THE GANG BUYS A NON-LEAGUE FOOTBALL CLUB
The Fiver’s downtime is usually spent slugging super-strength Tin while watching 2. Bundesliga matches with chalkboard in hand. Who needs Netflix when Talking Pictures shows old episodes of Budgie, Catweazle and the late Jill Gascoine in The Gentle Touch? Superhero films are also a no-no at Fiver Towers. Who needs caped crusaders when you have Paul Lambert and Phillip Cocu? Thus, the news that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have been revealed as potential investors in Wrexham AFC required some frantic googling on our abacus. Isn’t Deadpool a Dirty Harry sequel? It is really Always Sunny in Philadelphia? And what comes to mind about Wrexham’s football club itself?
Yes, Mickey Thomas thudding a free-kick past David Seaman in January 1992 and dumping league champions Arsenal out of the FA Cup when Wrexham had finished the previous season 92nd in the league. And yes, then Mickey T’s printing machine. Perhaps that lurid tale caught the eye of a 15-year-old Reynolds as he grew up in Vancouver or a 14-year-old McElhenney while he grew up in, er, Philly. Or perhaps the pull of a club that gave the world Dai Davies, Brian Flynn, Horace Blew, Albert Kinsey and Joey Jones did it. Either way, a wash of cold reality is required.
Wrexham are in the National League, an entity for which there is no guarantee the 2020-21 season will be started, let alone completed. And the second wave of Covid-19 is likely to starve lower- and non-league clubs of access to the lifeblood of gate receipts for the foreseeable future. The club is fan-owned, a state of being that would have saved Bury and Macclesfield from their recent collapses, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing the interest to progress. There is palpable enthusiasm at the prospect of dollars and immaculate dentistry coming to Clwyd. “97.5% of voters (1,223 members) voted in favour of the resolution,” chirruped a statement.
Reynolds is something of a magnate, having made decent coin beyond the screen from having stakes in designer gin and mobile telephony. He and McElhenney see something in a small club that has struggled on for years. Should they be successful at Wrexham then lower-league fans begging random north American actors to bail out their club may become a common sight to behold on social media disgraces. Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston to buy Boreham Wood? Sissy Spacek and Jennifer Aniston for Solihull Moors? Scott Baio and Bronson Pinchot to rescue Rochdale? Struggling provincial football clubs could soon become the new Hollywood A-list must-haves.
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QUOTE OF THE DAY
“After I did the show, there were a lot of big agencies interested in me but if you sign with them you have to be available every time. But that wasn’t possible, so it was a no-go” – Lincoln City’s Lewis Montsma on why he wasn’t able to model and play professional football. A problem The Fiver knows only too well.
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Football Weekly Extra
Will grounds stay empty for another six months?
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“After reading about Liverpool throw-in coach Thomas Grønnemark (yesterday’s Quote of the Day), maybe I should offer my services as: a kick-off coach, a goal-celebration expert, a commiseration sage, for the end of matches, a magnanimous-winner specialist, at the final whistle, a good-loser authority (my team, Sunderland, would need one), a referee-appeal wizard and a con-the-ref virtuoso. Could be a nice little earner” – Phil Davison.
“Regarding the grave and dire state of the soon-to-be penniless Premier League. I’m sure the plucky EPL can limp along for a decade or two if all players donate half their wages back to the clubs/league. A top-end half-salary, for instance, could power the floodlights at most grounds. Less well-heeled journeymen could cover the kit washers’ and boot cleaners’ wages (or – shock horror – do it themselves). Life will carry on. Football, as a sport, is not dependent on money as long as there’s a patch of grass to play on and a couple of jerseys for … I’ll get me hat” – Rod de Lisle.
“Re: yesterday’s Fiver. May I be the first of 1,056 readers to suggest that the only way for The Fiver to stay ahead of the curve is to campaign relentlessly to STOP STOP/START football?” – Joe Kenrick (and no others).
NEWS, BITS AND BOBS
Data gathered by the police, FA and anti-discrimination campaigners has has revealed that one in 10 fixtures in the 2019-20 season had an incident of hate crime in England and Wales – even though 319 matches were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic and a further 227 were played behind closed doors.
Adebayo Akinfenwa, Wycombe Wanderers and the PFA are unhappy the FA has concluded that a reference to him as a “fat water buffalo” was not racist.
Milan forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic has tested positive for Covid-19 and is in quarantine at home.
Despite a ban on fans attending games, police have been busy preparing for Saturday’s pwopah nawty derby between Watford and Luton. “Anyone who comes into Hertfordshire to cause criminal damage, violence or anti-social behaviour can expect to be arrested,” elucidated chief superintendent Matt Nicholls.
Luis Suárez has left Camp Nou. “I’m joining Atlético Madrid with a lot of excitement,” he roared, “but I still haven’t thought about what it will be like to play against Barcelona. I haven’t fully digested it yet.” Maybe he should take smaller bites.
Aston Villa and West Ham are leading the chase to sign Ruben Loftus-Cheek on a season’s loan.
And Mesut Özil’s omission from Mikel Arteta’s squads still appears to fascinate some, such that the Spaniard has been asked about it again. “I try to select the players that are, in my opinion, in better condition,” he said yet again, before saying something similar on Friday, then again on Monday night.
STILL WANT MORE?
Leaked documents reveal Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich invested in the economic rights of other clubs’ players. Proper Journalism’s David Conn delves into a murky business.
“I just want to watch the football”: stadiums will not feel welcoming for all while there is still casual homophobia in the stands, writes Ross Hunter.
Liverpool could pinch Kalidou Koulibaly from under Manchester City’s noses, according to today’s Mill.
Want to know exactly how many players Serie A new boys Spezia have brought in on loan? Look no further than our men’s transfer window interactive.
David Beckham, Roberto Baggio and plenty more skied penalties in this week’s Classic YouTube roundup.
Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!