Well this is pretty well timed, isn’t it? With Wrexham now back in the EFL for the first time in 15 years and with the second series well on the way, what better time is there to look back on the first series of Ryan Reynolds’s and Rob McElhenny’s turbulent time owning Wrexham? Also, Welcome to Wrexham is just heart breaking and heartwarming at times which is great because it illustrates how much football has affected Ryan and that other guy, Rob? So, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Welcome to Wrexham first debuted on Fox, and eventually came onto Disney+, in 2022. As mentioned above it is on the verge of airing its second series. The show follows Hollywood A-Listers Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny as they take over AFC Wrexham in the English National League. They are in a bid to end a 15 year wait for promotion into the English Football League. As the season progresses, the show details the behind the scenes operations of the club, while also providing a great way for non-football fans to get into the sport through the eyes of two incredibly invested owners. It also introduces viewers to the wonderfully funny Wrexham squad. Naturally they are rightfully happy to be working for Deadpool and that other guy. Anyway, without further ado here are the best episodes of Welcome to Wrexham ranked (so far).
10. Hooligans (S1, E10)
Kicking off the list of the best Welcome to Wrexham episodes is Hooligans. Now for anyone who follows football, this term will be very familiar. Basically, it’s exactly what the name suggests: a group of fans who will do anything to fight for their club, often at times with violence. What really makes this episode great is the interview with a hooligan and his partner. This is interesting to get their perspective on their actions. Also, the fact it’s Rob and Ryan’s first home game so naturally that takes the Hollywood shine off the day.
9. Away We Go (S1, E8)
One thing Welcome to Wrexham is great at is showing people in places you never thought you’d see them. Case in point, this episode shows Rob and Ryan attending their first away match at the New York Stadium. Unfortunately, the game ended in a 3-2 loss for Wrexham despite coming back to 2-2 at one point. This is a massively relatable feeling for football fans. Because even if you don’t follow the sport you’ll be moved by Rob and Ryan’s heartbroken faces. Also, this quote from Rob really sums up the episode ‘you can’t have the sweet without the sour I guess’…
8. Hello Wembley (S1, E16)
One effect Welcome to Wrexham is the sheer amount of new eyes that are paying attention to the club. Case in point, Wrexham have made it through to the FA Trophy final at one of the most famous stadiums in football: Wembley. Basically, it’s a who’s who of famous celebrities who come to watch Wrexham’s biggest day in a long time. This includes David Beckham and Will Ferrell, who seems to be making a habit of this. Anyway, despite the heartbreak for the Red Dragons it’s still incredible to see the support they’ve gained thanks to Rob and Ryan’s ownership.
7. Fearless (S1, E5)
One of the biggest parts of running a football club is landing sponsorships. So naturally Rob and Ryan land a massive one in this episode. Besides the sponsorship coverage, there’s also some really tough contests for both the fans and the goalkeepers. This really highlights the other side of the fans’ chants and criticisms from the stands on the players, which again shows the really heartwarming side of the show. Honestly, a very underrated episode of the series.
6. Rebuilding (S1, E3)
Obviously, a huge problem for Rob and Ryan when they first took over Wrexham was trying to convince star players and key executives to take a chance on the club. When you’re having to bring in one of your producers and teach him how to be an executive that shows the direness of the situation. Eventually, they start to secure players and executives, like Shaun Harvey and the now iconic superstar striker Paul Mullin. Also, this episode lays bare the financial problems Rob and Ryan will have if Wrexham fail to get promoted in two years. All of this creates a lot of drama for both the viewers and owners
5. Hamilton! (S1, E6)
Unfortunately, this isn’t the Lin Manuel Miranda X Welcome to Wrexham crossover the title hints at. Instead, it’s showcasing Rob and Ryan realising how difficult one of their key promises will be: getting ownership of Wrexham’s ground, The Racecourse. This is after the club’s previous owner, before the Wrexham fans, had sold off the land to pay for the club’s evermounting debts. Naturally this also meant the stadium expansion plans couldn’t happen. Honestly, the joy on Rob and Ryan’s faces make it all worth it as it’s incredible to see how much they’ve now come to love football.
4. Sack the Gaffer (S1, E11)
Again, this will be very familiar to anyone who follows a football team. This causes any manager’s most dreaded phrase to ring out ‘You’re getting sacked in the morning’ or in this case ‘Sack the Gaffer’. Naturally, this episode features a lot of disgruntled Wrexham fans wanting the manager sacked. It also features Rob and Ryan wondering whether or not they actually should, given the amount of work they did to acquire their manager: Phil Parkinson.
3. Welcome Home (S1, E9)
Ah yes, the episode which finally saw Rob and Ryan get to visit Wrexham in person after the COVID-19 pandemic. Honestly, it’s so heartwarming to see the inspiring response that the Wrexham fans have for their new owners. Whether it’s the owners being given a welcome at the town hall to them visiting city centre shops or just signing merch and talking with fans, it’s incredible to see the bond the fans have with the owners, even before they’ve got into a promotion battle. Genuinely heartwarming stuff just seeing how touched Rob and Ryan are at being celebrated so much.
2. Do or Die (S1, E18)
Well, the series finale is certainly dramatic isn’t it? After Wrexham fail to win the league title, they’ve got to go again in the playoffs. Naturally, this creates huge drama even without the uncertainty of whether Rob and Ryan will have enough money left to continue the charge should they fail. Honestly, it barely features much of the match but just from the fans and the owners reactions you can see how important promotion is to them.
1. Dream (S1, E1)
And the best episode (so far) of Welcome to Wrexham is…. Dream. Honestly, there’s something poetic about the fact this is the best episode so far. Whether it’s Rob recapping his childhood in Philadelphia and how that helps him identify with Wrexham and it’s history or the comedic reveal of how Rob brings Ryan on board with the project. Also just seeing Rob and Ryan slowly grasp the enormity of what they’ve done is magnificent. And to round off, how did they manage to make the most intense Zoom meeting ever filmed? That aside, this is a great episode which introduces the audience to the show which will unfold.