Because 2020 has been completely mad so far, when it was revealed that Ryan Reynolds was interested in investing £2 million into non-league football outfit Wrexham FC most responded with a sage nod and a ‘yep, that’d be about right.’
Incredibly, rather than being a fairytale invented on Twitter on a slow news day, there is actually truth to the rumours that the Deadpool star and his buddy, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia creator Rob McElhenney, are looking to acquire a majority share in the Welsh club.
Spencer Harris, who is a director of the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, confirmed to BBC Radio Wales that the rumours were true and that the ownership bid was very much in motion.
“I’ve spoken to both of them several times. We’ve known for a little while, but we wanted to come as early as we could in the process to involve supporters.
“They are very serious, professional and successful people, not just as actors but in the business world as well and this is a very serious endeavour for them and they’ll set out their vision in due course, but I know they are very passionate about this and have gone into a lot of depth to understand about the football club.”
So….why? Well, that remains something of a mystery, although as those involved in the fan-owned outfit have been quick to point out, Wrexham is the third oldest football club in the world and the oldest in Wales, and so there is a weight of history to them. It is unknown whether Reynolds or McElhenney have any connections to the area.
They have agreed to share their ‘vision’ for the club in a Zoom call with the Supporters’ Trust chiefs, with a special general meeting giving the Hollywood duo a unanimous thumbs up – more than 95% of Trust members voted positively to allow Reynolds and McElhenney to commence with the business side of their takeover.
Of course, they wouldn’t be the first stars from the worlds of TV, movies and music to invest in a football club, and they will be walking a well-trodden path of those who have taken the plunge and ploughed their money into the beautiful game – as this rogue’s gallery confirms.
Elton John (Watford)
When not tinkling the ivories and crooning about Norma Jean, Elton John is watching his beloved Watford FC.
A lifelong fan of the club, Elton was offered a chance to invest in the Hornets way back in 1976 when they were relegated to the old fourth division – League Two as we know it today. He agreed and became the club’s chairman, and it’s pretty much been good times for them ever since.
Known for his occasionally short temper, Elton sacked the club’s manager, Mike Keen, in his first year in charge and replaced him with Graham Taylor – six seasons later, Watford had enjoyed three promotions and were in the first division, the 1980s equivalent of the Premier League.
Between 1982 and 1984, the Hornets finished second in the first division and reached an FA Cup final, and while they have failed to hit those highs since Watford have been hitting the right notes ever since Elton John took out his cheque book and pen.
Delia Smith (Norwich City)
While mostly known as a TV chef, Delia Smith has also become synonymous with Norwich City after she and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones purchased a controlling stake in the club back in 1996.
The East Anglian outfit has ricocheted between the Premier League and the Championship seemingly ever since, with the best of times – particularly the foray into the UEFA Cup in the early 1990s – now a thing of the past.
But Delia has invested heavily and is a passionate matchday supporter – evidenced best by her ‘let’s be ‘aving you!’ speech at half-time in a game against Manchester City. “A message for the best football supporters in the world: we need a 12th man here. Where are you? Where are you? Let’s be ‘avin’ you! Come on!” was the full power play she delivered on the mic.
Perhaps her most rewarding attribute for visitors to Carrow Road is that Delia took over catering duties at the club, allowing home and away fans to chance to gorge on half-time treats beyond the typical microwaved Pukka Pie and Mars Bar.
Will Ferrell (Los Angeles FC)
Hollywood funny man Will Ferrell is a big football (soccer?) fan, and he is often seen at Chelsea games while on promotional tours of the UK.
Clearly, he can’t bank his many millions at the London club given that Roman Abramovic doesn’t exactly need a silent partner, and so the Anchorman actor instead invested in his hometown club, Los Angeles FC, when they were formed in 2015.
Not only that, Ferrell managed to convince a number of his pals to also invest their millions, while other notable celebrities including basketball legend Magic Johnson, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, YouTube founder Chad Hurley and US television bigwigs Allen and Mark Shapiro soon climbed aboard too.
In 2019, LAFC had their best season yet, winning the Supporters’ Shield before losing out in the MLS Cup final to the Seattle Sounders.
LeBron James (Liverpool)
As well as being something of an NBA demi-god, LeBron James is also noted as a successful entrepreneur and investor. But when he pumped £5 million into Liverpool FC back in 2011 – a 2% shareholding back then – even he would have been surprised at how things have panned out.
The Merseyside outfit has won the Premier League and the Champions League since, and their global value is now said to be some £2.1 billion – meaning that LeBron’s stake is now worth more than £35 million!
Nice work if you can get it….
Anthony LaPaglia (Sydney FC)
Anthony LaPaglia is one of those actors whom you know the face but not necessarily the name.
He won a Golden Globe for his role in Without a Trace, was a semi-regular in Frasier and appeared in the coming-of-age movie Empire Records.
LaPaglia was also a noted semi-professional footballer in his own right, and as the acting work took off he invested in Sydney FC, becoming a co-owner.
A passionate soul, LaPaglia struggled at times with the transition from fan to owner, often lambasting his players and managers on social media after particularly dire performances. He has since ended his involvement with the club.
Mindy Kaling (Swansea City)
Now for one of the bizarre-but-true ownership stories….
In 2016, an American consortium headed by businessmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien acquired a majority stake in Swansea City. So far, so ordinary.
But it later transpired that investors in the group included Mindy Kaling, the actress and comedienne famous for The Mindy project and The US Office.
The reason for her investment? Good old Oprah Winfrey, of course. “I was honestly inspired by Oprah, she invests in things she believes in and I believe in this team and I think it is a smart choice, I don’t think it’s going anywhere,” she told Lorraine Kelly.
“I could have picked something a little closer to my home, granted, but I think it’s an adventure.”
It’s unknown whether Mindy and Oprah have been spotted on the terraces of the Liberty Stadium as yet.