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Recommended: Welcome to Wrexham on FX

Like a real-life Ted Lasso, this irresistible docuseries is for anyone who loves an underdog.
  • Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney in Welcome to Wrexham (Photo: Patrick McElhenney/FX)
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    Welcome to Wrexham Season 1 | FX
    Sports Docuseries (6 Episodes) | TV-MA

    What's Welcome to Wrexham About?

    When two Hollywood A-listers buy a downtrodden British football club and promise great days ahead, it's the setup for an irresistible docuseries about small-town sport.

    Who's involved?

    • Rob McElhenney is the creative force behind It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Mythic Quest. Like Will Ferrell, Mindy Kaling, and the rapper Macklemore, he wanted to own a part interest in a soccer team. But instead of taking a stake in an American club, he teamed up with …
    • Ryan Reynolds, who in addition to his movie career also has a production company that is launching a sports-themed channel called Maximum Effort on fuboTV. Together the two Hollywood tycoons (combined estimated net worth: $200 million) plunked down $2.6 million to buy Wrexham AFC, said to be the third-oldest club in existence, in late 2020.

    Why (and to whom) do we recommend it?

    Wrexham AFC are one of the oldest soccer teams on the planet. Located an hour down the A5 from Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlll­lantysiliogogogoch in northwest Wales, they play on an ancient pitch called Racecourse Ground. Older fans may still recall the glory days when Wrexham knocked off the likes of Arsenal and other elite English teams, but those are well in the past. Ten years ago, with the club teetering on collapse, its fan base ponied up the funds to keep it afloat. But just barely: Over time Wrexham were relegated to the lowest rung of Britain's tiered football divisions, known sadly as Non-League.

    Really, if you're going to make an inspirational real-life series about sport, you can't do better than that, can you? Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney thought so. Despite knowing bupkis about English football — in addition to which, they had never worked together before — the two stars decided over Zoom to purchase Wrexham AFC, infuse it with cash, and try to turn its fortunes around. The fact that this happened three months after Ted Lasso premiered? Pure coincidence, for sure.

    Anyway, cameras began rolling right away, and within a few months FX had made a two-season commitment to Welcome to Wrexham. The resulting first season of this docuseries does not disappoint. Even if you know nothing about soccer or British club sport, if you like a good underdog story, this one will play its way right into your heart. From the sentimental Top 40 classics that play over the closing credits to the graphics that explain British soccer lingo for a U.S. audience, Welcome to Wrexham makes two millionaires purchasing an obscure team in a faraway sports league seem somehow as all-American as Hoosiers.

    Perhaps a more apt comparison, though, is to Netflix's Last Chance U, given the small community (Wrexham has 3,000 residents) and the high stakes for everyone who's not walking around with development-deal money. We get to meet many of the club's most ardent supporters, longtime employees, and hard-luck players in addition to the outsiders that Reynolds and McElhenney have paid to send in. While the arrival of two gilded saviors may answer the prayers of the Wrexham faithful, other people's dreams will have to die. Coaches must be sacked and players released — and even then there's no guarantee the club will earn promotion to League play. There will doubtless be many setbacks and humiliations before the new owners' investments start to pay off, if they ever do.

    That's the drama of sport, and Welcome to Wrexham presents its story in a charming, straightforward manner. Wrexham AFC's owner-producers know that they don't have to try too hard to make a compelling, fun-to-watch TV series out of this material.

    Pairs well with

    • All Or Nothing: Manchester City (Prime Video): Go behind the scenes with the greatest coach in the world’s biggest sport as his club relentlessly pursues another title.
    • Last Chance U (Netflix): The first two seasons of this docuseries offer a gold mine of drama, as kids with poor academic records try to hang on to their NFL dreams by playing for a bottom-tier school. (Read our review.)
    • Small Town News: KPVM Pahrump (HBO Max): Delightful fly-on-the-wall look at one of America’s tiniest TV stations and the people who keep it on the air.

  • Welcome to Wrexham (Season 1)
    Back-to-back episodes air on FX at 10:00 PM ET beginning August 24, streaming next day on Hulu.
    Co-owners of Wrexham AFC and Executive Producers: Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds.
    Starring: Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney, Fleur Robinson, Humphrey Ker, Shaun Harvey, and Phil Parkinson.
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    TOPICS: Welcome to Wrexham, FX, Fleur Robinson, Humphrey Ker, Phil Parkinson, Rob McElhenney, Rob McElhenney, Ryan Reynolds, Ryan Reynolds, Shaun Harvey