Almost a full year after they first got the green light to complete their highly publicised (and highly surprising) takeover, Wrexham owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were in the crowd for their very first match on Tuesday.
“Deadpool” star Reynolds and “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” creator McElhenney first had their proposed takeover approved by a fan vote in November 2020 and joined a select group of celebrity football club owners when they purchased the Welsh side back in February, investing £2 million ($2.75m) to take control of the fifth-tier outfit. However, travel restrictions and scheduling difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic had prevented them from flying over to see the club in person before now.
The Hollywood pair were in the crowd for the first time as Wrexham travelled to face Maidenhead United at York Road on a cold night in middle England. They looked on as their side lost 3-2, thus kicking off their tenure with a very typical non-league experience.
As you might expect, the sight of Reynolds and McElhenney (who was wearing an official Wrexham puffer jacket for the occasion) in the stands caused a frisson of excitement as fans in the ground were excited by the celebrities in their midst.
Good lord. Ryan Reynolds is at Maidenhead United v Wrexham pic.twitter.com/guG87lpAtX
— Dan Salisbury-Jones (@dsj_itv) October 26, 2021
Maidenhead were also keen to welcome the new Wrexham co-owners to their humble ground, which presumably isn’t very often graced by visiting Hollwood actors.
We are delighted to welcome Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney of Wrexham AFC to York Road this evening.#WeAreMaidenhead pic.twitter.com/dsOoD60q5d
— Maidenhead United (@MUFCYorkRoad) October 26, 2021
It’s not like Maidenhead didn’t have their own celebrity fan cheering them on either: 1990s British kids’ TV royalty Timmy Mallett was also in attendance — though he was perhaps overshadowed by the stars of “Free Guy” and “Mythic Quest.”
Celebrating a famous @MUFCYorkRoad win 3-2 v @Wrexham_AFC
Loved this game.
Nice to see excited fans! pic.twitter.com/TXogGPGVQN
— Timmy Mallett (@TimmyMallett) October 26, 2021
Unfortunately, the Red Dragons quickly fell 2-0 down as Maidenhead scored twice in as many minutes. Wrexham battled their way back level at 2-2 n the second half, the visitors ultimate lost out to a 75th-minute heartbreaker from Josh Kelly.
Despite the result, Reynolds and McElhenney certainly appeared to enjoy the game with goals to celebrate and missed opportunities to rue in equal measure. Reynolds made sure to personally thank his Maidenhead counterpart Peter Griffin for hosting so graciously and congratulated the Magpies on their victory.
A message from @VancityReynolds after last night’s game ?
It was a pleasure to host the Wrexham chairmen at York Road alongside our officials and directors. #WeAreMaidenhead pic.twitter.com/uDdwZqtNVU
— Maidenhead United (@MUFCYorkRoad) October 27, 2021
“Football is a beautiful, heartbreaking, soul-deadening, evil and gorgeous game and I’m never sleeping again,” the “Van Wilder: Party Liaison” star later said on Instagram.
McElhenny remained upbeat, joking on Twitter postmatch that he would prefer to see his first victory among the team’s home crowd anyway.
We didn’t want our first win to be away anyway.☺️ Congrats to @MUFCYorkRoad on a tough game. See you at Y Cae Ras @Wrexham_AFC ??????? pic.twitter.com/74Ucxk9Wwr
— Rob McElhenney (@RMcElhenney) October 27, 2021
The pair didn’t have time to meet with Wrexham manager Phil Parkinson on the night, but the coach hopes to be able to sit down with his new owners at some point in the very near future.
“They flew in today and they were trying to keep a low profile but I imagine it’s fairly difficult to be low profile and they let us get on with it,” Parkinson said. “We look forward to meeting them later in the week.”
The defeat leaves Wrexham in 11th place in the National League, already 13 points off top spot with 11 games of their season played.
Next up for the Red Dragons is a home game at the Racecourse Ground against Torquay United on Saturday. Will the team be able to deliver a first win for their new bosses in the flesh at the second time of asking? No pressure, guys.