"WHY not dream big?"

That was the message from Wrexham AFC's new owners, Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds, as they held their first press conference at The Racecourse.

Our sister title the Wrexham Leader was at the club's ground for the event.

The two say they're here for years, that this is the first of many trips to Wrexham - and when the documentary cameras, currently filming the pair's takeover of the club, have left, and the news cycle has turned, they say they will still be working hard for Wrexham.

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Wrexham the community and Wrexham the football club, over which the friends took 100 per cent ownership in February, are interconnected, they say.

Rob, the creator and star of American TV comedy series It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia, described the historic stadium as feeling like a cathedral, where he could feel the spirit of the Wrexham's people.

They say they see themselves as custodians that will leave the club better than they found it.

"We wanted to buy a club that had a history and a connection to the community,” said Rob, who admitted he had fulfilled a boyhood dream when he stepped on the pitch of the club he owned and took part in a penalty shoot-out with the Wrexham players.

“When we looked at clubs, the list got smaller and smaller, and nothing came close to Wrexham.

“The ground feels like a cathedral and full of the spirit of people who have been before.

“This club has been here 160 years, when none of us were alive, and it will be here in another 160 years.”

And, in terms of football, there are no limits.

The National Wales:

Ryan said the focus would always be to "win, win, win" but they were realistic in their expectations.

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Rob, however, said he believed he could achieve something special with Wrexham.

The term "global force" was used again.

"I don't understand why we can't get to the premier league", said Rob.

The club is currently in the fifth tier of the English pyramid and were last in the Football League 13 years ago.

But Reynolds and McElhenney outlined their determination for Wrexham – formed in 1864 and the third oldest professional football club in the world – to join the elite of English football.

"We have the structure here. Why not dream big?"

"Why Wrexham?" is a question Rob and Ryan have been asked many times.

Deadpool star Ryan said: “We’ve been surprised how emotionally invested my friends and family are in this. It’s something incredibly contagious.

“It’s been tough as it’s been a year plus [since making their bid to buy Wrexham in September 2020] watching from afar and following on social media.

“We’d be lying if the dream wasn’t the Premier League. We want to get back in the Football League and continue our way upwards.

“I don’t profess to be a football expert, but I see the beauty of the fan and I see it through others."

The pair's enthusiasm for the club and community shone through.

"This is not a toy", said Rob.

"We wanted a club with history. Nowhere else came close."


It also seems that Ryan has become invested in the reality of British football.

Talking about Tuesday night's 3-2 defeat at Maidenhead, he said: "I loved every minute of it but it certainly had its moments of agony.

"I loved watching the club out there. For a moment there it was pretty damn exciting."

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They attended that game just hours after flying into the UK, and will watch their first home game at the Racecourse against Torquay on Saturday.

Wrexham, with new manager Phil Parkinson at the helm, have made a mediocre start to the season following substantial summer investment.

The Red Dragons are 11th in the National League after only four wins from their first 11 games.

“Why not dream big?” said Rob.

“Promotion and relegation - they are big stakes. That was the key to it all. It’s not something we’re used to back home.

“The club has been in this league for 13 years and some things are going to have to change.

“Some great people have kept the club alive in this time, but we are going to make some adjustments to meet the changes needed.”

The pair, who are taking centre stage in a new access-all-areas documentary about the club, insist they are at Wrexham for the long haul.

Both laughed when asked about the wet weather that has greeted them in north Wales.

Ryan joked he was used to it “coming from Vancouver” while Philadelphia-born McElhenney said it “felt like home”.

On the penalty shoot-out, Canadian star Ryan said: “Rob got one. I wore ice skates which was a stupid move off the bat.

“I’ve loved every second of being here. I loved watching the club (at Maidenhead) and it’s going to be rocking here on Saturday.

“We want to feel that thunder, I think it’s going to be pretty special.

“We feel the sky’s the limit and the perfect ending for this season is promotion.”

Asked which celebrity pal he would like to bring to Wrexham, Ryan chose actor and comedian Will Ferrell, but he insisted it was the club’s legacy that is important to him.

Ryan said: “We want to set up a structure… unless there is a meteor and then we are f*****.

“The documentary provides context for the entire community.

“We have a goal for the end of this club as well as this season and hopefully it’s a story to be told for years to come.

“The trick is to take our time a little bit. This is the first of many trips we will be taking to Wales.”

Both spoke about the warm welcome they had been given in Wrexham.

Rob said: "It's incredible. We've only been here for two days and we already feel like we've been welcolmed home."

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Ryan added: "They will be bored of us soon I hope. But it's been pretty amazing."

Ryan added that meeting supporters in The Turf pub for a "no holds barred" chat was an unexpected pleasure.

Although both agreed they had perhaps drank too much.

Additional reporting Phil Blanche, PA

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