What does one do when fame and fortune aren’t enough? Purchase an entire football club, of course.
That was the case for actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The duo not only became co-chairmen of the Wrexham AFC team in Wales, but chronicled their journey in Welcome to Wrexham — a documentary series for which Disney+ has released the first trailer for.
“In 2020, Rob and Ryan teamed up to purchase the 5th tier Red Dragons in the hopes of turning the club into an underdog story the whole world could root for,” reads the series’ official synopsis, according to AV Club. “The worry? Rob and Ryan have no experience in football or working with each other.”
While it’s unclear whether the two have seen Ted Lasso, they certainly channeled its ambitious American protagonist when acquiring the Wrexham team. The purchase in 2020 began with a few Instagram messages in the early days of the pandemic, according to Yahoo.
Reynolds initiated the conversation before sending McElhenney, whom he had never even met, a case of his Aviation American Gin. Within months, the budding pals jointly pondered buying a European soccer club — leading McElhenney to ask his wife, Kaitlin Olson, for advice.
“So I said to my wife, ‘Do you think if it’s a good idea if I ask Ryan if he wants to be a partner?'” McElhenney told Men’s Health in 2021. “And she said, ‘Well, that depends on whether or not your ego can take sharing space with Ryan Reynolds.’”
“And the truth is, my first thought was Ooh, you’re right.”
The two eventually agreed to buy Wrexham, the third-oldest professional football club in the world. While the team competes in England’s fifth-tier national league, Reynolds said the goal wasn’t to take over something already victorious, but to lead an underdog to triumph.
Reynolds and McElhenney attend the Vanarama National League semi-final at Wrexham’s Racecourse Ground on May 28, 2022.
Bradley Collyer – PA Images via Getty Images
“It was us not just purchasing a football club in the national league, but really working on a community that surrounds that club and getting involved in the community around that club and growing that,” Reynolds told Yahoo. “And that’s the thing that really hooked me.”
Wrexham regularly plays on the local Racecourse Ground, which holds 10,500 seats and opened in 1807. Those grounds serve as the oldest soccer stadium to hold international matches, according to Variety.
While Reynolds and McElhenney are well known for their acerbic senses of humour, the new trailer is perhaps surprisingly low on laughs. The pair wasn’t joking when they set out to fortify the Welsh team, as evident by the $2.3 million they’ve already invested.
Welcome to Wrexham premieres August 24 on FX in the United States and will stream exclusively on Disney+ starting August 25 in the UK.