Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney don’t have any answers for hooliganism either
You know already how Welcome to Wrexham spent the first four episodes of its first season basically praising the charming, funny, and great Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny. The show isn’t for footy diehards, which is fine – it’s really meant to make someone who already loves these two falls more. This is a worthy goal; There may be more than enough in that group to give the show good ratings. To achieve that he has to decide whether or not to put the future of the football club and the emotions of the club’s fans in the blender.
Not much has changed in the seven episodes since the season, though the two have finally made it all the way to Wales. And he did and said all the right things, although he celebrates the fact that he’s hungover for his first meeting with his manager, the future of his roster isn’t cool when you’re out of college and in charge of a football club.
Still, last night’s episode 10, which focused entirely on hooliganism, seemed to have the odd goal of portraying it as a bigger problem than it is, while Reynolds and McElhenney are trying to lionize a purchase that was simply made by doing just that. This is seemingly the goal of the entire series, although it seems they didn’t do their due diligence. A pitch or a wage bill or how much it costs to relay transfers or what it might take to find a promotion – these are not things that take months of ownership to figure out. And we struggle to find sympathy as two rich people have to spend money. They have a ton of it and we know it. They are not heroes because they seem pressured to dump a part of their fortune on the football club they choose to buy.
The hooligan episode centers around an incident at Wrexham railway station, following a match attended by Reynolds and McLennan at the racecourse, where a group of youths beat up another Wrexham fan. This is obviously a despicable and despicable incident and has nothing to do with sports and fandom.
However, this appeared to be an isolated incident, as there was no mention of it being a regular event in the season followed by the documentary and the only incident involving Wrexham three years earlier. This is partly because the episode focuses on a Wrexham fan who was a hooligan and was banned from the stadium and city center at home games for years. And while the episode claws at some of the root causes of hooliganism, as he describes his life and how “having his Saturday” was released, and how economic and social factors played into hooliganism in the ’70s and ’80s. That’s a worthy discussion, and it’s worth talking about anything Rob and Ryan might be able to get to the root of the problem.
All things being equal, refer to it as “Look how charming we are on the grounds that we’ve taken in!” The entire series is a really, unimaginably weird phony ribs infomercial that they thudded into the series so they could go on for a full 30 minutes. Although hooliganism was still a problem in England, it was hardly a problem, and in Italy or Eastern Europe fascism found an outlet and played an important role. It’s worth talking about too, and if you’re trying to show that you know more about hooliganism than you’ve read a Wikipedia entry, it’s worth putting on your display.
Again, that’s not to say that being a bully and violent isn’t a problem, because it is at any scale. But as the club’s fans stress throughout the episode, it’s a handful of “fans”. If your home crowd is 9,000-10,000, 40-50 people is more than in a Premier League crowd. However, McElhenney makes no bones about his Philadelphia Eagles fandom, a team that had its own courthouse and prisons under its stadium to deal with all the yobbos in attendance. Wouldn’t it be worth them commenting and linking to the issues facing Wrexham? Or does it diminish his luster? Or like most Eagles fans, do they think it’s part of the appeal of being an Eagles fan?
Again, much like his vision for the club and plans to get there, there’s no attempt at any kind of resolution here. There’s a line from McElhenney about how that behavior will never be accepted or tolerated, which you could have seen in the trailer for the episode. There is no mention of increasing security or cameras or what they might be able to do. There is no message from him to his fans that this aspect is not welcome, which may have more influence than most owners given the adoration these two have from the current Wrexham fans and how involved they claim to be.
Like the rest of the show, whatever the scale of the problem is, it’s only presented to highlight how Reynolds and McElhenney are trying to lower themselves into this world and bring the club out. Again, this show isn’t made for big fans like me, but it wouldn’t be fair to present it to a less soccer-loving audience as some massive, uncontrollable rabble gifted to these two actors by soccer fans. That’s not a big problem when highlighting, as the show seemingly wants to do.