It’s ironic that, in a week when fans’ attention has been on a series of rather unsavoury characters in connection to the ownership of the club, one of the most decent men ever connected to Wrexham FC has died.
Des Jones wasn’t just a PA annnouncer, but what a PA announcer he was! His distinctive voice was a key part of the Racecourse experience for three decades of supporters. His clear enunciation, dry wit and ability to judge a situation singled him out as a true original. He managed to imbue a trip to The Racecourse with a sense of warmth that is hardly present now, as we find ourselves in a pitch battle to maintain its future.
Don’t expect me to be capable of paying an appropriate tribute to Des. I knew him from traipsing as a young whippersnapper across the pitch before every game in order to get the teams from him for the hospital radio team. He was always charming-in fact charming is the word that springs to mind when I think of him. He would make sure he took time to chat to me, and was the sort of chap who would go out of his way to say hello if he spotted me. But like I said, I can’t do him justice. Just look at the terrific tributes paid to him on Red Passion for a better indication of how he touched people.
His announcements were an intrinsic part of the Racecourse experience. It must be hard for younger fans to imagine such homely pleasures being part of going to a football match.
I’ve always been a little embarrassed that The Leader put the strapline “The Voice of the Fans” on my Friday column. That’s never been true. Des Jones, on the other hand, always has been and always will be the voice of the fans, the voice of The Racecourse and the voice most beloved by a generation of Wrexham supporters.