Celebrity Football Club Owners – From Wrexham To Miami

In this post we take a look at celebrity football club owners and famous names as football becomes an increasingly commercialised sport.

Who Are Football Club Owners Today?

From wealthy aristocrats, billionaire businessmen to state oligarchies, the identity of owners has increasingly become a hot topic in the world of football. Many believe that the influence of states and billionaires has become all too commonplace and is ruining the game that we all love. Whether it is a good thing or not it is the reality of not just modern-day football but sport as we know it today.

Long ago, clubs would be owned by local merchants, with the business often having a connection with the football or making products supporters may buy. Manchester United for example during its history have been owned by a brewer, a clothing manufacturer and a butcher.

The days of a local businessman and the “common man” owning their own football club across the world is becoming far less common. The presence of fan-owned football clubs like in Germany or closer to home like Bohemians have now become the exception not the rule in football

“Owning a football club is a statement that you’re at a certain level as a businessman,” says Dan Jones, a member of the Sports Business Group, a partner of Deloitte Consulting.

That being said there are positives to the increasingly commercialised football landscape. It gives us some extremely interesting sporting and pop-culture crossovers along with getting to see some of the biggest and most successful footballers there have been give back to the game and impose their foot-print on a football club!

Celebrities becoming owners of football clubs has become somewhat of a trend in recent years. In June 2023 news broke that golfers Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas are looking to invest in a consortium which could take over recently relegated Premier League side Leeds United. This got us thinking about who are the big name celebrity football club owners right now. So we put together a list!

Celebrity Football Club Owners

1. Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney – Wrexham AFC

This is by far the most well known case of a football club being taken over by celebrities. The duo made famous through their exploits in Hollywood bought the English National League team back in 2020. The process of purchasing and running of the club would be soon regularly documented in the TV series ‘Welcome to Wrexham‘.

However, along with the Hollywood razzmatazz they both came heavily involved in the community and Welsh culture. Their first interaction with the club was announcing the club takeover with a Welsh translator. In 2022, Reynolds and McElhenney were awarded the Diolch Y Ddraig award by Welsh language TV station S4C for their role in promoting Welsh culture.

Most importantly the footballing side of things is flourishing. At the time of purchase, Wrexham were bottom of the National League but were just promoted to League 2 in their most recent season and looks like league favourites for promotion again next season.

2. David Beckham – Inter Miami

One of the most recognisable faces from the football world who starred for both Man United and Real Madrid amongst other clubs in his 21-year professional football career. Beckham might have been best known to many for his pop star wife Victoria and his good looks that it is easy to forget that he is one of the best British footballers of the last 50 years.

Soon after his retirement he began talks to become part owner of an MLS team to be launched in Miami. After seven long years and an arduous process, Inter Miami CF made its debut in 2020 with Beckham as a minority stakeholder.

In 2021 he became the majority stakeholder when he and his brothers Jorge and Jose Mas bought out Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son to become majority stakeholders of the team.

Despite a poor run of results in recent times Inter Miami were able to secure the transfer of global superstar and Ballon d’Or favourite Lionel Messi. Rumours of the transfer had been flying around for some time but many football fans believed it to be a long shot that Messi would sign for an MLS team.

It has been reported that Beckham and Messi are quite friendly and the former England international obviously holds a lot of sway as he was able to land Messi’s signature for Inter Miami. With the Argentine’s move confirmed on the 7th of June it is likely that the Florida side’s fortunes on the field will change pretty soon.

Beckham is also a part owner of another notable football club…

3. The Class of ’92 – Salford City

On 27 March 2014, it was announced that subject to FA and NPL approval, Salford City would be taken over by the Project 92 Limited consortium. That group consists of former Manchester United players Nicky Butt, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, and Paul Scholes, also famously known as Man United’s Class of ’92.

They have seen some phenomenal success since their takeover with the club in Step 7/8 of the English Football pyramid, the Northern Premier League, when they first took over. Salford City now find themselves in League 2 after four promotions and an EFL Trophy.

This tremendous success under the stewardship of the Class of ’92 means that they are only three promotions away from Premier League football. Not a bad start to life as football club owners for the Man United legends.

4. Ronaldo – Real Valladolid and Cruzeiro

The “original” Ronaldo and one of the most iconic players of all time most famously for Brazil, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan has continued his involvement in football following his retirement in 2011.

Ronaldo invested in Spanish side Real Valladolid in 2018 where he became majority owner by purchasing a 51% stake in the club for €30 million.

Ronaldo at the unveiling said, “I have gone through many stages in my training in football to prepare for this. Football is all about passion. We want to build the best team possible to compete while also giving information about our management with transparency”.

In 2021 he expanded his footballing empire further by buying a controlling stake in his boyhood club Cruzeiro after investing 400 million Brazilian reais ($70 million) in the club.

5. César Azpilicueta – Hashtag United

Finally, a wildcard many may not have heard of but Chelsea defender César Azpilicueta has gone an even more wholesome route in some sense. The Spanish international became a co-owner of Hashtag United in 2018.

What is Hashtag United I hear you ask? Hashtag United is a club which was formed in 2016 by YouTuber Spencer Carmichael-Brown, also known better as Spencer FC. Originally the club would play games that ranged from 5-a-side to 11-a-side which would be uploaded to YouTube. These videos began to attract a lot of viewers and followers across social media. Ahead of the 2018-19 season the club joined the English football league pyramid and has since gone from strength to strength.

Hashtag United play most of their matches live on YouTube but have completely blown up in popularity in recent years and are now a semi-professional outfit who have competed in the FA Cup. Azpilicueta has co-owned the club since 2018 in what has been a very successful few years as owner. There are no signs of the club taking a backward step anytime soon.

Remember, always gamble responsibly. Here’s our Safer Gambling Guide.