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Which NFL players and celebrities own English football teams? From Tom Brady and Lebron James to Ryan Reynolds

The Premier League continues to provide a major financial investment window with the list of huge names involved with clubs continuing to grow.

Alongside the 2022 ownership change at Chelsea, as US businessman Todd Boehly took over from Roman Abramovich at Stamford Bridge, other Americans have started to join the English game.

Famous names from US sport and film have stretched their portfolio into English football with NFL legend Tom Brady the latest to make a financial investment.

The fiscal return and reputational boost associated with one of these moves can be huge and more famous faces are expected to join the list in 2023/24.

MORE: What to know about Tom Brady’s investment in Birmingham City F.C.

Which American celebrities own English football clubs?

Tom Brady — Birmingham City

Brady has confirmed his move to purchase a minority stake in EFL Championship side Birmingham City. 

The seven-time Super Bowl champion has entered a partnership with Blues owners Knighthead Capital Management LLC, but his exact investment figure and ownership stake are unconfirmed.

He will take on a hands-on role at St. Andrews, after being appointed as chairman of the new advisory board, which will seek out new global sponsorship opportunities.

Ryan Reynolds/Rob McElhenney — Wrexham

Reynolds and McElhenney’s adventure in Wrexham has gained huge attention on both sides of the Atlantic with the Hollywood duo regularly attending games at the Racecourse Ground.

The club were bought out by The R.R. McReynolds Company, LLC in February 2021 with Reynolds and McElhenney funding their promotion back into the EFL.

As part of the huge spotlight being shone on the club, Reynolds has also confirmed a second series of the Welcome to Wrexham documentary which chronicles their impact in North Wales.

LeBron James — Liverpool

James has been a part owner of Liverpool FC since 2011 as part of his growing sport business portfolio.

The move came on the back of a fresh image rights and representation deal with Reds owners Fenway Sports Group with the American firm granting James a minority stake at Anfield (around 2% purchased at £4.7 million/$6.5 million) which he increased to an undisclosed amount in 2021.

J.J. Watt and Kealia — Burnley

The former NFL star is teaming up with his wife, NWSL star Kealia, to invest in Burnley, a newly promoted Premier League and English football club. In addition, Kaelia is hoping to simultaneously grow the Burnley FC women’s team.

In May 2023, it was announced the pair were investing as minority shareholders of the Clarets.

Which celebrities own English football clubs?

Despite the growth of US celebrities and sports stars investing in English football teams, there are still numerous examples of famous Brits putting their money into football.

Elton John — Watford

Lifelong Watford fan John was a club director from 1976 to 1987, and again from 1997 to 2002, with an additional chairman role at various points.

During his time at the club, John built up a majority stake, which amounted to 93%, prior to his decision to sell in 2002, with the Hornets naming the musical legend as honorary life president.

Stormzy — AFC Croydon

Manchester United fan Stormzy has dipped his toe into the world of football club ownership alongside former Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha.

The pair are part of a three-man consortium which bought non-league team AFC Croydon in 2023 as part of an ambitious plan to bring the club into the EFL.

Delia Smith — Norwich City

British chef Delia Smith is the most famous Norwich City fan in the world and she has held a majority share in the club for over two decades.

Despite arguably being most remembered for her half time “let’s be having you” rant at Carrow Road in 2005, Smith has remained a constant at the club, guiding them to a string of Premier League promotions.

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