Posted: Wed 21st Dec 2022

Ryan Reynolds attends Wrexham Full Council meeting as they are formally given Freedom of the City of Wrexham for people living in or visiting the Wrexham area
This article is old - Published: Wednesday, Dec 21st, 2022

Ryan Reynolds appeared virtually at a session of Wrexham’s Full Council, and observed a vote that formally confirmed them as Freemen of Wrexham.

The Mayor of Wrexham Cllr Brian Cameron opened the meeting, and introduced the Council Leader Mark Pritchard who gave a long speech extolling the virtues of Wrexham Association Football Club as well as warm words for Rob and Ryan as a backdrop for the Freedom of the City civic award.

Cllr Pritchard said, “I’m delighted that this proposal is here at the Council today. Freedom of the City would be a wonderful way to acknowledge the football club’s proud history and the amazing impact the two owners, Rob and Ryan had in helping support Wrexham across the world.”

“We have an amazing story here in Wrexham, along with a unique character and identity that is winning fans all over the world.”

“These two are world stars who have had an incredible impact on both the football club and the community, and have helped catapult Wrexham onto the world stage. ”

“You also couldn’t wish to meet two nicer people. They are really two wonderful guys and have put their hearts and souls into the football and to the community of Wrexham and I think now is the right time to talk about how we recognise that. ”

Cllr Dana Davies spoke of the ‘debt of gratitude’ to the Wrexham Supporters Trust, who are also included in the detail of the honour that is for the club as well, from the Full Council. Cllr Davies praised the new owners, but also joked “Is American football, actually football? Given the ball is hardly kicked, and it’s carried most the time”.

Cllr Davies pointed to the cost of living crisis, noting choices between heating and eating, and that “…wealth creation improves the economic and social fortunes of people and communities, bringing benefits to all. That’s more important now than ever.”

“This award recognises the values of your engagement with people and communities of Wrexham and the global influence which you have positively used to promote Wrexham by shining the best and brightest light on us in the Welcome to Wrexham documentary on Disney+, and Hulu in America, as well as educating those who initially thought Wales was part of England”.

Cllr Marc Jones started his speech in Welsh noting that Wales was finally on the map, adding, “This rare honour shouldn’t be given lightly and that’s why I’m delighted that our football club, which has flown the flag for Wrexham, across Europe for decades, has provided fans with a roller coaster of emotions it’s fair to , is finally being recognised and not before time.

“This club, and more accurately, its fans have deserved recognition in the past decade, funds have kept the club, alive. ”

“To be honest, this council looked the other way.

“The community, the fans, the people of Wrexham, stepped up to the plate to save the club from oblivion from the vultures that were circling the Racecourse. There are too many of them to name, who campaigned, donated money, risked everything to expose wrongdoing. They did it because they understood the importance of the club to us locally and across Wales. So this freedom of Wrexham is a belated thanks to them.”

“The current owners are therefore standing on the shoulders of giants, ordinary people who did extraordinary things. In fairness, the current owners have recognised that from day one.”

Vocal critic Councillor Hugh Jones sent his apologies for the meeting, after making a wide ranging speech against the idea last month – perhaps a good move considering the number of ill sounding councillors in the chamber with hacking coughs.

Cllr Beverley Parry-Jones gave clarity on the Conservative Group point of view, saying they were not against the award to the club, but asked ” is it the right time?” Cllr Parry-Jones cited careers of former players, including Arfon Griffiths and Joey Jones and asked where their awards were.

Looking back to Remembrance Day Cllr Parry-Jones pointed out, “Out of all of the Armed Forces, the Royal Naval Association, are the only ones who do not have the freedom of the county borough” and looked for assurance that next year they would be in receipt of the honour.

Two votes took place, the first to award Wrexham Association Football Club the honour passed to a round of applause with 46 voting for and 2 abstaining.

Ryan Reynolds then spoke, “Rob having technical difficulties. He’s tried everything possible to log on and can’t seem to make it work. I would read you his text messages to me but I’m not sure the language is suitable for this honorable room.”

“We are going to try not to be too emotional here but we’re impossibly grateful for this honour from the council. Wrexham is home to one of the most beautiful stories on Earth.”

“Our goal is now and it’s always been to uphold the values of this community in this club. But none of it works without you, and without the people of Wrexham and the players on this team, the ground staff at the Racecourse – everyone who makes this work, the locals and each and every nook and cranny of Wrexham many of whom we now consider very close friends.

“We’re amplifying something that is really already there. We’re shining a light on something that is already quite perfect and unique and special. ”

“Wrexham is the name isn’t really just a slogan. It’s now a globally recognised motto, and our goal is to continue growing Wrexham in the hearts and minds of folks all over the planet.

“I think I can safely speak for Rob when I say that we consider ourselves genuinely the luckiest guys on Earth. Thank you for welcoming us into your homes and your special community. ”

Shaun Harvey spoke on behalf of the club as well, noting “We have many many targets many many ambitions both on and off the pitch, the overarching one of all is to ensure that we deliver a level of community benefit that makes everybody proud to live in Wrexham”

“We’re ambitious. Were ambitious on your behalf. Not on our behalf. And that’s what makes the difference. ”

In usual technical council manner, a minor debate on how votes would be held took place. Cllr David A Bithell suggesting to use the previous vote rather than a rollcall again.

The second vote took place, to award Mr McElhenney and Mr Reynolds the associated Freeman status then took place. It passed 46 for and 2 abstaining again to applause.

Mr Reynolds said “It is a great honour”.

Cllr Robert Ian Williams had referenced America a fair bit in his speech, prompting a comment from Ryan, “I’m equally pleased and delighted with the fact that Wrexham is on the tip of every American’s tongue right now, but I will just mention that I am in fact Canadian, I’m not an American. So, sometimes, you guys can also relate to that when you’re called English”.

Wrapping up the comments he added, “I will only say that it’s a deep and wonderful and profound honour and thank you. I know if Rob was here, he tends to be a little bit more emotional than me. I know. He’d be just a bucket of tears. ”

The Mayor added he hoped Wrexham AFC would win tonight, with Ryan echoing “Me too!”

The awards will be made in person next year.

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