SOME people have the strangest Saturday jobs. Like dressing up in a large furry costume and cavorting around on the side of a football pitch.
You may or may not know that over the last month, Wrex the Dragon - the crazy, charismatic mascot at the Racecourse - has emerged out of hiding. He made a couple of appearances in August, but disappeared in September. Now he's back.
Wrex was the brainchild of ex-WFC commercial manager Christian Smith. The previous mascot, Rockin' Robin, had been a massive cult figure, but Smith, in association with former director Geoff Farrell, was keen to trade more on the club's Welsh identity. Hence the change of nickname from Robins at Dragons, and hence the birth of Wrex.
The person who has volunteered to wear the garish red outfit until the end of this season does not wish to be named. However, I can reveal that he is 31 and a lifelong Wrexham supporter; and as a member of the Manchester Reds supporters club, he does a round trip of 110 miles every time he visits North Wales for a match.
All week, my Mancunian friend has been training hard for his appearance at the Bournemouth game this afternoon. Nevertheless, I did manage to grab a quick word with him:
Q: How and why did you get involved as the mascot?
A: "It all started last year when my wife made an off-the-cuff remark about how funny it would be if I put the outfit on. Then, this season I brought my daughter to the Racecourse and she was excited to see Wrex; on another occasion, when there was no Wrex, she was a little disappointed."
Q: How does it feel to be dressed in a huge red suit for 90 minutes?
A: "It is quite hot and restrictive, and it gets worse if you wear the claws! I normally just do the first half and the half-time interval."
Q: What is the policy of Wrexham FC regarding mascots?
A: "As long as you don't do anything illegal, the club encourages you to walk around, see the kids and get involved. They have been very supportive."
Q: What are your instructions on matchdays?
A: "Don't encroach onto the pitch during the game, don't aggravate the away fans and don't make any obscene gestures."
Q: Do you get paid?
A: "No, but you can watch the game, or what's left of it, for free."
Q: What do your friends and family think of your new job?
A: "There was disbelief and amusement at first; then admiration for being brave enough to do what I do in front of 3,500 people!"
Q: What is the general reaction of supporters to Wrex on matchdays?
A: "It has been fantastic apart from the odd comment, which I suppose you expect. Overall, it has been excellent and the fans have been full of encouragement, even singing Wrex's name."
Q: How do you think Wrex compares to Rockin' Robin?
A: "Rockin' Robin was great - a one-off for all generations and loads of fun. Wrex appeals more to the younger fans but will hopefully win over the older generation in due course."