Stormzy and Wilfried Zaha have made headlines for their deal to by non-league side AFC Croydon – but they’re not the first household names to own a football club.
Both the Crystal Palace forward and the award-winning rapper grew up around the corner from the club’s Mayfield Stadium in Thornton Heath and have now decided to invest in a team that finished a lowly 15th in the Combined Counties League Premier South Division last season.
“They will be trying to run it as a football club that gives opportunities to local young players. Hopefully, the sky is the limit,” said an unnamed source to The Guardian.
“There are so many talented players who get released every year and not everyone can play for Palace, Millwall or Charlton. They want do what’s right for the local community by giving some of them another chance at a lower level.”
With Zaha and Stormzy dipping their toes into football ownership, we’ve looked at 11 other famous celebrities that have also owned clubs.
Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney (Wrexham)
Reynolds & McElhenney? At Wrexham? Why are we only just hearing about this?!
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney are elated to see @Wrexham_AFC promoted to the Football League. ❤️
— CBS Sports Golazo ⚽️ (@CBSSportsGolazo) April 22, 2023
Delia Smith (Norwich City)
Smith and her husband Michael Wynn-Jones became majority shareholders of perennial yo-yo club Norwich City in 1996. The fact Smith did attend the 1978 FA Cup final dressed head to toe in the attire of rivals Ipswich Town was suitably glossed over by the Carrow Road faithful.
The pair remain owners to this day, but one wonders if she’ll ever top that on-pitch speech in 2005… (the answer is no).
— Planet Football (@planetfutebol) February 28, 2017
Will Ferrell (Los Angeles FC)
Acting legend Ferrell, whose credits include Elf, Step Brothers and Anchorman, became co-owner of MLS outfit Los Angeles FC in 2016.
When asked about why he became a co-owner Ferrell said “I don’t really have a side per se until LAFC get started and that will definitely be, obviously, my team.
“But I just enough watching the fact that it’s played all over the world. So many amazing players and so many top-flight leagues. And hopefully, MLS can be on par, eventually, with the European leagues.”
The actor can often be found enthusiastically cheering his side on at the Banc of California Stadium and his love for football saw him visit Manchester City last season.
David Beckham (Inter Miami)
The only former footballer on the list, Beckham is the President of Inter Miami and has just lured Lionel Messi stateside. That’s some pull the former England captain has.
Ciara & Macklemore (Seattle Sounders)
Grammy award winner Ciara, Seattle Seahawks quarterback and Super Bowl winner Russell Wilson, and rapper Macklemore all have a vested interest in MLS side Seattle Sounders.
Ciara and Wilson, who have been married since 2016, are Seattle-based due to the latter’s American Football commitments, while Macklemore is Seattle born and raised.
The trio saw their side become the first MLS club to win the CONCACAF Champions League last year, proving that they’re clearly doing something right.
Elton John (Watford)
John is a lifelong Watford fan and in 1976 he became the club’s owner. The three-time Grammy award winner’s association with Watford has been anything but a smooth ride in the years since.
Under his ownership, the Hertfordshire club rose from the fourth division to the top flight, finished league runners-up to Liverpool, reached the FA Cup final and played in Europe.
John sold the club in 1987 and repurchased it again 10 years later before stepping down as chairman in 2002.
Although no longer a majority shareholder, he still holds a financial interest and has a stand named after him at Vicarage Road. Which is nice.
LeBron James (Liverpool, minority stake)
James’ partnership with FSG saw the basketball icon purchase a minority stake in Liverpool following the American group’s takeover of the club in 2011.
“LeBron and Liverpool each has a powerful presence internationally, with particular strength in Asia, but we feel the business opportunities for both working and being identified together in emerging international markets will result in unforeseen opportunities that neither would have been able to realise alone,” read the anylsis from Marketing Weekly 12 years ago.
James owns a two per cent stake in the club.
Natalie Portman & Serena Williams (Angel City)
Star Wars actor Portman and tennis great Williams were two of a number of investors who were awarded the franchise rights to a new NWSL side in 2020.
Angel City FC entered the league in 2022 and some of their other high-profile investors include Mia Hamm, Abby Wambach and Eva Longoria. That’s some roll-call.