Retired NFL star J.J. Watt said he spoke to actor Ryan Reynolds before becoming a minority investor in Premier League-bound Burnley, with the Hollywood star’s success as Wrexham co-owner inspiring him to do the same.
Watt, who retired after a 12-year NFL career in January, announced his investment in Championship title winners Burnley on Monday alongside his wife, former United States midfielder Kealia Watt.
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“I have been a football fan for a long time. Since about 2010-11, I got into the Premier League. I really loved the league. Obviously, my wife is a professional soccer player, and I really wanted to get into ownership,” Watt told ESPN’s “Get Up” on Wednesday.
“I knew that once I was done, I wanted to stay involved in sport and I was looking for the right opportunity. I waited because I knew once I got it, I want to go all-in, and Burnley the town, the club, the ownership group was the right fit, and we’re extremely excited.
“We’re going back over there on Friday. We’re going to spend a week — it’s our second time going over.”
Reynolds, alongside fellow actor Rob McElhenney, bought Wrexham in a £2 million deal in February 2021 and created the Disney+ docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham.”
The pair have completed their second season in charge of the club, which culminated in Wrexham securing the National League title last month, as well as completing a fairy-tale return to the English Football League following a 15-year absence.
“So I did talk to Ryan. I wanted to get his perspective, find out what his experience has been,” Watt said.
“Obviously, it’s a slightly different situation from a club perspective, but you want to hear from someone doing it right.
“When you look at the parade they’ve just had, the turnout, and the ability to take eyeballs from around the globe and put them on Wrexham. That’s what Kealia and I want to do, take eyeballs from all around the world and put them on Burnley because we think that town, that story — it’s been around since 1882.
“We want people to get to know about Burnley, and there are so many Americans that are getting into the Premier League right now and not knowing which club to support. We want them to support Burnley.”
Burnley have been majority-owned by American consortium ALK Capital since December 2020.