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Old 18th November 2020, 13.48:57   #11-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The A-listers and Wrexham AFC

That’s how to write an article.
Thanks Rob Crossan
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Old 18th November 2020, 14.12:50   #12-0 (permalink)
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I doubt some/most won't like Harris being quoted in the media but this is The Guardian's take on it...

https://www.theguardian.com/football...rob-mcelhenney

A club director on the talks that brought actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney to town – and what lies ahead

It was during a phone call in May with the mysterious investors hoping to buy Wrexham that Spencer Harris twigged. “There was a guy called Rob on the call and from one or two of the things that he said, I guessed who he was. I kept that to myself for a couple of weeks,” he admits with a chuckle.

Nine years after the Wrexham Supporters Trust came to the rescue of its debt-ridden club, the arrival of new owners in the form of the Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney this week has catapulted the town in north Wales into the spotlight. But after 98.6% of votes cast by members of the trust supported their takeover, even Harris – who has served as one of five directors since 2011 – has been having to pinch himself.

“I’m quite down to earth so when I met them for the first time I wasn’t too starstruck,” he says. “But when I did find out it was people with such significant global reach, it did seem quite surreal. It’s been a wild few months.”

The story began this year when Harris was contacted by the Portsmouth chief executive, Mark Catlin. “He knows the people who’ve been representing Ryan and Rob and he asked me if we’d be interested in having a conversation with them,” Harris recalls.

“In the early stages, that was very much a conversation about somebody being interested. We were told that they were very high-profile but they wanted to get to know a little bit more about the club first and see if it’s a good fit. We went through that process to get to the non-disclosure agreement and then we were introduced to Ryan and Rob.”

Reynolds and McElhenney had enlisted the services of the New York-based sports investment specialists Inner Circle Sports LLC as they searched for the right club. Wrexham are in their 13th season in the National League having narrowly missed out on promotion after they finished second with a club record 98 points to a Jamie Vardy-inspired Fleetwood Town in 2012, and Harris insists the pair’s decision was no accident.

“Rob said he watched a lot of the things about the club and the town and he saw the types of people he recognised from his home town in Philadelphia,” he says. “That was really attractive to him.

“They’ve done a heck of a lot of research. Over the last few months, Rob has really got into the detail and I know he has watched the parade from 1978 when we were promoted to the second tier for the first time. He’s really serious about it. They could easily have bought a club several rungs higher but I think they are interested in the journey. It’s very encouraging.”

Harris adds: “Because of the calibre of representatives that they have used to scour Europe in an attempt to find the right club, I never thought this was just a gimmick. But if you have seen the video they released talking about our sponsors Ifor Williams, I think they are going to have some fun with it.

“We’ve only just had the vote and they’ve not even finished the sale and purchase agreement but they’ve already started having conversations with key stakeholders about returning sponsors and with the local authority, talking about what they can do for the community. That shows the type of people they are – they have real ambition for the club.”

News of their takeover has made global headlines, with Harris confirming that filming for a documentary which will follow their exploits has started, even it has yet to be confirmed where it will be broadcast. Harris, although excited at the prospect of seeing Wrexham’s story being told on the small screen, is adamant that Reynolds’ and McElhenney’s priority is ensuring success on the pitch.

“Some people have been a bit confused about the documentary – some people have suggested that it’s about the documentary rather than the football club. As I see it, the football club is the horse and the documentary is the cart. If you want to take your brand to a global level then what better way to do that? Here we are the third-oldest professional club in the world with the oldest international football stadium so there is a real story behind us.”

Harris adds: “Wrexham has a huge catchment area of around 900,000 – there’s a whole region that has nothing else and it’s an area that is football mad. Their vision is why can’t we go on this journey and why can’t we share this with an audience around the world? We’ve had the astronaut Chris Hadfield tweeting about us for a while and wearing a Wrexham kit and on Monday Russell Crowe was tweeting about how his grandfather came from the town. People are coming out of the woodwork everywhere.”

Reynolds and McElhenney plan to inject £2m of non-redeemable shares into the club, although the trust will retain the lease for the Racecourse Ground and collect rent from their Hollywood A-list owners. For now, though, Harris is urging supporters to give them time as he steps away from a loving commitment that has consumed him.

“I’ve given it the best years of my life,” he says. “There’s a small group of us who have been running the club from the start and thousands of volunteers that have made us successful. We will hand over a club that, even after the pandemic, has cash in the bank and has zero debt. But I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and be too positive. We need to manage expectations because Rome wasn’t built in a day and I do think they will try to build Rome at Wrexham. The biggest challenge they have ahead of them is getting out of the National League.”
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Old 18th November 2020, 14.59:19   #13-0 (permalink)
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“Give me a job”.
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Old 18th November 2020, 18.40:04   #14-0 (permalink)
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Ifor William's trailers directors had a personal call from Rob and Ryan Monday evening.
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Old 18th November 2020, 18.54:35   #15-0 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smiler corwen View Post
Ifor William's trailers directors had a personal call from Rob and Ryan Monday evening.
According to the same article so did Keates.

I wonder what they said to him?
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Old 18th November 2020, 19.19:30   #16-0 (permalink)
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I can confirm that I haven't had a personal phone call from North America.
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Old 19th November 2020, 22.15:38   #17-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The A-listers and Wrexham AFC

Interesting article by Adrian Chiles

https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/13237...-reality-show/
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Old 19th November 2020, 22.47:09   #18-0 (permalink)
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Default Re: The A-listers and Wrexham AFC

Spencer is also on the https://play.acast.com/s/The-Ornstei...hapman-Podcast

Mark Chapman and The Athletic's David Ornstein - usually a good listen.
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Old 19th November 2020, 23.00:08   #19-0 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Exiled Andy View Post
In The Times today:

On Monday night, after the announcement that the supporters of Wrexham AFC had voted for a Hollywood takeover of their beloved club, the owners-elect had their first experience of the way that buying a football club opens doors to the people in power.

Ryan Reynolds, the star of the Deadpool superhero films, and Rob McElhenney, best known for the TV show It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, picked up the phone and went into a series of calls with the leader of Wrexham Borough County Council, its chief executive, the manager of their new team and the club’s most prominent sponsor.

That afternoon the club posted a video the pair had made that began like a spoof advert for the products manufactured by the sponsor and recommended them as holiday gifts. “Nothing says I’m thinking about you - and your horse - like Ifor Williams Trailers” Reynolds said.

After explaining their proposed new relationship to Wrexham and its niche sponsor, they turned serious and thanked the fans for putting their trust in them. “We are humbled and we are already getting to work,” Reynolds continued. “Oh [bleep] this is really happening.”

As takeover announcements go it was unconventional. But then even by the standards of the sport, this is a very unusual union between rich men and a football club.


Canadian-American Reynolds, 44, best-known for playing the foul-mouthed Marvel anti-hero title role in the Deadpool films, is a staple of celebrity magazines, in part for his looks and stardom, and also because he is married to Blake Lively, the actress who made her name in the TV series Gossip Girl whom he met on the set of the film Green Lantern. They have three daughters.

He was previously married for three years to Scarlett Johansson and was once engaged to the singer Alanis Morissette. Estimated to be worth more than $100 million, he is a shrewd businessman who in August received a windfall after Aviation American, the gin brand he co-owned, was bought by Diageo.

McElhenney, 43, while less well-known in the UK, stars in and developed It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which after 15 years is claimed to be the longest-running live-action comedy series. He is married to Kaitlin Olson, who stars in the series with him, and they have two sons.

The team the actors have bought is 14th in the National League, the fifth tier of English and Welsh football. The third-oldest professional side in the world was responsible for probably the greatest upset in FA Cup history, beating Arsenal in the third round in 1992. However, the club dropped out of the English Football League in 2008 and has been community-owned since 2011.

Reynolds and McElhenney will pay a peppercorn figure for the club and invest £2 million. It is clear what Wrexham get out of it, but what are Reynolds and McElhenney up to? Americans own Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal and several other clubs. But Wrexham?

The extraordinary new chapter began in May when Spencer Harris, a director of Wrexham AFC and one of its community owners, received a call from the chief executive of Portsmouth, which also has a rather surprising American owner: Michael Eisner, the former boss of Disney.

Harris was connected to Inner Circle Sports, the company that helped Fenway Sports Group to buy Liverpool a decade ago. He was not told the identity of the potential buyers for several weeks, but eventually, after signing a non-disclosure agreement, was introduced by video call to Reynolds and McElhenney. Was he surprised?

“I tend to be fairly grounded in these things,” he says coolly. “These are highly talented people doing extraordinary jobs, but genuinely nice ordinary people when you scrape beneath that. It is quite an incredible thing that they are inquiring and want to know more about your football club. They come at things in a really different way. And it’s really refreshing.”

The stars met the community owner fans by Zoom and issued a “mission statement”. “We’re two people who’ve made a career of never taking ourselves too seriously,” they wrote. “However, we realise taking stewardship of this great and storied club is an incredibly serious matter and something we don’t take lightly.”

They said their goal was to grow the team so that it could return to the football league in an improved stadium and make a positive difference to the community. They were also ambitiously looking to extend its appeal. “Why can’t the third oldest club in the world have a global appeal?” they asked. As part of the wooing of fans, bottles of Aviation American were sent to local pubs.

“What they are really interested in is building something, shaping it, nurturing it and leaving it in a state that’s much better than when they found it,” Harris says. “They are wealthy guys, they’ve made their money. They want to have some fun with it.”

The actors also told the community group that owns the club that they wanted to make some sort of documentary about their project. Some observers have suggested that a deal for a series with Netflix could enable the actors to turn a profit on their £2 million investment. Harris insists that while a documentary is definitely going to happen, it is not their prime motivation. “Some are saying the documentary is the horse and the football club is the cart. It’s not that way round at all. They want to go on this journey and they want to document it and documenting it will drive revenue for the football club. They have shown humility coming into this. Some of the money that comes into football is not good money. And this is good money.”

The actors plan to visit as soon as pandemic travel restrictions allow. In Reynolds the town may get its first in-the-flesh sighting of a former People magazine “sexiest man alive” (2010 vintage). In their mission statement Reynolds and McElhenney said: “We want to be part of Wrexham’s story, not drag the club into ours.” That might be easier said than done, but however it turns out, their attempt to give the “Red Dragons” back some of their fire should be essential viewing — and ensure the club attracts sponsors beyond those specialising in horseboxes and beavertail trailers.


What the new owners can expect — a fan’s view
I wonder if Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are really ready for the emotional toll of being Wrexham FC fans? I watched my first game 29 years ago at the age of 11, and I can tell you that until you’ve been 4-0 down at home to Telford United within the first ten minutes, you don’t know true misery. My years as a supporter have been a truly epic journey across the emotional buttresses of ennui, misery, anger and boredom.

Here’s a quick guide to what else they can expect when they finally make it over to north Wales for a match:

● Before leaving for the Racecourse Ground (the oldest stadium in the world to have hosted an international match), Reynolds and McElhenney must drink a bottle of Wrexham Lager. It’s so beloved by the fans that a regular anthem is to change the words of Bread of Heavento “Wrexham Lager, Wrexham Lager, feed me till I want no more.”

● As early as possible in proceedings, some form of anti-Chester FC sentiment must be expressed. The Wrexham-Chester derby is the only “international” derby in the UK and there is absolutely no sense whatsoever of grudging fraternity between the two. It’s outright hatred and the more abuse Reynolds and McElhenney can pile upon the loathed team from the Roman city 15 miles away, the more popular they will be.

● When things get really bad, Reynolds and McElhenney should, with the help of supporters sitting near by, close their eyes and sink into a reverie about the events of January 4, 1992, when the reigning league champions Arsenal came to the Racecourse for an FA Cup third-round game and were beaten 2-1 in what is, arguably, still the greatest cup shock.

● And finally, no amount of Hollywood stardust will help with the contempt Reynolds and McElhenney will receive if they can’t sing, with gusto, the unofficial anthem of the club. All together now:

Oh fluffy sheep, oh fluffy sheep
Oh fluffy sheep are wonderful
They’re white, fluffy and Welsh
Oh fluffy sheep are wonderful.

Rob Crossan
.. or better still chant "five nil to the sheepshggrs".. that would take a bit of translating across the pond! This will have to wait until their soccer team has been assigned a new
offensive play coordinator (after Keates and co have been terminated)..
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Old 20th November 2020, 08.53:43   #20-0 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by LlayDragon View Post
According to the same article so did Keates.

I wonder what they said to him?
Please leave the building , taxi for Mr Keates .
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