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Two men watch a soccer match in this image from Boardwalk Pictures.
Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds are the new owners of Wrexham A.F.C. (Image: Boardwalk Pictures)

Soccer fans have their share of docuseries to watch these days, with Amazon and Netflix pumping out exciting series that follow teams from the English Premier League and others. But none of those series are quite like ‘Welcome to Wrexham,” a soccer docuseries that follows a team so low in the pecking order that catching a game from outside England was nearly impossible until recently. With two Hollywood star owners who have zero experience running a club — and little knowledge of the spot, for that matter — the series is entertaining for fans of sports documentaries, soccer, and reality TV.

As Season 3 approaches and the team deals with their first full season in the EFL League Two, this recap is the perfect way to catch up on the first two seasons.

What Is 'Welcome to Wrexham' About?

A Welsh soccer pitch in this image from Boardwalk Pictures.
The Racecourse Ground is the oldest international ground that still hosts international soccer games, and it's the home of Wrexham A.F.C. (Image: Boardwalk Pictures)

“Welcome to Wrexham” follows Wrexham A.F.C., a Welsh soccer club that now plays in the English football league system, after it was acquired by Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney. The club, which is one of the oldest in the world and plays in the world's oldest international football stadium, was chosen by Reynolds and McElhenney because of its history. The club has had its share of triumphs and silverware — they're known as giant killers for their ability to knock out big clubs in past tournaments. But since the early ‘80s, it has fallen on hard times, dropping further out of the league system until ending up in the fifth tier.

The series follows the owners as they attempt to improve the team and get them out of the current league. “Welcome to Wrexham” also zooms in on prominent players and supporters, providing thoughtful profiles that go deeper than the sport. With Reynolds and McElhenney at the helm of both the team and series (both are listed as executive producers for the FX series), the show tends to be lighthearted. With plenty of comedy, it can also pivot to more serious topics.

Though it's a show about running a soccer club, it's also a show that explores the city of Wrexham and what it means to be a supporter of one of the most storied clubs in England.

The Relegation Battle

Two men face off in this image from Boardwalk Pictures.
Ryan Reynolds puts pressure on Paul Mullins to perform in an advertisement. In reality, Paul is the team's most prolific goal-scorer, and the two get along well. (Image: Boardwalk Pictures)

In the first season, it's made abundantly clear that Reynolds and McElhenney are no experts at running a soccer club nor the most savvy when it comes to the sport. Neither seem to understand the finer points of the game’s rules. In their first season of ownership, the new owners couldn’t do much to change the fate of the team, as the season was already underway by the time they joined. Wrexham A.F.C. ended up in eighth place for the 2020-21 season.

Despite their shortcomings as owners, Reynolds and McElhenney made several moves before and during the 2021-22 season to secure the club's future, hiring a CEO, a coach (manager in the U.K.), and appointing an experienced soccer executive to the board. At the same time, the new owners put more money into the club to go after better players in the hopes of getting the team out of the dreaded fifth tier, which is just outside of the English football league system.

With new owners, new players, a new manager, and a new back office, supporters of the club were excited for the first time in a long time. Though there were hiccups throughout their second season, the club steadily climbed up the standings with the goal of ending the season in the top spot, which would secure their promotion to the EFL League Two. However, as the season came to a close, the club was heartbroken when Stockport County F.C. won the league and got the automatic promotion. With automatic promotion gone, the team was forced to play Grimsby Town in the playoff semi-finals, which they lost.

Hard-Fought Promotion

Fast forward to the 2022-2023 season, which saw Wrexham A.F.C. transform into a powerhouse that steamrolled everyone in the league except Notts County. The two teams battled it out in the standings, exchanging the number one spot very deep into the season. Part of the team's success was attributed to the signing of Ben Foster, a freshly retired goalkeeper who most recently played for the English national team and top-flight clubs in the Premier League.

While the club lost to its promotion rival early in the season, it returned the favor later in the season, beating Notts County 3-2. However, Notts County continued to remain a threat as Wrexham A.F.C. headed into the final game of the season. With a win needed to secure automatic promotion, Wrexham A.F.C. went all out against Boreham Wood at home, winning the game 3-1 and ending the 15 cursed years of being stuck in the fifth tier.

The 12th Man: Wrexham A.F.C. Fans

A man in a food truck looks off-camera in this image from Boardwalk Pictures.
Wayne Jones is a big supporter of the club and a fixture of the show. He's also the owner of the Turf Hotel, a pub across from the stadium where fans gather to watch live games. (Image: Boardwalk Pictures)

American sports fans can probably relate to rooting for a losing team year after year (looking at you, Arizona Cardinals fans). But it's nearly impossible to relate to what Wrexham A.F.C. fans have gone through in the past four decades. It's like if the Dallas Cowboys dropped out of the NFL and played in a league made up of barely professional football players with games that only aired on local channels.

While Wrexham A.F.C. supporters complained, grumbled, and gave ownership a piece of their mind, they never stopped believing. That's what makes the club great. Before the new owners found a CEO and hired proper back-office personnel, it was revealed that the CEO was a volunteer who did it because he loved the club. In a Season 2 episode, fans showed up to help remove snow from the pitch before a match, which they did out of love for the club. More importantly, the series profiles supporters routinely to give viewers a different perspective of the club. From fans with disabilities to veterans, the series looks at all the supporters that drive the club.

If you don't fall in love with the club's history, you do with the fans. When the team finally got promoted, it hit so much harder because you know by that point how much it means to the supporters.

It's Not Always a Soccer Show

Two men in blazers talk in front of a TV in this episode from Boardwalk Pictures.
Not every episode is about the team. In this episode, Rob and Ryan dive deep into Welsh culture. (Image: Boardwalk Pictures)

Notice the show is called “Welcome to Wrexham”. That's because the city itself comes first. In Season 2, Episode 10, the series explores the city's mining history and the tragic explosion in the Gresford coal mine in 1934, which ties back to the club in a heartbreaking way. The series also explores Welsh history and culture in Season 1, Episode 7, featuring a cooking segment, a stunning singing performance in Welsh, a John Green (author of “The Fault in Our Stars”) appearance, and a montage of the team's performance. In Episode 17 of Season 1, “Welcome to Wrexham” dives deep into bromances, using Reynolds and McElhenney's budding bromance as a springboard into a larger conversation about sports and the way it impacts male bonding, especially between fathers and sons.

If any of that swayed you, you can catch up on the past two seasons on Hulu. The third season, which was supposed to air in April, has been pushed back to May 2. It will also be available on FX through Hulu.

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