Hollywood has officially arrived in the small Welsh market town of Wrexham – population 65,000 – with Deadpool star Ryan Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia actor Rob McElhenney completing their takeover of local soccer club Wrexham.
The deal was officially approved by the UK Financial Conduct Authority last week, concluding one of the more bizarre stories to emerge from last year. Inward investment in the UK’s film and TV industries from America is one thing – this sounds like something straight out of an episode of It’s Always Sunny (“the gang buys a Welsh soccer team”).
That does beg the question of why the pair set their sights on a provincial sports team competing in the fifth tier of English soccer? Throughout the process, the duo have insisted that this is an investment in a business in which they see the potential for growth and success. Previous comments from Wrexham director Spencer Harris have reiterated that: “They’re really interested in taking something with real potential, which this club has, investing in it, molding it and watching it grow.”
Other theories exist. It seems notable that recent Wrexham announcements have come hand-in-hand with marketing for Aviation Gin, which Reynolds has an interest in (it was bought by Diageo in 2020). Coinciding with today’s announcement, the brand revealed that Wrexham FC had signed Aviation as an official partner and that it was launching a “limited edition Aviation Gin design” to celebrate the takeover, according to drinks trade The Spirits Business. Aviation has been expanding aggressively into foreign markets, in particular the UK, where it recently secured a country-wide listing with supermarket chain Sainsbury’s. The Wrexham deal has certainly generated some enhanced marketing for the brand.
Whatever their reasons, Reynolds and McElhenney have certainly been having fun during this process. In response to the completion news, the pair both added the letter ‘W’ to their names on Twitter, in ode to Wrexham, going by Wrob and Wryan respectively.
They posted some banter on the social media platform, toasting the deal (with a bottle of Aviation, naturally):
There are no small bottles, Wrob. Only small owners…. with small bottles.
p.s. We have the same lawyer. https://t.co/2KzLWRZFO3
— Wryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 9, 2021
Reynolds followed that post with a pic of himself in a Wrexham training hoodie, saying he couldn’t get to the Racecourse Ground, where the team plays, fast enough (international travel restrictions might make that tricky for now).
— Wryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) February 10, 2021
Wrexham won away at Altrincham last night, perhaps a good omen for the takeover. The team now sits seventh in the table and will be eyeing a promotion push fueled by the fresh cash injection.
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