Why did Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds buy Wrexham?

Euan Burns
Reynolds and McElhenney have been hands-on owners
Reynolds and McElhenney have been hands-on owners / Ben Peters/MB Media/GettyImages

Football club ownership becomes a bigger and bigger topic with each season that passes.

The takeovers of Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Newcastle United by groups with state links (Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia respectively) have led fans to take a closer look at who owns their club.

Further down the football ladder though, that closer look is taken because the margin between success and total bankruptcy is incredibly fine. One brief ownership rife with mismanagement can cause decades of pain for fans.

This is why there was so much interest when Canadian and American film and TV stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney decided to buy National League side Wrexham AFC.

Where is Wrexham?

Wrexham is a Welsh town which is very close to the Welsh/English border. Much like Swansea City or Cardiff City, they play in the English football ladder rather than the Welsh system.

Wrexham is just south of Chester, and not far north of Shrewsbury. The nearest major city for residents to visit is Liverpool.

Who owns Wrexham?

Officially, Wrexham are owned by a company called RR McReynolds Company LLC. That is the company that McElhenney and Reynolds set up in order to buy Wrexham back in November 2020.

McElhenney is best known for his role as Ronald "Mac" McDonald in the famous comedy series 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia'. He also helped to produce and write the show, and even directed it at times.

Ryan Reynolds
Ryan Reynolds makes regular visits to Wrexham / Lewis Storey/GettyImages

Reynolds, perhaps the bigger name of the two, found huge success when he played the character of Deadpool. He has starred in a host of other major films during his successful career.

He was once engaged to famous singer Alanis Morissette and he was also married to Scarlett Johansson in the past. He is now married and has children with actress Blake Lively.

Why did Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds buy Wrexham?

As the story goes, it is apparently due to British comedian and writer Humphrey Ker that the pair ended up buying a football club.

He was a writer on Mythic Quest with McElhenney and he explained to the BBC how his lunch habits led McElhenney to show an interest in football.

"I'm laying claim to the fact (Rob's) interest in football derives from several years of teasing me for watching football during our lunch breaks at work. Until eventually, just by pure osmosis, I got him interested in the game to the degree that he decides to buy a football team, Ker said.

Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson
Rob McElhenney is best known for 'It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia' / Morgan Lieberman/GettyImages

"Where with a lot of people the journey would have ended with he and I exchanging text messages and me saying 'Ha ha, sounds great, I'd always said I'd do that if I won the lottery, but then within a month's time we had Ryan on board, we had found a football brokerage team in New York and we were in the process of trying to find a football club," he said.

Ker is now the executive director and is able to run things while the owners are over in the states.

He also explained how there was a desire to find a genuine football team that needed the financial help that the trio could lend.

"It wasn't about glamour, it wasn't about commercial viability," Ker says. "And it wasn't the bright lights of, 'Oh, let's buy a team in Cannes, or Saint Tropez United FC' or whatever it may be, it was purely a desire to find a place that wore its heart on its sleeve as a football town and that needed a bit of a helping hand. Because that's what we felt like we could give."

How much did Wrexham cost?

The club was owned by the Wrexham Supporters Trust at the time of the takeover.

Reynolds and McElhenney had to propose their takeover to the trust and then await a vote. They won that vote with 98.6% and that meant the £2m ($2.35m) that the pair had pledged could be immediately put into the club's bank account for running costs.

What league are Wrexham in?

Wrexham currently play in the National League, which is one step below the Football League. They finished second last season but lost to Grimsby Town in the play-off semi-final.

Bromley v Wrexham - The FA Trophy Final
Wrexham lost the 2022 FA Trophy Final against Bromley / Ben Peters/MB Media/GettyImages

Promotion would see them play in League Two. Another three promotions and they'll make it to the Premier League. Easier said than done.

What is 'Welcome to Wrexham'?

The new ownership of the National League side has been chronicled in a docu-series that premiered at the end of August in 2022.

The show follows the new owners and the team as they navigate their way through the 2021/22 season. A second series is being made now, which follows the 2022/23 season.

It is available to watch in the UK on the Disney Plus Streaming Service and in America, it is on FX and Hulu.