Hollywood actors finalize takeover of Welsh soccer club

Entertainment
Ryan Reynolds

FILE – This Oct. 3, 2019 file photo shows Ryan Reynolds at New York Comic Con. Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are officially the new owners of Welsh soccer club Wrexham, according to a formal takeover announcement Wednesday Feb. 10, 2021, (AP Photo/Steve Luciano, File)

WREXHAM, Wales (AP) — Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are officially the new owners of Welsh club Wrexham, the third-oldest professional team in soccer.

“Can’t get to the Racecourse Ground fast enough. Game on,” Reynolds said on Twitter early Wednesday.

The announcement late Tuesday was a formality because the takeover was approved in November.

The new owners have big plans for Wrexham, which plays in the fifth tier of English soccer, and announced a $2.7 million equity investment.

“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,” Reynolds and McElhenney saidin a statement.

They have previously outlined their vision to make Wrexham a “global force.” The plan includes documenting their first foray into the sport in a behind-the-scenes TV show.

Formed in 1864, Wrexham had been a fan-owned club since 2011. The Wrexham Supporters Trust earlier voted in favor of the takeover.

“We urge all supporters to unite behind our new owners, the club and the team as they look to return Wrexham to the heights we have all dreamed of,” the trust said in a statement.

Wrexham plays in the National League and has been outside English soccer’s four main pro leagues since 2008.

The Canadian-born Reynolds is best known for starring in the “Deadpool” movies. McElhenney, a friend of Reynolds, is an American actor who was the creator of TV show “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.”

The equity investment includes nearly $70,000 for the women’s soccer program at the club.

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

They expect to have a chief executive in place before the end of the season.

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

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