The Ted Lasso AFC Richmond team might be a beleaguered franchise, but it is not an actual team in the Premier League. The Apple TV+ show, which stars Jason Sudeikis in the titular role, chronicles the travails of an American college football coach who is employed to manage a Premier League team in England. When he takes over at AFC Richmond, Lasso knows little about soccer and also faces an uphill battle with the team and the club owner, Rebecca (Hannah Waddingham), who secretly hired Ted to sabotage the club. Throughout season 1, Ted’s earnest approach, kindness, and inspirational leadership in managing his team and building relationships win over his doubters but did not prevent Richmond from dropping out of the Premier League.
Ted Lasso draws on various real and well-known footballing tropes, from the aging veteran refusing to accept when his time at the top is over, to teammates competing for the affection of significant others. The comedy also grounds itself in reality with an authentic football backdrop. AFC Richmond plays real teams like Everton and Manchester City, and the Roy Kent character is clearly based on famous Manchester United midfielder Roy Keane. The Ted Lasso AFC Richmond team, however, is an entirely fictional club.
The Team AFC Richmond Is Most Like
It is interesting to note that AFC Richmond shares a number of parallels with one Premier League team in particular. Lasso’s team replaces Brighton & Hove Albion in terms of their relegation struggle, but it’s actually Crystal Palace FC that provides the biggest real-life inspiration for AFC Richmond. Just like the fictional club in Ted Lasso, Crystal Palace is based in South London and plays in the Premier League. The team, nicknamed The Eagles, is a mid-table operation that finds itself close to relegation in any given season. Ted Lasso‘s AFC Richmond is filmed extensively at the Eagles’ own Selhurst Park football ground.
This effectively makes it the home of AFC Richmond, even though Crystal Palace itself exists as a Premier League team in the world of the show. In keeping with the locale, Richmond carries the traditional Crystal Palace color scheme of red and blue, and in a neat piece of symmetry, these same colors are also worn by Hampton & Richmond Borough. Ted Lasso showrunner, Bill Lawrence, has revealed (via CPFC) that he and Sudeikis intentionally sought to film at a genuine London club to add an air of authenticity to their world, and agreed to let Crystal Palace beat Richmond in the sitcom’s plot in exchange for borrowing their stadium. Ted Lasso doesn’t intentionally set out to portray AFC Richmond as an allegory to Crystal Palace.
Through circumstance and coincidence, the Premier League’s Eagles are the club that most closely resembles Lasso’s side on Apple TV+. This sprinkling of reality serves to root Ted Lasso‘s unlikely tale in a recognizable setting, which makes the comedy all the more effective. Fortunately, Palace in the real world isn’t led by an American who doesn’t fully understand the offside rule, but former manager of the English national team, Roy Hodgson. Fans of both Crystal Palace and Ted Lasso will be hoping that life doesn’t imitate art and that Wilfried Zaha can lead the Eagles away from the relegation zone.
How Ted Lasso Season 3 Has Changed AFC Richmond
Things really started to change for the Ted Lasso AFC Richmond team in season 3. While the team had to go through a change when one assistant coach betrayed the team and left on bad terms to coach a rival team, AFC Richmond tried to move on and got better thanks to one move. This was signing a major star player in Zava, played by Maximilian Osinski. The star player Zava is based on several real life players, but Osinski said he based it mostly on Zlatan Ibrahimović, and he read his book and watched documentaries about the player to prepare for the role.
The team also took on a more hands-on approach to winning, as owner Rebecca wants nothing more than to beat her ex-husband’s team West Ham. While she hired Ted Lasso to tank this team and drive it down, she wants nothing more in season 3 than to win at all costs. While Ted built his team to be one that wins based on heart and desire, her goal was to bring in firepower, even if it disrupted the team’s chemistry. AFC Richmond is still a scrappy team that fights to win on Ted Lasso, and that hasn’t changed, but it is a very different team than the one fans saw at the start of Ted Lasso.