How successful could Wrexham AFC's Hollywood takeover be?

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney
Hollywood duo Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney took over Wrexham earlier this month.

Wrexham AFC is about to join an elite group of clubs in the football pyramid, with the impending takeover by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. But how successful could they become?

The Hollywood duo announced the takeover earlier this month, posting a spoof advertisement for the club's official sponsor Ifor Williams Trailers.

The pair have explained their vision for the club to fans and representatives of the Wrexham Supporter's Trust and revealed how they hope to turn the team in to a "global force".

Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are set to complete their takeover of Wrexham AFC. Credit: PA images.

So what are fans hoping for in the future and how successful have football club takeovers by other high-profile owners been?

Cardiff City

Vincent Tan became the official owner of Cardiff City in 2010 after a takeover by a consortium of Malaysian investors. Since then the club have experienced a number of high and low points.

The club won the 2012-2013 Championship title to gain promotion to the Premier League for the first time in 52 years. Since then though the team have struggled to secure their place in the big time, getting relegated back to the Championship the following season.

Cardiff City are currently mid-table in the Championship. Credit: PA images.

Neil Warnock was appointed as manager of the team in 2016 and the following season he took them back to the Premier League - but again, they were relegated the following season.

The team has been unable to cement their place in the top league, but Tan has been able to provide financial security and the team are currently in 15th position in the Championship under manager Neil Harris.

Salford City FC

Manchester United's famous Class of 92 completed a takeover of non-league side Salford City FC in 2014. The takeover group of Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, Paul Scholes and now Wales manager Ryan Giggs were later joined by David Beckham. The owners made it their plan to move the team up the football pyramid, something they have slowly been doing following three promotions in their relatively short period as owners.

The club are now in professional football and are currently in 8th position in League Two.

The Class of 92 took over Salford City FC in 2014. Credit: Doug Peters/Doug Peters/EMPICS Entertainment

The story of Salford is most similar to what Wrexham fans can hope for. Both clubs were in similar positions at the time of takeover, just outside of professional football, with owners hoping to bring the team up the leagues.

Another aspect which could be similar between the takeovers is how the changes and season is documented. A documentary called Class of 92: Out Of Their League was released in 2015 and Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have said they will make a Netflix-style programme documenting their takeover story.

The progress of Salford City can bring huge amounts of optimism to Wrexham fans and the new owners. They have shown that a non-league team are able to make quick progress and establish themselves in the football league as a competitive football team.

Swansea City FC

In 2016, an American consortium completed the purchase of a controlling stake in the then Premier League club Swansea City.

Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan lead the consortium and were experienced in running sports teams in the USA. The Swansea Supporters Trust retained a 21% shareholding in the club.

The club has, like their rivals Cardiff City, experienced mixed fortunes since the takeover in 2016. Swansea were relegated from the Premier League in 2018 after being promoted to the division in 2011.

The team are currently in fourth position in the Championship under manager Steve Cooper, reaching the play-offs last season.

  • What do fans hope for from Wrexham's new owners?

Some fans believe that the sky is the limit for the club telling ITV Wales they can see the team reaching the upper echelons of football.

Another fan, Aiden Stott 37, said that he hopes to see the glory days brought back to the Racecourse Ground.

"I am the biggest Wrexham fan - I have been a fan as long as I remember. It is in my blood and I only dream about Wrexham," he said.

"I hope that the new owners bring a lot of success and we can go up the leagues and put Wrexham on the map."

What have the owners said about the takeover and what are their plans?

Renolds and McElhenney said they plan to turn the National League side in to a "global force" in the coming years.

Before the Wrexham Supporters Trust voted on whether to allow the takeover by the duo, Mr Reynolds and Mr McElhenney pitched their vision for the team. They said they would be guided by "four essential principles".

  • To protect the heritage that has made Wrexham AFC and the Racecourse Ground such a special place to watch football for the last 156 years.

  • To reinforce the values, traditions and legacy of this community. We understand and respect the intense loyalty and love for this club and how it’s woven into the fabric of the town and its supporters. 

  • To use our resources to grow the exposure of the club. Of course, this would be in concert with protecting the heart and spirit of a community-led historical icon. But why can't the third oldest club in the world have a global appeal?  

  • To reward the faith of the supporters who have stood by Wrexham AFC through its history by putting everything we have towards what all fans want most for their club, and that is to...WIN, WIN, WIN. 

The pair are already loved by a number of fans, with Mr Reynolds sending boxes of his own Aviation Gin to a number of restaurants and bars in the town.

Mr McElhenney also contributed £6,000 to a fundraiser for a disabled fan's bathroom.

Which celebrities have already thrown their support behind the club?

Since the takeover announcement was made there have been some high-profile names who have come forward in support of the team.

The crown actor Jason Watkins posted a picture on Twitter of himself with fellow actor John Cleese wearing Wrexham shirts.

Mr Watkins said that the Fawlty Towers actor bought them both shirts whilst they were filming together. He also revealed that he had trained with the team as a schoolboy in his younger days.

Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield also posted his support for Wrexham on Twitter with an image of himself the team's famous red strip. He actually asked if the club's sponsor Ifor Williams delivered trailers across the Atlantic Ocean.

What does Wrexham have in its favour?

The club has a large dedicated fan base and the involvement of two of Hollywood's most popular actors will only help gain new fans all over the world.

There is usually a lot of interest when a club in non-league is bankrolled with the aim of turning it into one of the bigger forces in football. Both Salford City FC and Youtube team Hashtag United have proven the big crowds that star involvement can bring, there is no reason why Wrexham can't do the same.

Hashtag United was founded in 2016 by Youtube personality Spencer Owen. The team originally consisted of his friends from school and university but gained a big following when highlights were put online.

Since then the team has gone from strength to strength, officially joining the football pyramid ahead of the 2018-2019 season. They currently play in the Essex Senior League.

The duo say they want to turn Wrexham AFC in to a "global force" over the coming years.

Another thing going in Wrexham's favour, which may have drawn the pair to the club in the first place, is the long history of the team.

Wrexham AFC is the third oldest team in the world and the Racecourse ground was the venue for the world’s oldest surviving film of an international match between Wales and Ireland at Wrexham’s Racecourse ground on April 2, 1906.