticipation among fans. 

One of the first improvements made by the new owners was to the club's training facilities. They invested in a new state-of-the-art training ground, including a full-sized indoor pitch, outdoor pitches, and a gym. This investment has been welcomed by the players and coaching staff, who have praised the facilities for their quality and usefulness. And as a result, Wrexham reached FA Cup Fourth Round for the first time in 23 years after a thrilling win over Coventry City. 

The owners have invested in the stadium. They have commissioned a study to assess the feasibility of expanding the stadium, which currently has a capacity of around 10,000. The overall number of season-ticket holders increased with people willing to travel from other cities to watch the game.

New training facilities
New training facilities

In addition to their investment, the businessmen also released a documentary series about their club ownership. The series called "Welcome to Wrexham", document their journey as owners and offer a behind-the-scenes look at the club. The two-season TV-series even won Critics' Choice Documentary Award for Best Sports Documentary. 

Welcome to Wrexham
Welcome to Wrexham

Another notable update made by Reynolds and McElhenney is the club's branding. They have unveiled a new logo and updated the club's website and social media presence. 

The owners have made a concerted effort to involve the fans in the club's decision-making process. They held a meeting with supporters in which they answered questions and listened to feedback. 

Reynolds and McElhenney
Reynolds and McElhenney

Here's one tweet that went viral following the announcement of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney's purchase of Wrexham AFC. It was a lighthearted comment published in 2012 suggesting that "You never know when Ryan Reynolds will turn up in Wrexham." The tweet quickly went viral because of the actor's reply to it. Check it out:

The viral tweet about Reynolds turning up in Wrexham

Speaking of social media, Wrexham’s total audience for all social media channels has now passed 1.5 million combined followers. Not bad for a club with 165,000 followers back in 2021.  


One of the main criticisms of the purchase was that Reynolds and McElhenney were seen as outsiders who had little knowledge or understanding of the football industry. Some fans were worried that the actors' lack of experience could lead to poor decision-making and ultimately harm the club.

Another point of contention was the secrecy surrounding the purchase. Reynolds and McElhenney initially kept their plans to buy the club under wraps, which some fans saw as a lack of transparency and a disregard for the opinions of the club's supporters.

Additionally, some fans were concerned about the potential for the purchase to be a publicity stunt rather than a genuine investment in the club's success. Some critics pointed to the actors' celebrity status and questioned their motives for buying a football team.

Despite these criticisms, Reynolds and McElhenney have expressed their commitment to the club. However, only time will tell whether their investment will be successful, but so far, so good!

Bet on Wrexham, Bet on English Football


While the decision to buy a football club may seem unusual for two Hollywood actors, rumors say that there were several reasons why Reynolds and McElhenney chose to invest in Wrexham.

Firstly, both actors presumably have a personal connection to the UK and specifically to Wales. 

Secondly, Reynolds and McElhenney were drawn to Wrexham's community spirit and passionate fan base. The club has a long history and is deeply ingrained in the local community, with fans who are fiercely loyal and dedicated to supporting the team. Reynolds and McElhenney saw an opportunity to be a part of this community and to help support the club's success.

Overall, while the decision to purchase a football club may have raised some eyebrows, Reynolds and McElhenney's reasons for investing in Wrexham seem to be driven by a genuine love for Wales and Wrexham!

Who's next from Hollywood in buying a football club?

Hugh Jackman, another Hollywood star and friend of Ryan Reynolds, has revealed that he has been contacted multiple times by Wrexham rival teams to become co-owner. 

Jackman, known for his role as Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, is also a football fan. In an interview, Jackman joked that he planned to buy a club and compete with Reynolds and McElhenney's Wrexham AFC. The banter between Jackman and Reynolds is well-known, with the two often engaging in friendly social media spats. It's unclear whether Jackman's comments were serious or just another joke, but fans of both actors have been enjoying the exchange.

Reynolds, Jackman and Gyllenhaal
Reynolds, Jackman and Gyllenhaal

Regardless of whether Jackman follows through on his plans, the comments add an extra layer of fun to the ongoing saga of Hollywood stars owning football clubs. It's clear that Reynolds and McElhenney's acquisition of Wrexham AFC has sparked interest and excitement not just among fans of the club, but also among fans of the actors themselves.

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