It probably helps to be a sports fan and it probably helps to like the two protagonists in the first place, but it’s also true that none of that is necessary. When the adornments are stripped, only the telling of the story remains, and I’m not sure there’s another show out there, fiction or non, that tells it better.
Obviously there’s a time lag, so any football fan will know how the season ended, and there is a sense that the locals are now getting more camera-savvy. But that doesn’t make the net effect any less life-affirming.
You don’t have to care about football to find Welcome to Wrexham an emotional, funny, even eye-opening documentary. Be warned, though: watch it long enough and you might find yourself idly googling the Wrexham scores.
For a show based on the tensions involved in moving a team up the arcane ladder of English football, one can discover the denouement merely by reading the sports pages. But that would ruin the fun, which is considerable—the king's visit prompts the team owners to take an etiquette class, which can't not be amusing. And while the program is ostensibly a soccer show, it isn't just about competition but community, obsession, addiction (to sports) and the very personal stories of very nice people.
Welcome to Wrexham, in its attempt to serve two masters – those who understand the offside rule and those who couldn’t pick Gareth Bale out of a line-up – ends up feeling blandly corporate. With the mud-and-blood world of non-league football at its mercy, that feels like missing an open goal.