‘Ted Lasso’ is a sports sitcom that follows the show’s eponymous character, an American college football coach, as he flies across the pond and becomes the unlikely trainer of a flagging Premier League football (soccer!) team. As the new coach of AFC Richmond, Ted faces no small amount of pushback (he is promptly nicknamed “Wanker”) from the team’s loyal fans, mostly because he has no idea how the sport he now has to coach is played.
However, the bubbly coach has some tricks up his sleeve, and his infectious optimism makes for interesting viewing as it clashes with the somber British sensibilities of the team’s owner and captain. But is it enough to get Richmond on top, or even to the middle for that matter? The season finale holds the answer. Let’s take a closer look at the ‘Ted Lasso’ season 1 ending. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Ted Lasso Season 1 Recap
Season 1 opens with Ted’s unexpected shift from being an American college football coach to training a Premier League team in England. The team’s wealthy owner and Ted’s new boss is the recently divorced Rebecca, who still holds a grudge against her long-unfaithful husband and wants nothing more than to see him suffer. She plots to destroy the football club that her ex-husband owned before the divorce and is undoubtedly very attached to.
Soon enough, we find out that her reason for hiring Ted is to embarrass the team and bring down its reputation and ranking. Rebecca’s plan, however, hits a roadblock when Ted slowly begins to win over members of the football club with his relentless positivity. Despite facing a barrage of abuse from the football fanatic locals wherever he goes, the coach from Kansas, along with his colleague and long-time friend Coach Beard, perseveres and soon wins over the team’s jaded, once-famous captain Roy.
However, problems with the star player, the young and impossibly egotistical Jamie Tartt, who refuses to heed Ted’s words and openly mocks him, lead to friction in the team. Meanwhile, Ted, while putting on a happy front, faces a devastating divorce with his wife Michelle, which finally spills over and causes him to have a panic attack right after the team’s first big victory under him. He is comforted by Rebecca, who also cannot help but be impressed with how well Ted’s coaching tactics work not just on the field but off it as well.
Ted, in turn, helps Rebecca fend off her sadistic ex-husband, who continues to torment her by parading his new trophy wife in front of her and even attempting to regain some control of the football club. Rebecca’s final move against her own team, the transfer of their star player Jamie to Manchester City, isn’t quite the blow to the team she expects it to be and eventually comes clean to Ted about her plot. In true form, Ted forgives her massive betrayal.
Ted Lasso Season 1 Ending: Did AFC Richmond Get Relegated?
As the final match that will decide the club’s future in the Premier League draws closer, there are concerns about the aging team captain Roy Kent’s fitness. Crushed at the prospect of not being in the starting lineup for the important faceoff against Manchester City, Roy angrily reacts but is eventually brought around by his girlfriend, Keeley. Coming on in the second half of the decisive match, he executes an impressive tackle and saves his team from conceding a goal. However, the severe injury he sustains, as a result, sees him limping off the field soon after.
Despite the game being tied, which is a favorable outcome for Richmond against the lethal Manchester City, a last-minute play by their former striker Jamie results in a narrow and severely disappointing defeat for the endearing football club. Ted reminds the team to keep their chin up but admits that the defeat is devastating. The locals, however, now supportive of Ted, agree that he tried his best and begin to refer to him as a “wanker” in much more affectionate tones. However, AFC Richmond’s narrow defeat against Manchester City means that they have effectively been relegated from the Premier League and now find themselves in the lower division Champions League, where they will start the next season from.
Did Roy Kent Retire?
Roy Kent, after a particularly heroic chase and spectacular tackle, sustains a serious knee injury that has him limping off the field. Barely able to keep up with the younger players even before hurting himself, it seems very unlikely that he will return to Richmond or any other professional football team as a player in the next season. As he walks off, the match commentator also bemoans the fact that it might be the last time Roy laces up his boots to play a professional match.
Despite Roy’s pride from his younger days as a star player with Chelsea, we see him slowly come to terms with the fact that he’s not a football superstar now. It is especially difficult for the aging superstar to reduce himself to a “commoner,” as opposed to always being the best player on the team. However, when he finally agrees to be on the club’s second team during practice and even playfully taunts the opening squad that he has just been kicked out of, we see that he has made his peace with the fact.
It seems quite symbolic that after their final match of the season, the whole team sits in the locker room in their team uniforms while Roy is seen wearing his regular clothes, most likely symbolizing that he will soon officially stop being a part of the team and retire. There is a possibility for the experienced player to come back as a coach, but from his disposition, it doesn’t really look like Roy is cut out for coaching.
Is Ted Fired From his Position as the AFC Richmond Coach?
After their narrow defeat against Manchester City, which effectively demotes the team to a lower division, and despite having already written his resignation letter (on the back of a takeout menu), Ted is not fired by Rebecca but is kept on for another season. He is quick to promise that they will come back stronger and the team’s owner, now much more involved in the club, seems to agree.
Rebecca most likely keeps Ted on as the coach despite the heavy loss because she recognizes just how much he has improved the squad. The talkative coach’s strategies, which heavily focus on improving the players as people as opposed to only honing their skills, seem to have turned the languishing team’s morale around. Repeatedly described as a team mired by mediocrity for many years, under Ted, Richmond achieves some truly historic landmarks, including defeating Everton for the first time in 60 years. Hence, despite the loss, Rebecca recognizes the significant impact Ted has had on her team and seems to believe that he will be able to lead Richmond to greatness.
What is in the Letter Ted Sends Jamie?
Jamie, after making the scoring pass that results in Richmond’s defeat and ejection from the Premier League, gets handed a letter by Coach Beard just as he is getting onto the bus to return to Manchester. The letter turns out to be a note from Ted congratulating Jamie on finally passing the ball instead of selfishly trying to score every goal himself. This is something that the coach had repeatedly tried to impress upon Jamie, who now realizes that he won the match against his ex-coach using the very advice that he got from him.
The confident Jamie is perpetually confused by Ted’s optimism and unconditional support and insists that the coach is playing mind-games with him. However, with the note, he seems to finally realize that the American does, in fact, mean well and continues to have Jamie’s interests at heart. This is especially powerful for the young football star’s character, who we see bullied by an overbearing father who abuses him for passing the ball and not scoring the winning goal himself. Hence, the simple note from Ted probably helps Jamie finally realize that not everyone is out to get him and that his ex-coach was genuinely looking out for him. This is further symbolized by the small green army-man figure that Ted encloses with the note.
Why Does Rebecca Try to Sabotage Her Team?
The show opens with an extremely cold and embittered Rebecca, who is facing a barrage of news stories glorifying her ex-husband’s string of affairs with younger women. In a bid to hurt him and watch him suffer, she decides to slowly and painfully run his beloved football club AFC Richmond into the ground. In fact, the entire premise of the show hinges on Rebecca’s vengeful plan as she initially hires Ted, thinking that an American football coach would fail miserably at coaching a professional Premier League football team.
However, much like the delicious biscuits that Ted bakes — and Rebecca tries to resist but cannot because of how good they are — her new coach also converts the unwilling and stony team owner into a down-to-earth, empathetic, and involved member of the club. She also learns the name of the clubhouse attendant (Nate) by the end of the season after not recognizing him despite him being employed at the club for many years. Therefore, Ted not only begins to turn AFC Richmond around but also its owner.
Read More: Shows You Must Watch If You Like Ted Lasso