NFL great JJ Watt and his wife, Kealia pump money into Burnley ahead of Premier League return


NFL great JJ Watt and his partner, ex-United States international Kealia, have invested in English side Burnley after being motivated by Actor Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney’s work with Wrexham who recently gained promotion to English football’s fourth tier, League Two.

Burnley have already sealed promotion to the top-flight of English football and the power couple will be making an appearance in the club’s match on Wednesday night against Cardiff. 

They previously attended the Clarets 3-0 home win against Wigan Athletic on March 11 at Turf Moor.

An hilarious video of the pair announcing the investment was also posted on social media where Watt joked that he was not attempting to copy Ryan Reynolds and his investment in Wrexham. 

The 34-year-old later acknowledged he has taken advice from Reynolds and McElhenney on how to make a success of his involvement with the English club.

NFF great, JJ Watt and Kealia

Via a joint statement, the power couple stated: 

“When you invest in a club that’s been around since 1882, you must have great respect for its history and tradition. 

“We understand that not only are we investing in the squad and manager, we’re investing in the town and its people. 

They added:

“We take that responsibility very seriously and intend to work hard in earning their trust and support.

“We believe that Burnley is a special club with incredible supporters and we want to help continue to elevate its global profile on its return to the Premier League.”

In the video footage, Watt could be seen hilariously saying: 

‘I’ve only been retired four months now and I really need something to do. I just love football – not that kind. In these isles pointing at a map of Britain, they play football with their feet.

“We are going to invest in European football. We don’t have ‘buy an entire European football club’ kind of money, we are more along the lines of minority investment but massive emotional investment.

“So America, allow us to introduce you to Burnley. Welcome to the Premier League.”

A voice that was not seen on camera questioned if they are trying to imitate Reynolds and McElhenney to which JJ Watt responded “no” while his wife jokes: “Yes please!’

Hollywood top actor Ryan Reynolds invested in minor Welsh team Wrexham alongside fellow actor McElhenney. 

The team co-owned by Ryan Reynolds and McElhenney, Wrexham received worldwide attention through their Netflix documentary “Welcome to Wrexham”.

JJ Watt and his wife later made an appearance on English sport show Sky Sports News, where they were quizzed again about the comparison between their involvement in British football and the involvement of the Hollywood actor.

JJ Watt involved in NFL action
JJ Watt involved in NFL action

Kealia stated: “We watched the documentary on and it was so cool to see what they’ve done”. 

“That’s kind of what we are modeling this after. Wrexham is such a fun team and we have followed that.”

The NFL hero acknowledged he has discussed the investment with Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. 

He stated: “I spoke to Rob about his experience and tried to gain some insight into what he’s done, and I’ve spoken to Ryan and tried to get his ideas about what has worked and what hasn’t. 

“Obviously it is a different league and a different situation but they have done an incredible job. Our goal is to come in and get involved in the community, to really feel like the supporters. 

“We want to earn their trust and help tell their story to America and beyond. We want people to know about the Clarets.”

Watt retired from the National Football League in 2022 after 12 campaigns. 

The Houston Texas legend is a three-time defensive player of the year and popularly tipped as a future hall-of-famer. 

In 2021, Forbes ranked his estimated wealth at $34.5m which is at about 27 million pounds.

His wife Kealia played three times for the United States women’s team and has expressed her eagerness to improve the growth of the women’s team at Burnley.

She stated: “In the US, I’ve seen the NWSL grow into something really incredible, and we’d love to be a part of growing the women’s team here and be a part of their journey.”

Players of Burnley ecstatic
Players of Burnley ecstatic

The chairman of Burnley, Alan Pace also expressed his delight at JJ Watts and Kealia investing in the club.

Alan Pace added: “We’re absolutely delighted to welcome JJ and Kealia into the Clarets family. 

“This is a conversation that has been happening for some time and over the course of this season we’ve been hugely impressed by their passion and interest in both the club and the Burnley community. I am very much looking forward to working with them.

“Both JJ and Kealia bring with them an incredible amount of top-level sporting pedigree and success, as well as ideas and connections that will be invaluable in helping us to continue telling the Clarets story to an international audience.”

The defender who made 586 total tackles in his career revealed in January that he was going to retire from the National Football League at the expiration of the season with the Arziona Cardinals. 

He said: “It just feels like a good time, I want to leave while I’m playing good football, while I’m proud of the film I’m putting out. I want people to remember me for playing good ball, not for getting knocked on my ass.”

Anyway, there are worries that Burnley’s remarkable manager Kompany could leave the club at the end of the campaign.

Kompany has been linked with the Tottenham Hotspur managerial role after an impressive first campaign at JJ Watt’s new side.

The Clarets sit at the summit of the English championship with 98 points, 10 points ahead of second-placed Sheffield United.

Burnley have won 28 games, drawn 14 and lost only 3 so far in the 2022/23 English Championship with one game left to play.


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