Last year, Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney acquired a historic football club from Wales, Wrexham AFC. As they know very little about English football, the purchase was as unexpected as they come.
But lucky for us, a new docuseries called Welcome to Wrexham will show us exactly how this matchup came to be.
The docuseries comes out next week. But until then, here are some things to know about Wrexham and its two fresh owners.
Welcome to Wrexham
Wrexham AFC, also known as The Dragons, is one of the world’s oldest football clubs. It was founded all the way back in 1864—158 years ago. But when it comes to football, age doesn’t guarantee you anything.
Though it is older than many of the big teams in the Premier League like Manchester United and Liverpool F.C. (two of the most historic football clubs), Wrexham plays in the fifth tier of the English football league system.
With the Premier League as the pinnacle of English football, there are tiers beneath it. Teams can get promoted to a higher tier or relegated to a lower one, depending on how they perform.
And Wrexham AFC competes in the fifth tier of this pyramid, the National League.
Throughout its long history, The Dragons have been promoted and relegated time and time again between the third and fifth leagues in England. Against some of the biggest football clubs in the country, they are definitely underdogs.
And everyone loves an underdog, including Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
It’s always sunny in Wrexham
Ryan Reynolds, star of Deadpool, and Rob McElhenney, star of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, announced that their joint purchase of Wrexham AFC in February 2021.
But even though they made the acquisition together, it started as McElhenney’s idea. And the funny thing is, he and Reynolds had never met in person prior to making the deal happen. According to an insider article on GQ, the sitcom star pitched the idea to the Marvel actor over an email thread.
On Jimmy Kimmel’s show, Reynolds admitted that he didn’t tell his wife, Blake Lively, about the deal until after it was confirmed.
Together, it was reported that the two actors invested a total of £2 million into the club. That’s equivalent to about PHP 134,525,265.
As the new owners of Wrexham, they were determined to see The Dragons promoted. In time, they hoped to bring the Welsh team all the way into the Premier League.
But, if you know English football well, you know that this is a tall order coming from the fifth tier. However, for two Hollywood actors who knew the bare minimum when coming into it, it’s easy to be hopeful.
The Hollywood touch
With Reynolds and McElhenney at the helm, the Dragons went on a promising run earlier this year, even going on a seven-win streak. Wrexham beat the best team in their league, bringing them to the top of the table.
But, as Lady Football would have it, the tail end of the season saw a loss to Grimsby town in the playoff semifinal, keeping them from promotion. Yet even in defeat, Reynolds and McElhenney remain as optimistic as ever.
In the world of sports, we love a good underdog story, and this one is as heartwarming as they come. And the best part is we can all have a proper cry over it when Welcome to Wrexham drops.
We can expect five episodes that will take us through the real story of Wrexham AFC, the entire community behind it, and the culture around this beloved team.
Welcome to Wrexham comes out on August 25 on Hulu.