Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bring Hollywood to Wrexham at first home match
The Hollywood stars bought the National League club in February
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.
Deadpool star Reynolds is more used to lavish film sets which have helped him accumulate a reported net worth of 150 million US dollars.
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 Vanarama 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,” said Reynolds, who has 39.4 million followers on Instagram and over another 18 million on Twitter.
“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 ahead of 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 crazy week, from the moment they showed up in Maidenhead to witness Tuesday’s 3-2 defeat, will not be forgotten in a hurry.
The pair were in Wrexham for the first time the next day with Reynolds, somewhat uncomfortably it must be said, literally left holding the baby as one fan took a family photograph to cherish.
Next stop was The Turf, a pub adjacent to the ground and a building steeped in as much history as the club and stadium itself.
Wrexham AFC was formed at The Turf in 1864 and the Racecourse remains the world’s oldest stadium that continues to stage international games, having hosted Wales’ first home match in 1877.
Maybe that historic fact was toasted as McElhenney and Reynolds mingled with supporters and helped bar takings soar.
“I was expecting to drink but I wasn’t expecting to do multiple shots of gin,” McElhenney said. “They just kept lining them up, shot after shot.”
Even Danny DeVito – who appears in It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia alongside McElhenney – joined the party. Or did he?
A video emerged on social media appearing to show the diminutive DeVito walking into the pub with Wrexham’s owners.
But landlord Wayne Jones gave the game away, saying: “It wasn’t Danny. It was an Irish fellow who I believe plays the role when they do Rob’s show over in Ireland.
“He didn’t look too bad from a distance. But the closer you got to him the less he looked like him.”
It is probably only a matter of time before DeVito rocks up at the Racecourse. Reynolds hopes acting chum Will Ferrell pays a visit and Wrexham could soon become the unlikely destination of choice for Hollywood A-listers.
McElhenney said: “Eventually the documentary will cease but this club will not and neither will we. We’re going to be here as long as they’ll have us.”
Expect more plot twists to what could be a potential blockbuster.