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Which famous figures have owned sports teams?

Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have officially completed their takeover of National League club Wrexham.

The actors are not the first celebrity owners of a sports team.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some other examples.

David Beckham – Inter Miami CF

David Beckham, left, and Ryan Reynolds
Perhaps Ryan Reynolds was inspired by David Beckham (Isabel Infantes/PA)

Beckham’s move to Major League Soccer in 2007 was a landmark moment in the history of the league. As a part of his transfer to the Los Angeles Galaxy, there was an agreement that allowed the former England captain to own an MLS team for a discounted fee. He exercised that option in 2014 and the team played its first match last year.

Class of ’92 – Salford

Phil Neville, fourth left,, Gary Neville, fifth left, Paul Scholes, centre left, and Nicky Butt, centre
Salford’s illustrious co-owners include Phil Neville, Gary Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt (Martin Rickett/PA)

Former Manchester United players Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Nicky Butt, Gary Neville and Phil Neville bought the club in 2014 with it in the Northern Premier League Division One North. Salford became full-time in 2017 and now play in League Two following four promotions. Beckham joined his old team-mates in becoming a shareholder in 2019 while Scholes had previously filled in as caretaker manager for several games.

Shah Rukh Khan – Kolkata Knight Riders

Shah Rukh Khan Madame Tussauds Photocall – London
Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has enjoyed some success (Yui Mok/PA)

The Bollywood star bought the team at the inception of the Indian Premier League in 2007. The franchise has gained immense popularity due to its association with celebrity owners – film producer and entrepreneur Juhi Chawla is also an owner – and won the IPL in 2012 and 2014.

Russell Crowe – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Rugby League – World Club Series – St Helens v South Sydney Rabbitohs – Langtree Park
South Sydney Rabbitohs co-owner Russell Crowe (Martin Rickett/PA)

Raised in Sydney, the film star bought the Rabbitohs along with businessman Peter Holmes a Court in 2006. Holmes a Court stood down two years later amid rumours of a rift with Crowe, who remains involved with the rugby league club.

Donald Trump – New Jersey Generals

Donald Trump
Former US President Donald Trump tried his hand at owning a sports team (Alex Brandon/PA)

Before he became United States president, one of Trump’s ambitions was to own a sport franchise and he coveted an NFL team. Unable to make this happen he purchased the New Jersey Generals American football team of the newly formed USFL in the early-1980s. By 1986 the league had collapsed and many blamed Trump for its demise.

Richard Branson – London Broncos

Richard Branson, left, and Ryan Reynolds, right
Branson, left, and Reynolds, right, have other business interests in common (Jon Enoch/PA)

The British businessman took over as chairman of the rugby league club in 1997 with a promise to make them the best in the world. The Broncos finished second in Super League and reached the Challenge Cup final but by 2001 Branson was gone and a slow decline followed.

Sir Elton John – Watford

Elton John in the stand at Watford’s Vicarage Road ground (PA)

The singer became club chairman in 1976. His ambition was to take Watford form the old Fourth Division to the First Division – and he succeeded. Under Graham Taylor, the Hornets finished second behind champions Liverpool during the 1982-83 season. John stepped down as chairman in 2002.

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