May 18, 2021
Rob McElhenney and Ryan Reynolds decided they wanted to work together — in one form or another — before they ever met in person. Their bond, built on social media, evolved into an ambitious decision to jointly purchase Wrexham AFC, the third oldest "football club" in the world.
The thing about it is that McElhenney and Reynolds don't know know anything about running a sports team, and they'll be tasked with resurrecting a once-great club that has sunken into relative obscurity in the world of European professional soccer.
Whether they succeed or fail, viewers will have a chance to watch their journey on FX, where the two actors are teaming up for a docuseries called "Welcome to Wrexham." The announcement came today on Instagram with the aid of a Welsh translator who mocked McElhenney's ties to Philadelphia.
Wrexham AFC was formed in 1864 and has remained a staple of their working-class community. They're currently in the National League, the fifth tier of English football. It's the lowest tier they've played in since they were first elected to the Football League in 1921.
The club's home stadium, the Racecourse Ground, is the world's oldest international stadium that still hosts international games. Wrexham AFC won a Third Division title in 1977-78 and has won the Welsh Cup a record 23 times, but has not been a force in international soccer for decades.
Prior to McElhenney and Reynolds buying the club, Wrexham AFC had been fan-owned since 2011. Voters approved the purchase last year as the duo aired aspirations to turn Wrexham AFC into a global name yet again. For a town of about 65,000 people, Wrexham AFC remains a pillar of the community.
The docuseries will be produced by "Chef's Table" outfit Boardwalk Pictures and is executive produced by a team led by McElhenney and Reynolds, according to Deadline. FX has signed on for at least two seasons.
"Rob and Ryan will take fans inside the sport as never before, pairing their genuine love for the game with the welcome challenge of building on the heritage of this club," said Nick Grad, president of original programming at FX Entertainment.
McElhenney and Reynolds are entering a fanatical world that can be hostile to American owners if they aren't in tune with fans. The Glazer family, which owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Premier League's Manchester United, has been the subject of anti-ownership protests that resulted in clashes with police and a postponed game with Liverpool.
Considering the docuseries and Wrexham's approval of the new ownership, it seems as if McElhenney and Reynolds are off to a solid start.
A premiere date for "Welcome to Wrexham" has not yet been announced.