I am so in love with Welcome to Wrexham, currently airing in the slightly odd pattern of two episodes a week on Disney+. I usually try and wait to the end of a series before writing about it but there’s been so much good stuff packed into the first six episodes, we’re going to have to do a part one, at least.
First of all, as many people have noted, this show has really benefited from the good vibes and football accessibility that Ted Lasso has brought. Lasso really paved the way for people who aren’t traditionally football fans watching shows about the sport, and opening it up to the US audience who don’t even call the sport by its proper name. This Wrexham series leans into the new audience with educational moments that are both hilarious and also, actually, really useful for non-football fans like myself.
It would be easy to take up a whole post writing about how brilliant Rob and Ryan are coming across in the episodes aired to date. Whilst their reasons for buying the team still feel a bit random, the passion is clearly genuine and their friendship, whilst new, clear to see. They riff off each other well, as you’d expect from two comedy stars, and there’s two great juxtapositions that make it fascinating viewing: their relative levels of fame, and their US vs Canadian attitudes. A wonderful mix.
There are great insights into what makes a football team special and the intricate things I’d never think of. I was astounded by the fact that at this level, it’s proper livelihood stuff - one small mistake and you’re out of a job but it’s not just like going down the job centre and getting another one. I loved seeing the kids waiting outside the gates asking for the goalkeeper’s gloves and saying ‘see you next week’, as if they’ll be back to demand more kit later. All the ins and outs of owning a club that doesn’t own its own stadium, the battle, and the celebration when the fight is won.
But it’s really the town of Wrexham and its inhabitants that star. The glimpse inside the lives of the footballers, both home grown and new to the area, as well as long time fans (episode 6 had someone who had been a fan for 90 years… which is just incredible). I’ve been guilty of rolling my eyes at some of the expressions of adoration to what I would say was ‘just a football team’ but of course it’s so much more than that. It’s a community and something for a struggling town to rally around, and that means more than I’ll ever be able to understand… but I’m glad to be seeing a glimpse of it on screen.
Here are some notable quotes from the first few episodes:
“Ryan and I have never met in person. But we did buy a football team together.”
“This is Hollywood to a tee. Beautiful on the outside… and just shit.”
“I’ve only been owner of a football club for a short time, but so far, I’ve found it to be very time-consuming, emotionally exhausting, financially idiotic, and utterly addictive.”
“If someone makes a mistake higher up the pitch there’s other stages that can get them out the shit further down the line whereas, if a keeper makes a mistake, 9 or 9.9 times out of 10, it’s gonna end up in the back of the net.”
“Ryan Reynolds and his friend.” BURN.
“I’m not so much more patient. I just drink more.”