‘Welcome to Wrexham’: How Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney Decided to Buy a Soccer Team

Welcome to Wrexham Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney
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Patrick McElhenney/FX

Everybody loves an underdog story, including actors Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool). In 2020, the stars formed the R.R. McReynolds Company and purchased Wrexham AFC, a struggling Welsh soccer club in England’s fifth-tier National League. The duo had no knowledge of sports team ownership and weren’t exactly experts on the game (called football everywhere outside the U.S.), leading many to wonder if this was a Ted Lasso–inspired joke.

Actually, the pair are quite serious about helping to return the once-proud club to its former glory. The docuseries Welcome to Wrexham begins with their efforts to acquire the team — which is the third oldest professional football club in the world but won the last of its 23 Welsh Cup championships in 1995. They need to earn the trust of staff and players (like forward Dior Angus) and, equally as important, win over the loyal supporters in the working-class community who kept the Red Dragons afloat.

Welcome to Wrexham Ryan Reynolds

(Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FX)

It was diehard fans like them who gave McElhenney the idea to buy a soccer team in the first place. He recalls watching a match on TV, looking up in the stands, and thinking, “I know those people. I am those people. I’m related to those people. And I think we can do something special.”

The pair assumed ownership of the club in February 2021, and they lean on British actor Humphrey Ker (American Auto), who grew up wishing he had the talent to play pro. He suggested Wrexham as a worthy beneficiary and now serves as its executive director. “I translate Hollywood into football and football into Hollywood,” Ker says. “[When] we took over, Wrexham was in pretty dire straits. What I hope people see is that one of our big objectives has been to return that competitiveness.”

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Due to pandemic travel restrictions, Reynolds and McElhenney couldn’t watch the team play in person until October 26, 2021. Wrexham lost a nail-biter, but in a press conference two days later, the owners couldn’t have been more proud or committed. “I think I passed away about 400 times during [that match],” Reynolds said. “I’m living, breathing, sleeping the agony and beauty of football…. It’s for better or worse.”

Welcome to Wrexham, Series Premiere, Wednesday, August 24, 10/9c and 10:30/9:30c, FX