When I heard the news that Hollywood actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney were buying a small Welsh football club, I have to admit I was skeptical.
At first, I thought the announcement was a practical joke. I mean, hardly anyone in the United Kingdom could pinpoint Wrexham on a map.
Why Did Ryan Reynold Buy Wrexham Football Club?
It all began when Rob McElhenney met an English writer on his comedy series Mythic Quest. The writer (Humphrey Ker) was an avid football fan and encouraged the Hollywood star to watch the Netflix documentary ‘Sunderland ‘Til I Die‘.
Rob became fascinated by the football (soccer) culture and the working-class roots of the game. So he decided he wanted to get involved in the sport, and that's how he and the star of Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds, ended up at Wrexham.
As Rob points out in the documentary Welcome to Wrexham, owning a football club, even a small one like Wrexham, is an expensive business.
In the first episode, Rob confesses to the camera that he's only ‘TV money rich', but Ryan has ‘Movie Money' and ‘Business Money'. Reynolds is not only a successful actor, but he recently sold the gin brand he co-owned, Aviation American, to drinks giant Diageo for $610m.
Rob then convinced Ryan that they could turn Wrexham's fortunes around and he agreed to bankroll the project. The pair decided to chronicle their journey in a documentary series and Welcome to Wrexham is the result.
Is Welcome to Wrexham Worth Watching?
What I liked most about this docuseries is that it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what goes into running a lower-league football club.
It's not all glamorous; Wrexham players are not on multi-million dollar contracts like the Premier League stars. The average salary for a player in the fifth tier of the English football league is around $40,000.
Credit to Ryan and Rob; this series isn't all about them. Instead, they do a great job of showcasing the people keep the club running day to day; and this is where Welcome To Wrexham really shines.
The series switches between drama on the pitch, showing a distraught player alone in the dressing room following a red card to fans standing around a burger van chatting about the club's future. This is real grassroots football.
Even if you're not a football fan, I think you'll enjoy this docuseries and highly recommend giving it a watch.
It's a compelling look at the realities of lower league football and the challenges facing small clubs in the modern game. It also shows the importance of football in small towns like Wrexham and the fans' passion for supporting their local team.
The Future For Wrexham AFC
Beyond the emotional side of the story, the purchase of Wrexham could be one of the savviest investments either of them has ever made. The lucrative Premier League is potentially five seasons away if they can successfully turn around the team's fortunes.
Clubs in the top flight of the English League system are valued in the billions, and TV rights alone can earn a Premier League team over $100m per season.
Geographically, Wrexham makes perfect sense as an investment. Located in North Wales, just a few miles from the border with England, it gives the club a potential massive fan base to grow its support. And with two Hollywood A-listers at the helm, it's fair to say that Wrexham will be getting a lot more attention than most lower league clubs in the region.
The future is bright for Wrexham AFC, and I, for one, am excited to see how the story unfolds. After all, as Ryan Reynolds says, “Why not Wrexham?”
Where Can I Watch Welcome To Wrexham?
You can catch the series on a number of streaming platforms. In the U.K. the series is available to watch on Disney+.
In the U.S. you'll need a subscription to Hulu. Episodes drop weekly on Thursdays.