If you have a passing interest in British football, you probably haven’t heard of Wrexham. With this great kind of Premier League football offering, where is the space to follow the lower leagues? Unless, of course, your favorite team has fallen a notch or two below and is fighting for promotion.
English professional football gave us one of the best underdog stories a few years ago, with Leicester City going up to win the Premier League title. Across the border in Wales, Wrexham – the third-oldest professional football club in the world – has continued to struggle in the National League, the lowest level in professional football in the UK. A club struggling for funding and format has found unlikely interest from two American actors you may have heard of; Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny.
Welcome to Wrexham
spit: Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenny, Sean Harvey, Humphrey Kerr, Phil Parkinson
a storyHollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny are trying to revive the third oldest professional soccer team in the world
So why do two Hollywood actors – initially non-fans of football – who are not affiliated with the state, show even a passing interest in this club? Welcome to Wrexham He answers that question squarely, and in the six episodes available to watch at the time of writing this review, it’s not about her but more about the fans who have always been the lifeblood of the club through the best and worst of times.
for McElhenney ( It’s always sunny in Philadelphia), the town of Wrexham reminded him of his working-class childhood, and the passion of fans for his favorite NFL team, the Eagles. He admits that he hardly knew anything about the sport until he was introduced to it by his colleague and friend Humphrey Kerr, an Englishman.
He was struck by the concept of ups and downs, as well as the huge disparity between the Premier League teams and those at the bottom of the pyramid. But in order to fund an ambitious project like Wrexham’s AFC, he needed a bigger star to be a partner. So he hooks up with a friend he’s never met, Reynolds (from dead list fame), and saw the football world, confused. The duo reassured the town as they tried that this was not an opportunistic project or a publicity stunt.
With a harrowing recent history with corrupt self-serving owners, and the gloom of the pandemic leading to football being played behind closed doors, Wrexham fans were ready to welcome any change for the better. Hence, the unanimous acceptance of Reynolds and McElhenney into the fold. Two young men, a city and a football club.
Cameras trace this journey from the start of winning the bid. Interviews with fans, players and coaches explain why Wrexham is more than a humble town with a football club steeped in history. It’s an emotion. The footage makes several references to how the city’s fortunes are intertwined with those of their football club, and is a compelling wander of the world of professional football away from the more glamorous leagues.
The series also offers several backgrounds about the league structure of the game in the UK, which may make veteran fans hit the fast-forward button, but viewers should understand that this was probably created for an American audience. Both Reynolds and McElhenny lie happier in the background, as they track events from Los Angeles (caused by the pandemic, most likely). They trust their labs to make drastic decisions, such as sacking the coaching staff and at least 11 players, after another season of stagnation.
The start of the 2021 season for Wrexham AFC was nothing to write home about, despite high-profile signings. Reynolds describes the trip up until then as “emotionally exhausting, financially dumb, and downright addictive.” The remaining episodes must pass judgment on their investment.
Welcome to Wrexham is currently streaming on Disney Plus Hotstar