Wrexham AFC’s Lucky Commentator

Here’s my column from last week’s Leader. It forms part of the paper’s comprehensive pre-match coverage every Friday, featuring interviews, an in-depth look at the opposition and lots of statistical analysis. All content in the column (c) www.leaderlive.co.uk.

I’ve never really believed in luck, but the last few weeks are making me wonder. The evidence is clear: I’m Wrexham’s lucky commentator this year!

I started to notice my special powers at Southport. You see, when we commentate on matches, it’s normal for two commentators to share half of each period. Usually I’ll take the first twenty two and a half minutes of each half, out of a sense of duty to my co-commentators: when I started out I was often manoeuvred into going first by a more experienced colleague who knew that starting the match was the most tricky shift as you had to immediately identify the opposing players and any unexpected shifts in formation while describing the action. Determined not to do that to my colleagues, I therefore take the least attractive shift for myself, rather naively.

Anyway, by half time at Southport nothing seemed untoward. I’d taken the first shift, during which Jordan White scored, but Southport scored twice when my colleague Ollie was on the mic. So far, so mundane.

By full time, however, I felt I’d detected a pattern. We pulled one back while I was commentating; in fact John Rooney’s penalty was the last kick of my broadcasting stint. I then handed responsibility over to Ollie expecting to see us kick on and win the match. But we lost. When I was commentating it was Southport 0 Wrexham 2. During Ollie’s shift, it was Southport 3 Wrexham 0.

At the time I merely used this information to mock him. If you knew Ollie you’d understand that it’s the only thing to do with him, really. However, as I stood on the platform of Southport station waiting for the train home, I started to reflect on the pattern which was beginning to emerge.

(Actually, that’s not wholly true – most of the time I spent there was consumed by pondering why I was standing on the platform of Southport station waiting for the train home at 630 on a freezing New Year’s Day when I could have stayed at home and been watching a Celebrity Bake-Off spin-off.)

I’d been commentating when Kai Edwards, with pretty much his last kick in a Wrexham shirt, got the last minute winner against Southport in our previous match. That’s the Kai Edwards who was never comfortable getting forwards, hitting it with his weaker foot. It began to dawn on me: am I a lucky commentator?

The way events unfolded over the subsequent matches suggest I am. Admittedly, I was commentating when Woking scored past us, but I also described both of our goals. I was on the mic when Izale McLeod scored the only goal against North Ferriby United, and when John Rooney put the ball in against Chester.

I admit, I also was the man in possession when Chester equalised, but still, my record since mid-December is Wrexham 7 Opponents 2. The score when I’m not commentating over that period of time is Wrexham 0 Opponents 5.

Furthermore, I had only commentated on one goal that Wrexham had conceded in open play in the last seven matches, and nine of the last ten we’d scored before last Saturday.

I wasn’t able to attend the match with Borehamwood, but what happened simply proves that I’m a lucky charm. All three goals were scored during the periods of the match when I wouldn’t be commentating, but who knows what would have transpired if I’d actually been at The Racecourse. An Anthony Barry hat trick in the first ten minutes, I reckon!

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