“Not bad, eh?” The first sentence of the acclaimed docuseries Welcome To Wrexham is spoken by club executive director Humphrey Ker as he introduces new owners Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds to the Racecourse Ground. The second sentence of this article would have been nonsensical less than four years ago. But as a wise man once wrote, truth is stranger than fiction; you feel Mark Twain would appreciate the Wrexham saga. Perhaps he’d have joined the consortium. 

There have been more seismic takeovers. More significant takeovers. But no takeover in the history of English football can match the sheer WTF randomness, the sense of the universe playing its own cosmic game of consequences, than Deadpool and the guy behind It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia becoming the owners of Wrexham AFC. “Sitcom creator Rob met film star Ryan in Wales to buy a football club…” 

Fuelled by that Hollywood dollar, Wrexham won the National League last season – and followed that up with immediate promotion to League One. Drama abounds on field and off; the Welsh club are the hottest story in world football. The Welsh town is the world’s most unlikely tourist destination. None of it happens without Humphrey Ker. 

As well as running a football club, Ker is also a successful actor and writer. Following the takeover, he became possibly the first person in history to divide their working life between Wrexham and LA; the latter contains his partner Megan Ganz and their dog Brunhilde. Naturally, I met him in a café in Peckham, the first appointment of a long day for Ker: our interview will be followed by a photoshoot and then an evening comedy gig with Pappy’s Flatshare Slamdown. The man puts in the hours. 

It’s a challenge and a half, but it’s been an amazing challenge

Six-foot-seven and hirsute, Ker cuts an imposing figure; you could easily imagine a mediaeval incarnation lustily bawling out songs round the forest campfire after a fulfilling day spent bashing men-at-arms round the head with a stave. Yet despite his fascination with military history, you would struggle to find a gentler and more self-effacing soul: in Welcome To Wrexham Ker very much plays the everyman to the McElhenney and Reynolds glitzy double act. Which is true in the sense Ker isn’t a globally famous film star, but the average everyman doesn’t win the Edinburgh Comedy Award for best newcomer (2011). 

Ker won the award for his one-man show Humphrey Ker is Dymock Watson: Nazi Smasher! Vice-Admiral Sir Dymock Watson was a special forces agent in World War Two and Ker’s maternal grandfather. A paternal great grandfather was Henry Howard, 18th Earl of Suffolk. “Very posh background,” says Ker with a smile. His dad was a fine art dealer, his mum “was basically just a mum. That was her main job when I was growing up. She was a tour guide at the Stock Exchange, that’s when she met my dad.” 

He attended Eton, read history at Edinburgh. Briefly contemplated joining the army. Ker describes his likely destiny as “go into the City, make a lot of money, get married, live in Hampshire, have a black labrador.” Is his dog a black labrador? “She’s a pug,” says Ker. 

So he rebelled in every sense? “Yes!” He chuckles. “I’m such a renegade.” 

Humphrey Ker

At Edinburgh he lived above the university theatre company and signed up in freshers’ week as a way to make friends. There he discovered the “extraordinary and exciting and thrilling world of slightly crap student theatre. Because it took me into a world where I met people from all over the place, who had all sorts of different backgrounds, who weren’t necessarily like me.” He soon realised “I like hanging around with these people more than I do with the army, Oxford, City types that perhaps fate has ordained for me.” 

Thoughts of the army were quickly abandoned for a career in theatre and comedy. “My mum was thrilled because she didn’t want me to get shot in Afghanistan. My dad was a bit sad. He was motivated from the perspective of ‘I want you to have the easiest life.’ Which for him was always to conform as much as possible.” But Ker had the bug. In his own words, “Britain had lost a very mediocre junior army officer and gained a very mediocre junior comedy writer and performer.” 

It’s a typical piece of Ker self-deprecation. After university, he formed the sketch troupe The Penny Dreadfuls with fellow Edinburgh students David Reed and Thom Tuck. He went solo, won one of the most prestigious awards in comedy, appeared on the usual panel shows. He headed to LA in 2013, filmed a pilot called Holding Pattern with the actor and comedian Mark Proksch (who would later play Colin the energy vampire in What We Do in the Shadows). The show wasn’t picked up but Ker received the substantial compensation of meeting his wife Megan.   

He wasn’t looking for a wife. Quite the opposite. “I had just broken up with my girlfriend of about a year. I was looking forward to embracing my – what was to be an extremely short-lived – ‘fuck boy era’; I’m single, I’m 30, I’m in LA and I’ve got an English accent. Time to take this thing on the road and get off with loads of babes.” 

“I’ve got a babe for you to get off with,” said Mark Proksch. Megan had helped set up Proksch with his girlfriend Amelie; now he could return the favour. “Great,” said Ker. “Count me in. Time to ruin this poor young woman’s life. And then I fell in love with her immediately.” 

Humphrey Ker

Ganz came out to a group dinner that became a wake for Holding Pattern, the pilot having just been declined. Yet rather than mourn the end of a sitcom that never was, she and Ker swiftly found themselves at a beginning. “We sat down at one end of the table. Everybody at the other end of the table was sharing war stories and commiserating about our failures – and we talked about tanks.” Not only tanks – “we talked about what we wanted to do when we died, how we wanted to be buried.” 

How does he want to be buried? “At that stage, I wanted my naked body to have a Union Jack draped over it and be carried into Westminster Abbey by Steven Gerrard, who was Liverpool and England captain at the time. Now I’d probably have to adapt it to the current England captain. Harry Kane. Or Trent Alexander-Arnold.” 

Not Wrexham star striker Paul Mullin? “Mulls has many strengths but he’s a bit slight,” says Ker. “I’m not sure he’d be able to carry me. Actually, I think I wanted my body to be carried shoulder high by four people – and Steven Gerrard was one of them. I can’t remember who the others were.” Perhaps McElhenney and Reynolds could take a leg each. Ganz must surely be involved in some capacity: Ker moved to LA for her and they married in 2015. 

Hollywood doesn’t come to Wrexham without Humphrey Ker; nor does the story happen without Megan Ganz. A comedy writer of exceptional talent and proficiency, Ganz’s credits include Community, Modern Family, and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, where she is also an executive producer. In 2020, she co-created Mythic Quest with McElhenney and Charlie Day, a comedy series about a computer game loosely based on World of Warcraft. Ker became involved when the writers realised that nobody in the room played video games. What about Megan’s husband? 

Ker came into the office with his laptop to offer a crash course in World of Warcraft. By the end of the week, he had joined the writing staff. He worked on Mythic Quest for “a very enjoyable three seasons.” Wrexham limited his involvement with the upcoming fourth season, although he penned an Agatha Christie-centric episode; as well as football, video games and military history, Ker is “an Agatha Christie dork”. But his life is now dominated by parking allocation for away supporters and getting a result at Colchester. 

Humphrey Ker

The Wrexham story has been widely told; the Wrexham story literally has its own docuseries. But here is the abridged version for those unfamiliar with the tale. 

Rob McElhenney was a huge football fan but only the version played with an oval ball. He began to notice his friend and colleague Humphrey Ker’s abiding love of Liverpool. (Ker would often watch matches during breaks on the Mythic Quest set.) Lockdown hit and McElhenney, like everyone else in the world, needed some good TV to watch. Ker suggested the Netflix docuseries Sunderland ’Til I Die; the first season documented Sunderland’s relegation from the Championship and its devastating effect on the supporters. McElhenney phoned up Ker: he wanted to buy a football club of his own. 

Ker got to work, using a combination of Wikipedia, Google, club websites and the computer game Football Manager to research prospective clubs in the Football and National Leagues. “It was a very unscientific process,” he admits. “So I’d google a club like Carlisle…” 

Carlisle were in the running? My dad supports Carlisle! How close were they? “Not very close,” says Ker. “Because their pitch keeps flooding.” 

He established a set of criteria, including facilities, fanbase, history and finance. Wrexham scored the highest with 38 points out of 50; Hartlepool United came second with 35. Hartlepool’s owner offered to sell for £2m but the fan ownership of Wrexham meant any money spent in the purchase could be invested back into the club. A bit like getting a house for free, provided you commit to renovations.  

The two owners had never met before. Reynolds messaged McElhenney on Instagram to compliment an Always Sunny episode; McElhenney asked if he wanted to sponsor a football club. “I’ve got TV money,” McElhenney would later explain to Stephen Colbert. “I needed movie star money.” The movie star replied: ‘I don’t want to sponsor this club for you. I want to buy it with you.’  

In November 2020, Ker flew to Wales. “I was in Wrexham for about three, four months before the takeover went through, which was a really exciting, interesting time. It was weird. It felt like being pregnant in terms of this huge thing coming – but nothing’s quite changed. Just some minor changes. People who’ve been pregnant will be like, ‘Get stuffed! It’s a lot more complicated than that.’” 

The cameras were already rolling; the first episode of Welcome To Wrexham is pre-takeover as Reynolds and McElhenney convince the fans to entrust two random actors with their club. Had they failed then presumably all the footage would have been canned and work begun on Hello To Hartlepool. (But not, alas, Catch You In Carlisle.) But fail they did not: the takeover was completed on 9 February, 2021 and Ker appointed the club’s executive director.  

Intriguingly, Ker references “a lost series” covering the months immediately following the takeover but compromised by lockdown restrictions. According to distributor FX: “We’re talking to fans in their homes. We’re not getting a sense of the connection between the team and the town.” (The fact the team finished eighth can’t have helped.) Ultimately, a whole season’s worth of material was condensed into a couple of episodes. 

Still, Welcome To Wrexham has certainly given everybody their money’s worth. After an agonising 4-5 playoff defeat to Grimsby in 2022, Wrexham edged Notts County in an epic championship battle the following season, securing a return to the English football league with a record-obliterating 111 points. At the time of writing, the club stands on the verge of automatic promotion to League One, with the playoffs assured at the very least. 

Transformation abounds. Shortly after the approval of their takeover bid, Reynolds and McElhenney filmed an advert for the team’s shirt sponsor Ifor Williams Trailers – a surreal 30 seconds that announced to the world that, yes, this thing is really happening. “Nothing says I’m thinking about you – and your horse – than Ifor Williams Trailers…” Ifor Williams were subsequently replaced as shirt sponsors by Tik Tok and then United Airlines; however the trailers still appear on the team’s shorts. Even as Wrexham goes global, the owners will attempt to ensure that their soul remains Welsh.


The transformation extends beyond the club. Hollywood stars such as Will Ferrell and Paul Rudd can be spotted in The Turf pub, a staple of the docuseries. Last year, the BBC dubbed Wrexham “Wales’ ‘it’ city”; Time Out called it “the UK’s hottest tourist destination.” Visitors fly in from all over the world to buy a shirt, order a pint and, of course, watch a football match. Stadium expansions are ongoing.   

Ker has fully committed to his new role. He spends several months of the year in Wrexham and plans to return for the last five matches of the season. “That’s Colchester, Forest Green, Crewe, Stockport and Crawley,” he says with the confidence of many hours eyeballing the fixture list. “Not in that order.” He hopes one of those matches will coincide with a massive promotion party and headache caused by celebration, rather than Yeovil Town’s bus breaking down en route to the match.  

True story, incidentally: last season, an opposition team’s bus broke down on the motorway. “I think it really was Yeovil,” says Ker. “I didn’t pluck that name completely from the ether.” Emergency plans were spitballed to ensure the match went ahead: “Can we send out our bus to go and pick them up? Can they get transferred? How do we work it? Blah blah blah.” He smiles. “In the end, it was perfect. They only arrived about ten minutes before kickoff. They didn’t have enough time to warm up.” 

Humphrey Ker

Our sojourn at the café is over: Ker has a photoshoot down the road. It’s a several hour, multiple outfit job and he takes it like a trooper. I drop by the studio around 11am and he’s still in the makeup chair, having his locks trimmed like a very polite Sampson while being quizzed by our lovely groomer. Nadia’s knowledge of football is blissfully nonexistent; Ker offers a gentle explainer on Wrexham and his own career. 

As we break for lunch, I accompany Ker outside for a cigarette and fire a final few questions at him.  So far the Wrexham story has been warmly received by the football community – excluding perhaps supporters of clubs who share a division with them. Yet there are few more British traits than schadenfreude. Are the Canadian, American owners prepared for the inevitable backlash?  

“Yes, I’ve done my best to make them understand that at some stage we will be hate figures,” says Ker. “The key thing to try and avoid is being that in Wrexham!” He knows the goodwill can’t last forever. “We’ve got to ensure that we keep our noses clean, we do the right things, we go about everything the right way. Because yeah, there will be people out there looking for ways to excoriate us and chop us down.”  

As well as the owners, many of the players are featured prominently in the docuseries. Yet Wrexham’s rise through the leagues will require a constant refreshing of the squad – and the departure of some fan favourites. “It’ll be challenging because of the TV element,” acknowledges Ker. However, he notes that the players are very philosophical about the prospect of getting transfers – few careers are more nomadic than the lower league footballer. The mentality tends toward ‘don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.’

“For the football club to succeed it has to evolve and that means the playing squad has to evolve, the staff have to evolve, the executive has to evolve – change is inevitable, really. It’s a good thing because that’s how you improve and how we improve what we do in the community and what we do with the team. But yeah, it has to come and everyone has to be prepared for that in their own way.” 

Humphrey Ker
Humphrey Ker

Reynolds and McElhenney appear committed to Wrexham for the long haul. How long will Ker stay involved with the club? “To be honest with you, I just don’t know. I’m away from home an awful lot, which is very difficult. I enjoy huge parts of it, lots of it is very stressful, and I’ve got to ensure that I’m still doing it for the right reasons. That is something I have to assess on a yearly basis. Is this the best thing for me? Is this the best thing for my family? Is this the best thing for the team? And basically come to a decision based on that.”  

The human element of football is often overlooked. Like many fans, Ker used to view players as characters in a perpetual soap opera. Now he knows better. He refers to a player whose form was badly affected by breaking up with his girlfriend at the start of the season. The emotional turmoil came with additional financial worries: she left him with a huge house that he couldn’t afford on his own. Understandably, his form suffered; unsurprisingly, the fans slaughtered him without knowing the immense stress of the situation. Happily, the couple reunited – “and he’s been one of our players of the season since then.” 

It’s just one example of what Ker describes as the information disparity that can exist between “people inside the building and people outside the building.” Running a football club is an endless education. “It’s a challenge and a half, but it’s been an amazing challenge. I hope that as and when I exit this process, I’ll come out having grown as a person, having insights into things and people that I never would’ve had before.”

Further glories surely lie ahead before Ker calls time on his Wrexham career. However, few will match the emotion of the open top bus parade last May after Wrexham had secured  the National League title. Fifteen thousand fans were expected; 40,000 showed up to cheer their heroes.  

 Ker recalls the experience with palpable pleasure. “We drove up the high street on the bus and there were 40,000 people in the streets of Wrexham – streets I would cycle to this stadium on during Covid and they were empty and all the shops were empty and it was very bleak. Looking around and seeing how much life there was in the town. That was when I was like,

‘Oh yeah, we did something. We’ve done a really good thing.’” 

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Welcome To Wrexham is out on Friday 3 May