Two North American movie stars buy a Welsh soccer team, football club, clwb pȇl-droed. What could possibly go wrong? It looks like we’re all going to find out soon in “Welcome to Wrexham,” the new documentary series from FX following the unlikely love story between Ryan Reynolds, Rob McElhenney, and Wrexham AFC. The series now has a trailer, and it looks good! The trailer, that is.
I’ve no idea if the show will be good. But the trailer looks great.
While the format of the soccer team docu-series is well-worn at this point, the circumstances of Reynolds and McElhenney taking on ownership of a Welsh team sitting in the fifth division of English soccer gives the series its own natural hook. And the trailer also gave all of us a sneak peek at what’s coming in “Welcome to Wrexham.” Let’s get into what we learned from the teaser.
There really was no grand plan behind buying Wrexham
If you were looking for some secret reason Reynolds and McElhenney had for specifically selecting Wrexham over any other lower league club, it doesn’t seem like there was one. As McElhenney tells a young fan in the trailer when asked about the pair’s connection to Wrexham, “we had no direct connection. It was just a feeling.”
Of course, there’s still plenty of room for fan theories. The same young fan espoused his and his father’s idea that it was because both Wrexham and Deadpool’s main color is red, something Reynolds promptly agrees with. But it does seem like the two actors were initially winging it, which should make for interesting television, at the very least.
The club definitely needed some help upon their arrival
Wrexham was owned by the Wrexham Supporters Trust before Reynolds and McElhenney took over, and the fans had effectively wiped out the club’s debts, which is an impressive feat in and of itself. But running a club is expensive, and there were clearly a few areas of need that it doesn’t seem the club and Supporters Trust had the funds for.
We get a glimpse of that in the trailer when McElhenney and Reynolds first see what is charitably called the club’s gym, which looks far more like a small office with a weight rack or two and some resistance bands mounted on the walls. “Wow, this needs a little work,” the reaction from the two upon seeing the gym in all its glory, just about sums it up.
This isn’t a soccer series like you’ve seen before
Manchester City has a documentary series. Sunderland has a documentary series. Tottenham, Arsenal, Juventus, and Dortmund all have their own documentary series. Everyone and their cat has some sort of take on “Ted Lasso.”
“Welcome to Wrexham” doesn’t seem like any of those. It might not have the glitz and glamor of the world’s biggest teams fighting for trophies, and it also doesn’t have the crushing world-weariness of “Sunderland ‘Til I Die,” either. The trailer looks like it combines the realities of even-lower league play with the hope for triumph embedded in bigger clubs’ series. And that hope comes minus the non-ironic mustache and catchphrases, just in case you’re not into that sort of thing.
Oh great, I’m going to cry
More than any other soccer show on television, “Welcome to Wrexham” reminds me of high school football in West Texas or even my own soccer teams growing up in a tiny New York town named Bath. It’s about two guys who don’t know what they’re doing, but do know that they’re going to need to be part of the community around Wrexham AFC if they’re going to pull it off.
Or, as Reynolds puts it in the trailer, “I think the biggest challenge is the community looking around and saying ‘what are these two guys doing here?'”
Yeah, it’s cheesy and cliche. There are a million stories of an outsider coming into some community and doing right by the people there, and how they are welcomed in because of that. But it’s also a story that makes sense to me, as a person from a small town where a team and its fans could all feel like one big extended family. And that still matters, I think.