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The Wrexham AFC Takeover Two Years On: Just How Much have Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds Changed


From left to right, top to bottom: Deryn Brace, Danny Wright, Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney, Jacob Mendy


It was the 24th of September 2020, and social media was buzzing. Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds and Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Rob McElhenney were seemingly interested in buying National League side Wrexham AFC. It still seems weird to read out loud.


“I just thought, ’What gimmick is this?’ You hoped it wasn’t a laughing matter because I love this club.” Wrexham legend Deryn Brace remembers the day clearly.


“I don’t like seeing the club in a bad light and when it came out you thought ‘how serious is this?’, but when I realised it was serious and people were taking note it was just incredible,” said Brace.


After playing over 100 league games in a six-year spell between 1994 and 2000, it’s clear to see how much the North Wales side means to Brace, but following the takeover how much has changed?

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Two years ago, to the day, Reynolds and McElhenney were confirmed as the co-chairmen of Wrexham, in what many regard as the most bizarre purchase of a football club that has ever been seen.

Shown in the recent Disney Plus series ‘Welcome to Wrexham’, McElhenney was the driving force behind the takeover, but needed the “movie-star money” available through Reynolds, who already had success in Hollywood as well as stakes in Aviation American Gin and Mint Mobile.


“When the news came out with Ryan and Rob there was a lot of excitement. The Wrexham fans deserve it, they are for sure the best fans I’ve played in front of”.


Danny Wright spent two seasons with Wrexham between 2011 and 2013, scoring 21 goals in 73 league appearances, and believes that the pair of Reynolds and McElhenney can take Wrexham right to the very top.

Danny Wright celebrates scoring his first goal for Wrexham AFC against Kidderminster


“With the two together they are a force to be reckoned with,” said Wright. “They’ll get promoted this year and I don’t think there will be much stopping them after that.”


Both Brace and Wright experienced Wrexham at difficult times, with poor ownership off the field even through the heart and togetherness shown on the pitch and the support on the sidelines.


“We almost went bankrupt,” remembers Wright. “The fans literally saved the club with their generosity and wiliness to not let the club fall by the way say.

Deryn Brace as Player-Manager of Camarthen Town During The 09/10 Welsh Premier League Season (Photo: Alexander Ridlier via Google Creative Commons Licences

“They clubbed together, and I think they had to get £120,000 in 24 hours or something like that and literally it was madness,” said Wright.


Brace on the other hand left just before the capitulation of Wrexham began.


“There were a few yo-yo years. There was a takeover which didn’t go very well,” said Brace. “I know speaking to a few lads that it wasn’t a nice place to be.


“Unfortunately the club fell into the Conference League, and they’ve done well in their but just needed that boost to push them out, and I think that’s what they’ve got now,” believes Brace.


Reynolds and McElhenney have been heavily praised for their awareness of the club’s attachment to the town, which previous owners have ignored. With all the money that they have been able to inject into Wrexham, the club has remained a ‘people’s place’ which rarely happens following big money takeovers in the 21st century of British football.


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Versatile defender and midfielder Jacob Mendy has been able to experience Reynold’s and McElhenney’s love of the club since signing from Boreham Wood in the summer.


“You think because they are that famous, that you won’t have the chance to have a good conversation with them, but they are really nice and approachable.


“The atmosphere is amazing, it’s at least minimum a top League One club,” said Mendy on the clubs following and support. “The stadium is always full, around 10,000 every game, it definitely isn’t a National League stadium.”


Just like Wright, Mendy believes that there won’t be anything stopping the club if they manage to gain promotion this season.


“I think we can get back-to-back promotions. You look at both leagues and there isn’t a massive difference, it would be hard for us not to get promoted,” said the 26-year-old.


“We deserve it”.


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The growth of Wrexham has been astonishing over the last two years, the club’s Twitter followers have more than doubled since McElhenney, Reynolds and Wrexham were first mentioned together in September 2020, with the Instagram page gaining more than 60,000 followers in the last year.


From the stats and figures to the words of the past and present and the club’s performances on the pitch, what seemed like an unthinkable takeover now seems to be bringing the light back to Wrexham that has been waiting to burst out for decades.

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