United Kingdom

Hollywood duo complete Wrexham takeover

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have completed their takeover of Wrexham.

Deadpool actor Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator McElhenney have invested an immediate £2m into the National League club.

Boosting women’s football is also among their plans for the Wrexham area.

“It is a special day for the two of us to become the latest stewards in the long and storied history of Wrexham AFC,” said Reynolds and McElhenney.

“Together with the players, the staff, the fans and the local community, we can now pursue our goal to grow the team and return it to the EFL in front of increased attendances, and in an improved stadium, while making a positive difference to the wider community in Wrexham.

“Wrexham AFC is only in a position to thrive because of the incredible efforts of the Wrexham Supporters Trust. Their members are a fitting reflection of the integrity and spirit of the town and they will always have an important role at the club.”

In November Wrexham Supporters Trust voted overwhelmingly in favour of the deal, which has since gained approval from football authorities and the Financial Conduct Authority.

Reynolds and McElhenney have pledged four guiding principles to protect the club’s heritage, reinforce community values, help promote the club at home and abroad and create a winning culture.

“The work has already begun with Gemma Owen and Steve Dale in the community team on a new women’s football initiative,” they added.

“We are also committed to investing in current and identifying future members of the first-team squad as we build towards a promotion challenge.

“In addition, we are in the process of developing an outstanding team off the field by combining the know-how of the committed club staff and volunteers with new hires and experienced advisors. Our CEO search is progressing and we expect to have someone in place before the end of the season.

“All of these people will help us create the kind of commercial opportunities that the third oldest club in the world deserves, and we will reinvest that revenue back into Wrexham AFC and the community.

“2020 was a difficult year and there are likely to be further public health challenges in the months ahead, but we hope to be cheering the team on from the stands as soon as it’s safe to do so in 2021.”

The takeover was completed on the night the club won 2-1 at Altrincham to climb into the play-off zone.

Contracts were exchanged in January but McElhenney and Reynolds donated money to the club to strengthen the squad before the transfer deadline while waiting for the takeover to be approved by the FCA.

Former Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore, who has taken on an informal role advising the actors, said that they are “in it for the long term”.

Moore said he received assurances about the “authentic and genuine” intentions behind the deal during conversations with the screen stars.

A timeline of Wrexham’s Hollywood takeover

Early 2020: Wrexham director Spencer Harris is approached by an intermediary about a potential change in ownership of the club.

Summer 2020: Harris and his fellow directors agree to sign a non-disclosure agreement with the interested parties, not realising the need for secrecy was due to the prospective investors being Hollywood stars.

23 September 2020: Members of the Wrexham Supporters Trust (WST) vote overwhelmingly to allow talks that could lead to an entire takeover of the club to go ahead at a special general meeting.

24 September 2020: Reynolds and McElhenney are announced by Wrexham as the potential investors.

8 November 2020: Reynolds and McElhenney present their vision for the club to the Wrexham Supporters Trust over Zoom, saying they want to turn the club into “a global force”.

16 November 2020: Over 98% of supporters vote in favour of the takeover.

18 November 2020: Wrexham’s soon-to-be owners Reynolds and McElhenney donate £6,000 to adapt Wrexham fan Aiden Stott’s home.

22 November 2020: Wrexham boss Dean Keates reveals he has spoken to Reynolds and McElhenney and predicts they will “take the club to the next level”.

30 November 2020: Former Liverpool chief executive Peter Moore says he is to work as an adviser at Wrexham.

15 December 2020: Moore tells BBC Sport Wales that Reynolds and McElhenney are “in it for the long haul”.

19 January 2021: Wrexham announce that the board have concluded negotiation of the Share Purchase Agreement and have exchanged contracts.

27 January 2021: Reynolds and McElhenney donate money to strengthen the Wrexham squad despite the takeover not being complete.

5 February 2021:The Financial Conduct Authority approves the proposed takeover of Wrexham by McElhenney and Reynolds.

9 February, 2021: Wrexham’s Hollywood takeover is completed.

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