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Brian McFadden hopes he can turn Chorley FC into next Wrexham

Irish singer Brian McFadden has said he hopes to turn Chorley FC into another Wrexham after the Welsh team featured in a TV series following co-owners and Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.

Former Westlife singer McFadden told Chorley fans to dream of the Football League as he took his place in the Lancashire club’s small VIP stand along with prospective fellow investors Keith Duffy and Shane Lynch from Irish pop group Boyzone.

Clad in Chorley shirts and clutching pints of beer, the trio signed autographs and posed for pictures for fans, with their presence the only topic of conversation around the ground for Saturday’s FA Trophy fifth-round tie against Solihull Moors.

Brian McFadden takes a picture with Chorley fans
Brian McFadden joins a picture with Chorley fans (Nigel French/PA)

It has not been confirmed what roles will be played by McFadden and Duffy – who started the Boyzlife duo together – along with Lynch and Boyzone lead singer Ronan Keating, who could not attend the match.

But McFadden suggested a deal is near, telling the PA news agency: “It’s pretty close. I’ve just been talking about coming to the next home game with my family so you’ll probably see quite a lot of us. We’re in.”

It was the Irish star’s first visit to Chorley, and he said: “Shane’s business partner bought the club seven months ago and asked Shane to get involved.

“Shane’s not really a football man but he knew that me and Keith love football so he got us involved, and Ronan. We want to be part of something from the ground up.

“I’m a Manchester United fan myself, I’ve got season tickets at Old Trafford, but it’s a corporation. You look at something like Chorley Football Club and you see this belongs to the town, it belongs to the people, it belongs to the community.

“For us to be able to get involved in something at that level and to try and take it to the next level, there’s a bit of romance to it.”

Comparisons have been made with Wrexham and the takeover by Deadpool star Reynolds and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia creator McElhenney, which has attracted worldwide attention, FX documentary series Welcome To Wrexham and seen the club climb up the leagues.

McFadden said: “What the boys have done at Wrexham is incredible but Wrexham’s the same. Wrexham’s always had a huge support, great stadium, great town. All it needed was a bit of extra love and care to help them do what they’re doing.

“We’re hoping we can do the same with Chorley. Look at this, this is non-league football and you’ve got a couple of thousand people out here having a great time, supporting the team. If we can help those supporters reach a higher dream and we can be a part of it, it’d be great.

“We’d love to see Chorley playing in the professional leagues, obviously. If we can get out of National North there’s National League and then in a few years, a bit of investment, bit of development, you never know.

Brian McFadden reacts in the stand
Brian McFadden reacts in the stand (Nigel French/PA)

“Maybe they get out of National League and into League Two and see what happens from there.”

Chorley are starting from a lower base than Wrexham, sitting eighth in National League North.

Manager Andy Preece hopes the excitement generated this week can be maintained, saying: “”With the Boyzone and Westlife boys coming in, obviously it’s given a renewed interest in the town and that’s massive for us.

“I’ve been here six years and it’s been tough, and we fight and fight every year just to keep things running and keep going, try and keep success on the field.

“You see the Wrexham thing and you go, ‘Oh wow, what would that be like?’. But I didn’t really think it was going to happen here. It’s exciting, I’m buzzing about it, everybody’s buzzing about it and we’ll just see where it takes us.”