There was no red carpet for Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, but for Wrexham‘s celebrity owners it appeared to be the walk of a lifetime.
In a week when Hollywood glitz and glamour had been transported to north Wales, this was the moment that two of Tinseltown’s cast members had relished. The Deadpool star Reynolds is more used to lavish film sets which have helped him accumulate a reported net worth of $150m. McElhenney is the creator and producer of the long-running American TV series It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, in which he also stars.
It may not always be sunny in Wrexham and, indeed, their first visit since taking ownership of the club in February has been accompanied by plenty of familiar Welsh rain. But the “sold out” signs had been put up at the Racecourse Ground before McElhenney and Reynolds entered stage right and strode out to the centre circle before Saturday’s National League clash with Torquay.
Flanked by the FX network cameras, which have shadowed their every move for a forthcoming documentary entitled Welcome to Wrexham, Reynolds took the microphone and paid tribute to his new set of admirers. “Last night Rob and I were walking around the Racecourse Ground without a single soul in here,” he said. “I can honestly say it was one of the most magical awe-inspiring things I have seen in my entire life. Until right now.
“The tradition, the legacy, the history of not only this community but this club is not lost on us. We hold it incredibly dear. Thank you for opening your hearts to us these last few days. It means the absolute world to us and we’re so grateful.”
As chants of “Wrexham, Wrexham” filled the air with nearly 10,000 crammed into the Racecourse, McElhenney weighed in. “Croeso i Wrecsam [Welcome to Wrexham]. Croeso i’r Cae Ras [Welcome to the Racecourse]. Come on you Reds!” he roared before the pair laid wreaths before the club’s closest home fixture to Armistice Day.
It was the only time the Racecourse fell silent on a vibrant afternoon when the co-owners celebrated the perfect start, Harry Lennon lashing home Ben Tozer’s long throw inside four minutes. But football is no respecter of reputations, not even those with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Connor Lemonheigh-Evans’ late diving header spoiled the party and kept Wrexham firmly embedded in mid-table and with much to do to mount a promotion charge.
McElhenney and Reynolds have promised to make many return trips, but this week, from the moment they showed up in Maidenhead to witness Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat, will not be forgotten in a hurry.