Welcome to Wrexham: The underdog isn't always pleasant, but it's always interesting

"Do you know what you're doing?" a podcaster inquired.

"Certainly not," Ryan Reynolds replied quickly.

At first glance, the answer appears to be consistent with the film star's sense of humor, which is full of self-deprecating jokes and sarcasm. If examined further, it may be the best solution. The Deadpool actor may have no experience managing a football club, but there is a reason Rob McElhenney (actor and co-creator of the comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia) asked him to purchase Wrexham AFC from Wales.

Previously, thanks to comedian and writer Humphrey Ker, McElhenney became enamored with a sport he didn't understand and planned to become the owner of a football club. Wrexham was chosen after extensive profiling, whether it's because of Wrexham's heritage (the club is said to be the third oldest in the world), financial reasons (price matching), or a combination of factors.

What will be most difficult for McElhenney is England's soccer pyramid system, which, unlike in the United States, allows clubs to move up and down the ranks—potentially creating a dark horse story. McElhenney also needs money from a movie star, specifically a superhero movie star who is also the baron of an alcohol company, a cellphone service company, and other businesses.

Ryan Reynolds, a digital friend of his, qualifies as a co-chairman, joining him in becoming the new owner of Wrexham.

The high public awareness of both of them gave rise to the documentary Welcome to Wrexham, which follows exploring the club's acquisition and the journey of the club nicknamed The Red Dragons on the pitch in the 2021/22 season.

Aside from the business investment, which does not appear to be promising at first glance, one major question arises: why would a male duo from the United States and Canada want to burn their money for a football club from across the ocean?

That question was left to be answered gradually over the course of 18 episodes.

Blessings from celebrity bosses and unusual events

The most noticeable difference in this documentary stems from the co-chairman duo's backgrounds outside of the creative industry. In the hands of Rob and Ryan, the football industry, which is a "rich man's game," appears to be different.

Neither the Agnelli Dynasty nor the Glazers will disparage themselves, even for the creative process of publicizing their own clubs. Unlike Rob and Ryan, we won't find oil executives who also "play" in the football industry complaining about the difficulty of understanding rules like offside—which Rob and Ryan didn't fully understand until the end of the season.

Wrexham quickly gained wide and unique exposure thanks to both of them (with a slight preference for Reynolds' popularity). Quickly, a club from a small town in north Wales competing in the fifth tier of the English Football League can be featured in FIFA 22 and receive a flashy jersey sponsor, TikTok.

Some people may be unfamiliar with Wales. Many more are unaware that the sheep population in that country outnumbers the human population. Rob and Ryan are here to fill the void by educating.

In one episode, they only discuss a country that is also a part of the United Kingdom while roasting the Welsh translator. Rob and Ryan commented on their own club's match highlights and then took the time to record a reaction video while reading fans' opinions on the internet.

Welcome to Wrexham isn't just for fun; it also serves as an educational documentary. It guides audiences who are unfamiliar with the tournament system or football and it remembers to explain clearly the negative aspects of football in the United Kingdom, such as hooliganism.

When an in-depth analysis in episode 17 fully discussed the Rob and Ryan bromance in particular and discussions about masculinity, an interesting discourse was presented. This documentary goes a step further by describing sport as a safe space for men to express their love and affection for one another.

When they are not needed, the two owners are absent. In the absence of Rob and Ryan, for example, episode 12, which fully discusses the bitter side of players and working-class humans, feels more genuine.

Football is more than a sport, and the club is more than the football department kicking the ball around, as has been repeatedly emphasized. Of course, all fans are familiar with this story, and Welcome to Wrexham depicts its realization, how it could unite (or divide) the community more than any other entity, and how the two new owners attempted to respect Wrexham as a traditional club supported by a strong community with its own set of values.

Rich point of view and halfway drama

Throughout the season, I unconsciously hummed along to the series' opening song, "Everyday" by Buddy Holly, an excellent song selection, regarding roller coasters and the belief that love will undoubtedly come like you did while watching Welcome to Wrexham.

There is a concerted effort to highlight the community as the backbone of Wrexham AFC, from The Turf (the Wrexham supporters' pub) to seedy band studios and hangout spots throughout the city. As giant clubs view their fans these days, their presence is not merely a patch, let alone a market.

Ordinary people are given a voice at various points throughout the film. Fans, volunteers, and even staff members were outspoken in their criticism. Managers, club officials, and Rob and Ryan themselves are the targets.

This documentary deserves praise for its sensitivity in giving space to those somewhat forgotten in this world that is seen as masculine. It focuses on the perspectives and opinions of female fans, people with disabilities, and even private people about their personal lives, making its narrative more than just upbeat.