The owners of Wrexham in Hollywood have come under fire from environmental campaigners after their team took 16 domestic flights during the promotion’s winning season last year – including one lasting just 29 minutes.
The Welsh side, owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, are thought to have been the only non-league side to make it to the games. This included trips to Eastleigh, Exeter and Barnet.
A journey from Manchester to Newcastle for a game against Gateshead was the shortest and would have taken around three hours by coach or two and a half hours by train.
The news has raised the ire of environmental activists who are already angry over the club’s sponsorship deal with United Airlines.
But Welsh secretary David TC Davies defended Reynolds and McElhenney and said it was not unusual for clubs higher up the football pyramid to travel to matches.
Wrexham, which is owned by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney (seen in April against Notts County), would have been the only non-league team to travel to games last season.
He said: “They’ve done a really, really good job over the past few years and I’m definitely not going to hit Wrexham Football Club. »
“They took the lead in promoting football and Wrexham, which they did very well. »
“They are perfectly within their rights, perfectly within the laws. I’m sure they are aware of climate change but, at the end of the day, they have to play football.
“That’s what they do and I think they’re doing a great job. »
Research by the BBC showed Wrexham took short-haul domestic flights to eight of their National League matches last term: Barnet, Bromley, Dagenham & Redbridge, Eastleigh, Gateshead, Maidenhead, Maidstone and Torquay.
The players traveled to Manchester Airport for flights on chartered planes.
In addition to those 16 flights, which lasted an average of 43.5 minutes, the study also found that 16 “positioning flights” – a journey where a plane is specifically flown into the airport from which it picks up passengers – also took place.
The club has been criticized for its carbon footprint with Reynolds and co-chairman Rob McElhenney flying in private jets to attend games.
Wrexham player Will Boyle during a USA pre-season game wearing a shirt bearing the logo of club sponsor United Airlines (left). Right: Welsh Secretary David TC Davies
Katie Cross leads the Pledgeball organization to try and reduce clubs’ carbon footprints, said Wrexham had a ‘growing environmental impact’ which risked ‘overshadowing’ its success.
She said: “The club, with the full support of its new owners, appears to be on a well-trodden path of measuring success by global expansion and financial success. »
“Frank Huisingh, who heads campaign group Fossil Free Football, criticized the deal with United Airlines which he said mimicked Premier League clubs.
He said: “Football has a clear interest in preventing the climate crisis from getting any worse. “So it’s sad to see so many young world-class players being asked to promote a very polluting activity like flying.
‘Wrexham AFC should not have followed their lead. They should do what’s best for fans everywhere and stop advertising air travel.
“Reynolds and McElhenney, both 46, recently took the Wrexham squad on an all-expenses trip to Las Vegas following their promotion to the National League after a 15-year absence.
The National League champions were told a ‘monster’ party awaited them if they won the league, which they pulled off in style with a record 111 points to send them back to League Two.
Earlier this summer, the team enjoyed an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas. McElhenney (second from right, in Wrexham cap) and his wife Kaitlin Olson joined in the festivities at TAO Beach Dayclub
Maestro Ben Tozer shared a video of himself and his teammates dancing in a hot tub
And the cast kept their word, planning a luxury four-day trip to Sin City with a packed itinerary.
Forward Ollie Palmer shared some photos from the airport as the team prepared for the 10 a.m. flight. Midfielder Jordan Davies and centre-back Aaron Hayden were both set for the trip as their partners expected, but both celebrated the birth of children in time to make the flight in May.
“It became a thing where if we won the league we would have a vacation. So we’re off to Vegas,” star forward Paul Mullin, who has 47 goals this season, told GQ.
“Ryan and Rob told us to leave our cards at home, they sort through the lot. They sent us a full itinerary just now.
‘Part of me doesn’t want to go, I could be dead in the end! But I would never go to Las Vegas on my own, so I’m buzzing.
“The team recently toured the United States, where they faced Chelsea and Manchester United in front of packed stadiums in Florida and San Diego.
They lost 5-0 to Chelsea but won 3-1 to Man Utd.
Reynolds had a tongue-in-cheek response to his players’ well-deserved non-stop partying via Instagram Stories, which his striker Paul Mullin amusedly shared.