23 March 2024

Wrexham sports club ‘over the moon’ at Michael Sheen donation

23 March 2024

Welsh actor Michael Sheen has donated £5,000 to an amateur football and futsal club in Wrexham, which has left the community “over the moon”.

Andrew Ruscoe, 37, the chairman, co-founder and manager at FC United of Wrexham, told the PA news agency that the club had been struggling financially and the donation had “basically given us a lifeline for the next 12 months”.

The Welsh actor is the latest celebrity to support the club, as it has previously received donations from actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, who both own Wrexham AFC.

Mr Sheen made the donation through the club’s GoFundMe page, which is now close to achieving its goal of raising £12,000.

Mr Ruscoe said: “We’ve been heavily trying to raise funds and last night, out of the blue, we checked the donations page because we were getting quite a few notifications.

“We haven’t talked to Michael or nothing so we were absolutely so grateful to him.

“He posted the donations page on his Twitter page and he donated £5,000 to the club which is like, wow, it’s amazing.

“Hopefully we can send (a shirt) out to him with his name on the back, with the club as well.

“Hopefully, with this money now, we will be getting the women and the under-13s a new kit as well which is what they need at this moment in time.

“We’re over the moon. Everyone’s really, really excited.”

Because we live in a multiple deprivation area, some months we struggle to break even so we always rely on things like grants and donations

The donation is particularly “meaningful” as the club has been struggling financially and lost a sponsor in January when it received a donation from controversial social media personality Tristan Tate, which the club swiftly returned, Mr Ruscoe said.

He explained: “Prior to this, the club had been struggling because we use a sports facility to basically run our futsal and the costs have increased dramatically to £700 a month on average.

“Because we live in a multiple deprivation area, some months we struggle to break even so we always rely on things like grants and donations.

“In January, unfortunately we lost our sponsor because we received a donation from Tristan Tate, but we refunded it.”

Tristan Tate and his brother Andrew were charged with rape, human trafficking and forming a criminal gang to sexually exploit women in Romania after being arrested in the country’s capital in December 2022 and are set to be extradited to the UK.

“Tristan donated the money but in the midst of everything that was happening, our sponsor pulled out but we weren’t aware of what his values were and principles,” Mr Ruscoe said.

“We realised that he didn’t match what we believe in and we don’t agree or condone his values, so we made the decision that very day to return the donation, which was the right thing to do.

“When the Tristan Tate issue did happen, we were getting a lot of online hate as well and we were having people creating fake business accounts pretending they were going to sponsor us as a club and making promises that were never going to materialise.

“We had some gentleman create a fake account saying that Bulmers was going to sponsor us and even gave us a contact number to contact and it wasn’t real, so that’s just recently happened as well.

“So this happening is a magical moment.

“It’ll basically consolidate us for the next 12 months, meaning that we can finally focus on the main things – coaching and delivering quality to the players that we support.”

He added: “We believe futsal is that great bridge and connector to the elite game and also we’re creating life-changing opportunities to keep people on the straight and narrow.”

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