CMI Explains: Why the Does Ryan Reynolds Want to Buy Wrexham?
Source: Wrexham History
Last Monday, Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took to Zoom to pitch their bid to buy Wrexham in front of 2,000 supporters who decided in a vote. The call was as strange as the proposition as a whole: Reynolds said he couldn’t wait to have a pint and “hang out” with fans. Wrexham Supporters’ Trust James Harrison led the call with a lute on display in the background. Twitter was aghast with the passion with which they spoke, the feedback on the presentation looks remarkably positive. 75 percent of votes were required for the takeover to move to the next stage - they managed to get 98 percent support. Reynolds and McElhenney are now owners-elect. In celebrating, they bizarrely released a spoof promotional video for Ifor-Williams (a large British trailer company).
The duo supposedly searched for European teams for a club with growth potential to invest in. Wrexham is one of the oldest clubs in the world, but currently sits at 14 in the National League table. Reynolds talked of turning Wrexham into a “global force”. A first step might be beating Chester.
The club has a history of financial trouble culminating in an administration filing in 2004. The club was close to £3m in debt, owing £900,000 to inland revenue. The club's owner rejected various takeover bids, failing to gain the injection of cash required to save it from further action, even calling upon supporters to help meet its obligations. Ten years it ran into further trouble with unpaid tax, paid off by a swathe of small donations and loans.
So why Wrexham? The club’s finances are supposedly in good shape, despite its history. Mark Hughes gave the move a stamp of approval. Wrexham's base of supporters is monumentally strong, with consistent attendance. It has been owned by its supporters’ association since 2011, turning away a takeover bid by Stephanie Booth, a local hotelier. The club's hopes have seemingly brightened since then, playing at Wembley for the first time in 150 years although losing the Trophy final to North Ferriby United on penalties.
Found on Twitter: Will the duo be able to follow on their promise to never face Chester again?
Their investment would likely look first at revamping the club’s stadium. Gate receipts increased close to 20% last year to £1.1m, according to the club's accounts. Reynolds and McElhenney will probably inject about £2m of cash. There are also rumours of an Amazon Prime style documentary about Wrexham. Albeit without the starpower of Guardiola or the Champions League, the club certainly has a rich history. Is it going to be an all or nothing trajectory for Wrexham AFC? This remains to be seen.