McElhenney wants to increase Wrexham stadium capacity to 55K

Wrexham co-owner Rob McElhenney has long-held ambitions of taking the Welsh club to the Premier League, and he has revealed a plan for the club to grow their stadium capacity to match.

The club, which is the subject of Disney+ docuseries “Welcome to Wrexham,” will play in League One next season after achieving back-to-back promotions since McElhenney and fellow Hollywood star/owner Ryan Reynolds took over the club in February 2021.

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The pair have already had a transformative impact on Wrexham and its stadium (which holds around 12,600 seats), securing the ground’s first sponsor last summer and renaming it SToK Racecourse.

Speaking on the Collider podcast, McElhenney said they plan to increase the size of all four stands, with the ultimate hope of increasing its capacity to 55,000 seats, which would make it the seventh-biggest stadium in English football.

“We have a plan in place right now that would eventually work from stand to stand,” McElhenney told the Collider podcast. “So eventually, you get all four sides, and it’s hard to say for sure, but we think we could get between 45,000 and 55,000 people in there.”

However, the pair have faced issues in scaling up the club’s stadium because of local regulations.

“It’s definitely a comedic point of consternation in the show, how often we’re running up against bureaucracy,” McElhenney said. “Of course, safety concerns and things like that and regulations are in place for a reason. But then there’s some things that seem to be hurdles for hurdles’ sake, and it’s just a lot harder to build in the U.K. than I’ve found almost anywhere else in the world.

“The thick buttress of bureaucracy is the biggest f—ing problem. I live in New York. Rob lives in L.A., where construction is very different in that they will charge you $10 for every dollar you spend. But in Wales, there really is a lot of red tape, and it’s just about ticking every single box and making sure every single bureaucrat is happy.”

In March, Wrexham released their accounts for the latest financial year, reporting the amount owed to their movie star owners had risen to nearly £9 million ($11.4m), while losses increased to £5.1m.

The club argued the losses were “deemed necessary” to allow maximum growth — which includes construction work to the stadium — adding that the increased turnover is now large enough to support the club’s operational costs going forward.

“I think if the assumption is that we’re doing it the right way, which is the way that we hopefully back up consistently in the mission statement, that getting to the Premier League is the ultimate goal and staying in the Premier League and being sustainable,” McElhenney said in the podcast.

“But again, that’s only assuming that we’re doing it in a fashion that the community supports. Because there are all sorts of ways to succeed and we feel as though there’s only a few paths that we feel would be ethically viable to do so.”

On Monday, a source told ESPN that McElhenney and Reynolds bought a minority stake in Liga MX side Necaxa.