Hollywood owners at Wrexham 'for the rest of our lives'

Rob McElhenney says he and Wrexham co-owner Ryan Reynolds are “in this for the rest of our lives”.

But the actor and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator admits they are likely to need to bring “outside capital” into the Welsh football club.

McElhenney and Deadpool star Reynolds became owners of the National League club in February 2021 and have set about revitalising the club’s fortunes.

“We have a short and a long-term strategy,” McElhenney said.

“The short term is to get out of this league and into the next, then each year we look at what the finances are.

“We recognise that Ryan and I can handle those for the next few leagues but once you start getting up to League One and the Championship you’re not building a team that can compete in the Premier League, and obviously that’s a completely different game.

“We have a plan in place for when that occurs but we recognise that’s five-six years off.

“It’s not that we would sell the club to someone else, it’s that we would have to look for some amount of outside capital.

“We don’t have any specific plans in place, we just recognise when you’re competing with the kind of money that is in Premier League and even Championship football, it’s essentially untenable for individuals.

“As individuals in the entertainment business we might be rather successful, but that’s going to be difficult to support year after year after year with the kind of money that’s in that league.”

Wrexham missed out on promotion to the EFL last season, finishing second to champions Stockport County in the National League – which has only one automatic promotion place – before a play-off semi-final defeat against Grimsby.

The Dragons have had a stop-start opening to this campaign, including a 2-0 defeat midweek to promotion rivals Chesterfield, but hit top gear on Saturday – with McElhenney in attendance at the Racecourse Ground – as they demolished Maidstone United 5-0.

That saw Wrexham climb to fifth, three points behind early leaders Barnet, and get the promotion plan back on track to escape from the division they have been mired in since being relegated from the Football League in 2008.

“I thought, if you had a team that was in a low division but has the infrastructure because they’ve had success in the past, to move up those leagues over the course of four to five to six years, couldn’t you theoretically take a team from the lowest league and bring them up to the top?” McElhenney told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“A lot of people laughed, but a few people didn’t and Ryan was one of those people. So I brought the idea to Ryan and said we should try to do this, see if we could find a club and try to advance them.

 

"At the beginning we thought let's see how long we can last and try and improve this club year after year after year, and then we'll see Now in the last year and a half we've realised we're in this for the rest of our lives."

Rob McElhenney

A documentary series – Welcome to Wrexham – which follows the pair’s ownership of the club premieres this week on Disney+.

But McElhenney is keen to stress that Wrexham should be the ongoing focus, with himself and Reynolds as “the stewards”.

“That’s the thing that we talk about the most: how do we make sure we don’t come into the situation as outsiders and pull them into our story?” McElhenney said.

“What we’re trying to do is make sure that at every turn the community is involved in every decision we make and that it is at the heart of every decision that we make.

“Because it would be an abject failure if we came in and made the whole story about us and us as owners of the club, and not really delve into what it is to be a supporter, a member of the Wrexham community who have followed this club through thick and thin for 150 years.

“We just recognise that we’re the stewards of this club, we don’t even consider us as the owners. We recognise that our time is limited and we just want to make sure we’re doing the best by the community and the club and make sure it’s around for another 150 years.”

Original article published 22.08.2022 on the BBC Sport website.

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