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Ryan Reynolds in a real-life Hollywood romance with Wrexham FC

Ryan Reynolds is in talks to take over Wrexham FC from England
Ryan Reynolds is in talks to take over Wrexham FC from England's fifth-tier.
Mark Pitman
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 25 Sep 2020, 02:43 IST
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Hollywood loves a rags-to-riches storyline, a tale of success against the odds, the feel-good factor of a happy ending when everything seems lost. The lower the lows, the higher the highs. But while the truth rarely gets in the way of a good story, when it comes to the silver screen, a very real tragedy is now set for a Tinseltown makeover: Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are in talks to take over Wrexham AFC.

The Welsh club currently compete in the fifth tier of the English pyramid system, a division they have desperately tried and failed to get out of since they arrived there in 2008. No club has sat on the periphery of the Football League for as long as Wrexham have, but that is only a small part of their story.

Wrexham were 'within hours of going out of business'

Wrexham play at the famous old Racecourse ground that hosted international football in 1877.
Wrexham play at the famous old Racecourse ground that hosted international football in 1877.

The years that followed Wrexham's relegation have been ones of frustrating disappointment for the fans at the famous old Racecourse ground, but it is better to feel those negative emotions than to feel nothing at all.

In 2011, the club were on the verge of folding under the weight of their financial debt, but they were saved by the very same supporters who could not bear to live without their club.

Founded back in 1864, Wrexham are one of the oldest football clubs in the world. The Racecourse is a throwback to a previous era. Entering the ground instantly takes you back to a bygone age of the beautiful game that has been lost at the highest level. Wales first played international football there in 1877, making it the world's oldest international stadium that is still in use.

Rob McElhenney is a part of Wrexham
Rob McElhenney is a part of Wrexham's takeover with Ryan Reynolds.

However, Wrexham is situated in one of the most deprived areas of the country. Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the positive headlines that have marked this announcement have been as welcome as the release of any blockbuster movie. But this is very much reality over fantasy, and reports suggest that Wrexham's takeover is very much on the cards.

Meet the cast

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Wrexham were taken over by their supporters in 2011 to stop the club going out of business.
Wrexham were taken over by their supporters in 2011 to stop the club going out of business.

And so the complexities of our two contrasting parties have been scripted. The rich Hollywood stars meet the impoverished entity from a very different world. The storyline is not an unfamiliar one, but the reality of the current situation means that nobody is yet quite sure how this particular chapter in the tale is going to play out.

This week, for the first time since they beat then-English champions Arsenal in the FA Cup back in 1992, Wrexham are headline news. The lows that they have suffered in the interim could have been enough for them to give up ever repeating such highs again. But the supporters that donated with the cash and their heart in 2011 have now earned the right to pass the baton to a potentially bright, if not a more bizarre, new era.

Wrexham's Hollywood storyline

Ryan Reynolds has proved himself to be a successful entrepreneur as well as an actor.
Ryan Reynolds has proved himself to be a successful entrepreneur as well as an actor.

Persisting with a vision and a dream against all the odds forms the cornerstone of every success story. There is no doubt that the potential new owners themselves had their own career doubts before their big breaks materialised.

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McElhenney was denied his film debut when he was removed from the final cut of The Devil's Own in 1997. Reynolds may have questioned his future after watching Van Wilder back in 2002.

But just as Reynolds and McElhenney persisted and succeeded, the supporters that took ownership of Wrexham in 2011 have ensured that their football club continues to take them on a unique roller coaster of emotion that comes from having a vested interest in a club that never could quite achieve what you dreamt it would.

Wrexham have played in the National League since 2008.
Wrexham have played in the National League since 2008.

While the proposal remains at an early stage, there is clearly a mutual interest in pursuing this takeover, and things may never be the same again if that happens.

The positive attention that it has already generated signals the dawn of another chapter in the colourful history of this great club, and while it may be one of the most unexpected stories to emerge from the Racecourse, it is one of the most exciting.

This is certainly no quick-fix project if Reynolds and McElhenney have their eyes on the big prizes on offer in the world game. For Wrexham who play in the fifth tier, this is a romantic investment that could provide a strong platform and financial security to protect the third-oldest professional football club in the world. This is a feel-good story with a twist.

Wrexham could be more Welshpool than Deadpool

 Wrexham famously beat Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup in 1992.
 Wrexham famously beat Arsenal in the third round of the FA Cup in 1992.
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Wrexham's takeover in itself would provide an alternative happy ending to the boom-and-bust culture of the traditional trophy-chasing investors. But there is a deeper meaning behind a football club like Wrexham than results.

It is a club that represents its people, its town and its community, and its survival for future generations to enjoy the same success and failure on the field is a Hollywood story worth embracing.

Published 25 Sep 2020, 02:43 IST
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