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What happened to the Wrexham stadium announcer? Let's set the scene.
It’s been quite the last couple of years for Wrexham A.F.C. Having been taken over by Hollywood stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney, the club finally made it back into the Football League last year after 15 years away.
They have gone from strength to strength this season, riding high in League Two and pushing leaders Stockport County for the title.
With the club’s success and the corresponding popularity of documentary series Welcome to Wrexham, the Welsh side are finding new supporters all over the world. This has led to some concern from die-hard fans that the club will forget its traditions.
Those fears have been stoked recently with the November’s news that veteran stadium announcer Steve Jones would be leaving his position, apparently against his own will.
But what actually happened? And how have supporters reacted? Read on to find out.
What happened to Wrexham stadium announcer Steve Jones?
Steve Jones was let go by Wrexham’s superstar ownership in November after decades at the club.
The news came suddenly on 20 November 2023, with the announcer posting on X (formerly Twitter) a simple but emotional statement: “Devastated to say I am no longer associated with @Wrexham_AFC. I have no further comment to make.”
Why was Steve Jones let go?
No one has gone on record to say why Jones was let go. There is speculation in Wrexham online circles that he said something that the ownership disagreed with.
Dougie Davies, a user on Red Dragons fan site redpassion.co.uk, posted: “I believe he was pushed due to a comment he made. Don't know what the comment was though.”
There has also been some rather more dramatic speculation that the former Wrexham stadium announcer was removed to make way for the new man, who is supposedly the son of former club Director and current Vice President Spencer Harris – the idea being that Harris’ son starting in the role would make a good storyline for the Welcome to Wrexham documentary.
Redpassion.co.uk user TheRealWelshWayne posted: “In terms of WtW, the new announcer has a better back story.”
However, this is all of course speculation, and it will likely be some time before we know exactly why Jones was unable to continue in the role.
What are the fans saying about Steve Jones' departure?
Fans were quick to offer their condolences to Jones, with Welsh Labour MS Lesley Griffiths among the first, tweeting: “Steve – am so very sorry to read this. Sending you thanks for all you have done for our Club.”
Despite the veteran Wrexham stadium announcer leaving the club two months ago, fans of the club are still debating his departure online.
Many have been saddened by the news. Redpassion.co.uk user MrKipling posted: “Got to say, it's only been two matches but I'm really missing Steve Jones. The new guy (who I'm guessing is the Welsh announcer now doing both jobs) is friggin' dreadful with his high pitched whine. Let's hope he's a stop gap before we get someone with a more charismatic delivery.”
Another user, Emver, agreed, asking “Does everything traditional have to be changed for changes sake? If [it was] a mistake or a word out of turn can't a resolution be found? As it seems a bad way to end it this way with a long term club servant and supporter.”
However, some supporters were not as troubled by his departure. User Magic Little Man posted: “I couldn't understand half of what Steve was saying, the new announcer is much clearer, which is important for safety announcements.”
Similarly, DenbighRed said: “I don't really care about the announcements. All I would ask is that whoever takes over long term avoids making announcements at the most unsuitable times like the last bloke did. He seemed to have a habit of waiting until the ball was in either box to announce the crowd. So annoying.”
Some fans believe that the new announcer is being unfairly targeted for supposedly being the son of Vice President Spencer Harris.
For example, Fezbob posted: “He's been doing the Welsh announcements for some time. Strangely some had no issue with his performance until they found out who his dad was.”
Rob_the_red was on the same page, saying: “Yep agreed… it's a shame to see prejudices coming out here – the guy is doing a decent job, let him get on with it.”
Welsh speaking announcer?
One issue that fans are particularly passionate about is the use of Welsh in the announcements. Since arriving at the club, Reynolds and McElhenney have been keen to promote Wrexham as a bilingual club, encouraging the use of Welsh as much as possible.
Redpassion.co.uk user Owain Glyndwr was unfussed about the change of the Wrexham stadium announcer, provided the new man on the mic remembers the club’s heritage. He posted: “As long as we have Welsh spoken I'm not really bothered. Whoever we get fans will moan.”
However, others on the site disagreed. MrKipling commented: “To be honest, Welsh never used to be used at The Racecourse when I was a kid in the 70s & 80s, probably as most Wrexham fans don't speak it. I get why the new owners are really pushing bilingualism at the club, but let's be honest, it's catering for a tiny minority. To me, Wrexham play, and have always played, at The Racecourse not Y Cae Ras which seems to be plastered everywhere these days.”
User Redispassion11 agreed, posting “Who cares about the Welsh announcements? We all speak English.”
In the new age of Wrexham, what is clear is that the debates over whether the club is losing its identity will continue for some time to come.