WREXHAM, Wales (AP) — Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought one of the world’s oldest soccer teams on Monday and plan to document their first foray into the sport in a fly-on-the-wall TV show.
In a pinch-yourself moment for success-starved fans of Welsh club Wrexham, Reynolds and McElhenney completed a $2.5 million takeover of a team that plays in the fifth tier of English soccer.
“This is really happening,” Reynolds, a Canadian-born actor best known for starring in the “Deadpool” movies, said at end of a short video announcing the purchase of the 156-year-old club.
In a recent call with members of the club’s supporters’ trust, Reynolds and McElhenney described Wrexham as a “sleeping giant” and outlined their vision to make the team a “global force”.
“You may have never heard of Wrexham, the Racecourse Ground or (sponsor) Ifor Williams,” Reynolds said then, putting on a Welsh accent, “but you will.”
To increase the exposure of a club which is languishing in 14th place in the National League and has been outside English soccer’s four main pro leagues since 2008, the owners-elect are ready to use Wrexham in a TV series.
“That’s happened. We’re documenting it,” McElhenney, an American actor and director who was the creator of TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” told supporters on the call last week.
“We should be thinking about Wrexham the way Man U (Manchester United) thinks about Man U. Engage in club, communities. What a great way to do it,” McElhenney said.
Amazon Prime was among the first to reply to Wrexham’s takeover announcement on Twitter, sending its congratulations to the actors.
Wrexham, which has been a fan-owned club since 2011, said the “RR McReynolds Company” will take 100% control — subject to confirmation by soccer authorities — following a vote among supporters in which more than 98% were in favor of the purchase by Reynolds and McElhenney.
“The Gang Buys A North Walian Football Club,” read a tweet from Wrexham.
The club’s supporters’ trust said: “As Wrexham supporters, we would like to wish them the very best of luck in charge of our football club and look forward to what the future brings.”
Fans aren’t currently allowed to attend soccer matches in Britain amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Reynolds has said he wants to be at “as many games as I can make.”
“We want to have a pint with the fans,” he said, adding his intention for him and McElhenney to be “great ambassadors for the club” and to “introduce the club to the world.”
Wrexham, a town of about 65,000 people located near the northwest English border, has hosted international soccer games for Wales.
In 1992, Wrexham claimed possibly its most famous victory in beating Arsenal — the then-defending English champion — 2-1 in the third round of the FA Cup. Wrexham had finished in last place in the Football League the previous season.
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