Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney may provide the Hollywood glitz and glam, but their spark is kept burning by another huge figure in the background.
When you consider Wrexham’s recent success several things come to mind: Reynolds and McElhenney cheering in the stands and necking shots with the locals in the Turf pub, Paul Mullin whacking in goals for fun or Ben Foster saving the vital penalty in their jaw-dropping National League victory over Notts County.
However, these are not what keep the Wrexham show on the road. The Deadpool and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia stars have to fly back to Los Angeles, Mullin’s League Two campaign was delayed by a pre-season injury and Foster chose to retire after the Welsh side’s 5-5 draw against Swindon. Throughout every peak and trough, there has been one constant presiding over the club throughout the Hollywood titan’s ownership.
The ever-presence of Reynolds’ business partner George Dewey.
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Dewey’s influence has been more than felt, not just on the television screens where the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary is a huge favourite, but in the community itself. His immense contribution has been documented in the book ‘Tinseltown: Hollywood and the Beautiful Game – a Match Made in Heaven'.
While Reynolds is widely renowned for his successful hit movie Deadpool, there was a brief period where his appearance in the Marvel blockbuster 'The Green Lantern', which performed poorly in the box-office, had made him the butt of jokes. When Reynolds set about co-writing, pitching, producing and starring in Deadpool, he also decided to open his own marketing company called ‘Maximum Effort’ – a catchphrase said by his character in Deadpool.
Dewey helped market the movie on a slender budget and was soon brought into the company as a partner. Wrexham fans were able to acquaint themselves with Dewey’s creative mind when they saw the unforgettable spoof advert of Reynolds and McElhenney advertising different kinds of rural farm trailers.
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Welcome to Wrexham is back to take you behind the scenes at the Welsh club following the superstar takeover by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
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It was run soon after they announced their takeover bid had been approved, receiving more than 500,000 views in one hour. Soon after, more serious decisions were being taken.
With their feet firmly under the table at The Racecourse Ground, Reynolds and Dewey set about finding a sponsor that would not only bring huge commercial value, but match Maximum Effort’s ethos of finding new and entertaining ways to bring people together.
“We wanted a brand that really said something,” Dewey said. They soon decided social media site TikTok was the perfect company to emblazon their shirts. “A National League team and a teen dancing app? We thought that would be a statement,” Dewey laughed.
With the huge attention being paid to what is, in the grand scheme of things, still a small club, Dewey’s instincts have been vital to ensuring there have been little conflicts and controversies in the club. They have avoided making any political statements and ensured the club was always steered away from contentious or divisive subjects.
“We try to make content that's successful to everyone, and everyone should feel free to express their own beliefs,” says Dewey. “But we never want to become a political maelstrom, even though that was harder than we calculated at the start. There's Tory and Labour politics. There's Wales versus England politics. There's north versus south politics. We don't want to enter those waters.”
The sense of community they have presided over is obvious in the documentary. Welcome to Wrexham has earned Disney around £4m, according to industry analysts. Orders for club merchandise also improved sixfold within the first month.
"The documentary is about the town and the club, obviously, and showing the world that there's a town you've never heard of, that you probably can squint and see yourself there, and that you should maybe be rooting for them”, says Dewey. “You don't have to root for them, but maybe you should be!”
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