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Photo Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX

How Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney revived the third oldest professional football team in the world. (Op-Ed)

Wrexham’s football (soccer) team was formed in 1864, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in Wales, making it the third oldest in football history. The successes of the team and the town have risen and fallen together ever since ‑ forever intertwined. In the lowly UK National League, Wrexham’s team was losing cash and support, and the town was suffering alongside them. The Queensway neighborhood, just two miles north of the football field, was ranked as one of the most impoverished areas in the country. However, everything changed when Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney purchased Wrexham A.F.C. with the hopes of advancing to the Premier League, the highest rung of UK soccer.

When Rob McElhenney watched the documentary Sunderland Til I Die, he found many comparisons between UK football fans and his status as a Philadelphia Eagles superfan. He was inspired to purchase his own football team, and Wrexham was the perfect fit. He called upon Ryan Reynolds, who has delved into entrepreneurial experiments such as Mint Mobile, to join him in the effort to restore Wrexham to its former glory. The pair purchased the team knowing that they were underdogs, that they would actively lose money, and that it wouldn’t be easy. They began documenting their journey on the FX show Welcome to Wrexham almost four years ago, and much has changed for the team and the town.

The Hollywood duo have already transformed the fortunes of the historic but down-on-its-luck club through their $2.5 million takeover in 2021 and the fly-on-the-wall documentary series. After back-to-back promotions, Wrexham will play in the third tier of English soccer next season. The FX documentary has been met with great critical reception, winning several primetime Emmys. Now, they want to build a new stadium.

“We have a plan in place right now that would eventually work from stand to stand, so eventually you get all four sides. It’s hard to say for sure, but we think we could get between 45-and-55,000 people in there,” McElhenney told entertainment website Collider.

“Like the whole town could come to the game,” Reynolds added.

I wish nothing but the best for Reynolds, McElhenney, and the Red Dragons.

Season 3 of Welcome to Wrexham premiered Thursday on Hulu.


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