Wrexham forward Paul Mullin said “football comes second” to his family when discussing his son, Albi’s autism during Welcome to Wrexham.
“It doesn’t matter,” Mullin, 28, shared during the second episode of the FX docuseries’ season 2, which premiered on Tuesday, September 19. “He’s the most important thing for me.”
Mullin welcomed Albi with wife Mollie O’Brien in 2019. He joined Wrexham AFC in July 2021, and fans of the team — including The Declan Swans music group — have had only positive reactions to his addition to the team.
“He’s a decent bloke,” Declan Swans member Mark Jones shared during the third episode of Welcome to Wrexham season 2, which was also released on September 19. “Nothing big-headed about him. Seems nice. I haven’t met him myself, but maybe one day we will.”
Mullin publicly revealed their son’s autism diagnosis via X (formerly Twitter) this past January.
“Last week my little boy was diagnosed with autism luckily I have great people around me to help,” he wrote at the time. “Albi being Autistic doesn’t mean nothing he’s a happy and healthy boy no different to anyone else! Just a few hurdles in his way that am sure he will clear!”
During Welcome to Wrexham season 2, Mullin shared some insight into his home life, further discussing Albi’s diagnosis.
The first 12 months of Albi’s life he was hitting all the milestones … Then Albi started to regress,” Mullin shared. “He stopped making eye contact with me and his mom and anyone, really. He didn’t copy. He didn’t try to make sounds anymore.
While Mullin and his wife have a plan for Albi regarding school, the footballer can’t help but feel some level of guilt.
“He’s a happy lad, enjoys every single day. Makes me smile. He doesn’t talk,” Mullin shared in a separate confessional. “He’s nonverbal, but he might as well talk because I know exactly everything he needs and when he needs it. He’s a joy. I wouldn’t change him for the world.”
One sweet moment in the episode showed Mullin and Wrexham AFC coowner Ryan Reynolds watching a video of Albi counting.
“He’s just done it out of the blue the other week,” Mullin said. Reynolds replied, “Oh, but that’s so good though.”
Fans were also introduced to Wrexham AFC fan Millie Tipping, who also has autism, and sits in the stadium’s “quiet zone” during each soccer game.
Throughout the episode, Tipping spoke about connecting with the Wrexham footballers and how being a fan of the team allowed her to grow her level of confidence.
At one point, Tipping met up with Mullin and presented him with a gift bag for Albi before a Wrexham game.
“I got Albi a gift. It’s stuff [that] I use to calm me down,” Tipping said. Mullen replied, “Thank you so much. I think Albi will be so happy with this.”
During the game — which Wrexham won — Mullin made an “A” with his fingers for Albi every time he scored a goal.
“As long as we can make him smile every day, we’re doing something right,” the athlete said.
New episodes of Welcome to Wrexham premiere Tuesdays on FX.