Welcome to Wrexham: Full season
August 31, 2022 12:24 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Rob McElhenney (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) and Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool) navigate running the 3rd oldest professional football club in the world. Welcome to Wrexham is a docuseries tracking the dreams and worries of Wrexham, a working-class town in North Wales, UK, as two Hollywood stars take ownership of the town’s historic yet struggling football club.
posted by BlahLaLa (33 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I'm curious about this, but the premise is so bizarre. Why the hell did they decide to buy a football team? Why this team? Just how much freaking money do these guys have?
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:19 PM on August 31, 2022

One of them has movie star money; superhero movie star money.
posted by ceiriog at 7:11 AM on September 1, 2022 [5 favorites]

It was only a couple of million. some background on the financials.
posted by idb at 9:27 AM on September 1, 2022

Saxon Kane, they discuss this in episode 1. McElhenney has an emotional connection to the team that reminds him of his childhood, and he ropes in Reynolds who has a bigger wallet.
posted by BlahLaLa at 9:59 AM on September 1, 2022

I grew up near Wrexham, and was a regular at the Racecourse during the "glory years" between 1976 and 1980. If the first two episodes are anything to go by, this is going to be an emotional experience.

As a casual fan -- I follow the results and sometimes listen to games on the radio, but the last time I visited the ground was to see Motörhead and Twisted Sister in 1982 -- it's been amusing watching my hometown team become a fashionable brand among the Hollywood glitterati.

(And as a Welsh tutor, it was fun to see R&R's promo featuring a Welsh "translator".)
posted by ceiriog at 11:00 AM on September 1, 2022 [2 favorites]

I'm sorry--I'm a bit confused by Full Season, Season 1 Episode 1. Are we able to talk about the other eps that have aired so far or should we confine remarks to the first one?

Regardless, I'm enjoying this. I was really amused by Rob's comment that he needed superhero movie star money, alcohol magnate money, mobile phone company magnate money (paraphrasing because I can't recall the exact wording). I loved the little dig at all of Ryan's never-ending investments.

And I really like seeing the inner workings of a football club at that level, I think anyone who's ever supported a team that didn't do well knows that feeling of the Wrexham fans. I like how they're doing the show, and am really looking forward to the rest of the season.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:31 AM on September 1, 2022

(I'm the one who started this post, and clearly I did something wrong -- should be for the full season. I'll ask the mods to adjust it.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:22 AM on September 2, 2022

Okay, cool! I just didn't want to overstep--also, I'm watching this on broadcast, so if they've released the whole season on streaming already, I won't see it for a while. But I watched this week's pair of episode and it was making me so nervous: the constant draws, that feeling like they're failing, how frustrating it's got to be for the players. In the second episode, you could see how much it was paining them to make the decisions about management and roster changes, and it felt a lot more acute this week.

I passed through Wrexham on the way to somewhere else in Wales some years ago, and just always had a soft spot in my heart for it; when I'd heard Rob and Ryan were buying the club, I was amused and thinking it was very dilletantish, but it's clear they really want this to work and are in it for real. Looking forward to seeing the rest of it.
posted by kitten kaboodle at 11:51 AM on September 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

It was a bit cheesy the way they introduced it, but the five young players sharing a house, opening their pay packets, and being a bit bitchy about Paul Mullin, while accepting that their own careers are dependent on him scoring goals, is proper drama.

When is Bootlegger going to become a proper character, rather than just an occassional voice from the terraces? The man has 337K Twitter followers, about half as many as Rob McElhenny, just from being a funny, and passionate, football fan. Isn't that a story in itself?
posted by ceiriog at 3:33 PM on September 2, 2022

As a Leeds United supporter who suffered during Shaun Harvey‘s rein of error as Leeds’ CEO, I all but did a spit-take when he first appeared on screen as an advisor to the board. Really hoping Wrexham succeeds despite his being involved.
posted by Ranucci at 9:19 PM on September 2, 2022 [1 favorite]

Really enjoyed the first four episodes, will keep watching. My read is that they purchased the club because, as mentioned, Rob has a strong familial/local connection to the Eagles, but would never be able to buy an American sports team. Ryan has several successful business ventures already under his belt, and from what I recall reading about them, has a knack for bootstrapping, recognizing opportunity.

All efforts really seem sincere, and it's really cool seeing the inner workings of a pro club like this--and if they do eventually move up a league or two, then the original investment will definitely pay off.
posted by LooseFilter at 11:22 AM on September 3, 2022

As a tabletop rpg actual play viewer, it was a trip seeing Humphrey Ker in the doc after first having seen him at the mercy of eldritch abominations in Stream of Blood.
posted by juv3nal at 9:42 PM on September 4, 2022

I have now watched the first 6 episodes, and will probably watch the rest of the season. I am a sucker for an underdog story, and for an institutional turnaround story. And I find Reynolds an intriguing person -- and he's of course superlatively charismatic.

But I find myself wanting a story that this particular series is not interested in providing me, or cannot.

I'm a manager myself and when I come into a stagnating or failing project to turn it around (which -- in a very different context -- is one of my specialties), I do an initial audit to inventory all the project's assets and problems. So I want to know all the figures, such as how far Wrexham has to improve its earnings before the new investors reach their break-even point. We get little glimpses of bits of the budget, in particular the cost of laying and re-laying the pitch, and the income, such as the fact that some of the member-fans pay the minimum of 12 pounds per year. But we certainly don't find out some of the salaries (for Phil, Fleur, or -- as I recall -- the highest-paid player), or the revenues that the various sponsorships have brought in (comparing Ifor Williams to Expedia and TikTok). Of course I understand that some of these numbers are secret when it comes to current and recent contracts, but without the greater context of the shape of the budget and income streams overall, I have a harder time finding excitement, worry, satisfaction, etc. in the events the series presents.

It's likely an incredibly smart move for Fleur Robinson to take the CEO role but exclude herself from this particular narrative, but her absence makes the story weaker (and less gender-balanced) for me. Those video calls where the co-owners are asking about particular bits of progress, such as the purchase of the stadium -- wouldn't she be on those calls with them, ordinarily? Are these calls just being re-produced sans Fleur for the sake of the filming?

I have enjoyed sports documentaries -- Ken Burns's Baseball, several Jon Bois videos and series -- but those are pretty different beasts, more cerebral and usually about events well in the past. I think I came into this thinking it was more like a documentary, but it might be valuable to me to adjust my expectations to treat it more as sitting in the reality TV genre. And there's a lot of reality TV I like! So I'll try that and see if it helps.
posted by brainwane at 4:46 AM on September 12, 2022

A friend pointed me to a news story of a different recent team purchase by foreign owners which serves as an interesting contrast.
posted by brainwane at 9:33 AM on September 12, 2022

I wonder if John Green agreed to do the "Crash Course in Welsh History" segment before [redacted]?

But if you know, you know.
posted by ceiriog at 2:23 PM on September 16, 2022

I imagine John Green was asked to take part due to his involvement with AFC Wimbledon.
posted by juv3nal at 6:01 PM on September 17, 2022

But if you know, you know.

I don't know. Can you explain?
posted by kitten kaboodle at 8:38 PM on September 18, 2022 [1 favorite]

I haven't watched all of this week's episode yet, so I'm not sure if I can say without spoilers. Ryan Reynolds appeared on Dear Hank & John in late December 2021, and discussed the Wrexham deal with John Green, and a few weeks later the "all-important news from Wimbledon" segment of the pod included some pretty important news from Wrexham.
posted by ceiriog at 11:54 AM on September 24, 2022

...but I've just listened to last week's DH&J, and John Green is very pleased to have been involved with the show.
posted by ceiriog at 12:24 PM on September 24, 2022

Okay, I'm about halfway through and yes, this helps to fulfill the Ted Lasso jones. I find R&R to be very endearing at this. I liked how Ryan was all "I started talking to Rob when I was 16 and I got off the phone half owning a football team," even if we couldn't hear everything Rob said on his persuasive(?) phone call. I like that it features other people even if sometimes I'm confused as to who they are. I concur that I would have liked to have seen more of Fleur, did appreciate seeing the lady using a wheelchair being a volunteer and then getting paid to do that job.

It does feel like a Hollywood framed story about underdogs coming out on top even though, well...not so much in the end with that.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:23 AM on October 18, 2022

Having watched episodes six and seven:

(a) Hahahaha, there's an episode about Alex Hamilton...albeit that's the asshole former owner guy.

(b) The episode about Wales is both a funny, delightful refresher (I do enjoy them razzing each other/having the translator diss their sexual prowess) and also makes you go, "So....not much going on with them not winning games, eh?" Especially once you get to the Sports Center section.
posted by jenfullmoon at 3:52 PM on October 18, 2022

More thoughts: I am not a sports person, but you'd think with all the money being poured into people on this team, they'd...not continue to suck even worse than they did last year? What's with that?

There's an entire episode dedicated to football hooligans, including one guy who's banned from games. I do get the feeling they look for nice detracting segues to not focus on the losing so much. And then his girlfriend lost out on a cop job due to him? Geez, just leave....
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:30 PM on October 19, 2022

you'd think with all the money being poured into people on this team, they'd...not continue to suck even worse than they did last year?

I think this may be a false impression given by the editing?
They finished 19th in the lockdown shortened 2019-20 season, the lowest finish in the club's history. Which was before the takeover.

And then his girlfriend lost out on a cop job due to him? Geez, just leave....

On the one hand, yeah, but on the other ACAB so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by juv3nal at 10:38 PM on October 19, 2022

I do get the feeling they look for nice detracting segues to not focus on the losing so much.

The segues have been the most surprising and substantial parts of the show for me, completely unexpected and moving, exploring and deconstructing toxic masculinity in ways I did not expect. The episode about Ryan and Rob's friendship, with terrific commentary about how fraught non-romantic male intimacy really can be, was great. Many men watching may have learned something positive from either of those episodes (I especially appreciated the hooligans episode being framed by the assault victim's perspective).

With regard to their losing, their 2021-22 record was second-best in their league. (They were not promoted because 1st place is automatic promotion, and tournament play wins the second promotion slot, which Wrexham lost in the semi-final.) Previous five seasons saw finishes at #13, #10, #4, #19, #8; now #2.
posted by LooseFilter at 8:22 AM on October 20, 2022

I admit now that I'm a few more episodes farther in, NOW they show them winning.

But also I am an idiot who doesn't usually follow sports, but they sure did seem to emphasize all the losses, the time R&R made bets on the outcome, Rob sulking because he had all his friends at the bar watch and they bombed...
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:50 PM on October 20, 2022

they sure did seem to emphasize all the losses

I feel like that was done on purpose to give the whole thing a narrative arc.
posted by juv3nal at 4:18 PM on October 20, 2022

Humphrey Ker just guested on the Tifo Football podcast.
posted by juv3nal at 2:59 AM on October 27, 2022

I just finished watching the series and really enjoyed it. It’s amazing how much money went into the show - clearly the plan is to make money from that. I think Rob and Ryan are endearing but I do wonder what it’s like for Wrexham to be the focus of all this Hollywood stuff. The episode where Ryan drops in for a visit and the trainer says he’s distracting the players made me realize it, and then seeing other stars at the big games and fans who say they are there to see Ryan. I imagine that the stands will be filled with visitors who have never been to Wales for the next few years. Is that all okay with Wrexham? Is this building community or changing it?
posted by Sukey Says at 8:26 PM on November 30, 2022

Unsurprisingly, in case anyone was in doubt, I've seen mentions a second season of the show is on the way.

Ben Foster (The Cycling GK on yt & Fozcast on spotify) also has some good coverage of events since signing, though not the clinching game yet. That penalty save against Nott's County was something.
posted by juv3nal at 7:13 AM on April 23, 2023

Mr. Blah and I are just filled with good feelings about this. For the team, for the town, and even for Rob and Ryan.
posted by BlahLaLa at 7:35 PM on April 24, 2023 [1 favorite]

Wordshore, that’s a huge spoiler for next season. Please don’t do that, there are lots of us who don’t follow the football news but still want to watch the show. Thanks.
posted by wnissen at 8:06 PM on October 13, 2023

This was very entertaining, and balanced in its coverage of the sport, the celebrities, and the community. It’s amazing how Rob and Ryan would invest so much without even knowing some basic rules like throw-in locations or offsides—the “Why Wrexham?” question never really gets answered, and the Grimsby back-story in the last episode slyly confirms that there are lots of other towns just like Wrexham dealing with the same issues.
posted by cardboard at 4:34 AM on January 14

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