Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney started a trend of celebrity ownership in British football after taking charge of Wrexham, with NFL stars Tom Brady and JJ Watt among those to follow suit. Hollywood royalty Tom Hanks, however, is unlikely to get in on the action despite his love for Aston Villa.
Saving Private Ryan and Forrest Gump actor Hanks has been supporting Villa from afar for several years, and he has become an occasional visitor to Villa Park in recent times. He was in the Midlands for last season’s epic 4-2 Premier League defeat to Arsenal, with the Gunners coming from behind before scoring twice in stoppage time to claim the three points.
Hanks has featured in some of the best-performing films ever made, earning hundreds of millions of pounds in the process, but he says he will be keeping his money out of the world of football, at least when it comes to the prospect of investing in Villa.
“I think Wrexham is a little bit different in the economic scale than Aston Villa,” Hanks said in an interview with the BBC. “That’s a little above my pay grade.”
Villa is owned by V Sports, a company made up of Egyptian and American billionaires Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens. The club is valued at £610million by Forbes, meaning it would cost many millions just to buy a fractional share, which would come with very little influence over the running of the club.
Hanks first appeared to show his allegiance to the Villains at the premiere of Charlie Wilson’s War in Leicester Square in 2008, walking out onto the red carpet holding a scarf aloft before placing it around his neck.
The 67-year-old explained his fandom in an appearance on James Corden’s Late Late Show in 2019, revealing he was first attracted to the club when hearing its name in the scores roundup.
“And I thought ‘Aston Villa’, what a lovely vacation spot! Aston Villa… It’s a beautiful villa, you throw open the French doors, there’s the beautiful port of Aston down below you,” Hanks told Corden.
“And it turns out it’s in Birmingham. There’s nothing wrong with that, nothing wrong with Birmingham. But it’s not a town for the light-hearted, I tell you that. So I’m a dedicated Aston Villa fan since then. I’ve seen them play once, a friendly in the USA, so yes, I support them.”
Hanks will certainly be delighted by Villa’s first half of this season under Unai Emery. His team has exceeded all expectations to be competing in and around the top four, with impressive wins over title-chasing Arsenal and Manchester City already secured.