To celebrate Black History Month, we have, with thanks to club historian Peter Jones, compiled a list of all players from the BAME community to represent Wrexham AFC during its history. It was then a difficult choice to choose which players to write brief pen pictures about, as we could have picked many more to include.
Football is a sport that is followed by all, and should be an enjoyable experience for all, whatever their racial or ethnic background. Show Racism the Red Card is the UK’s leading anti-racism educational charity and the organisation utilises the high-profile status of football and football players to help tackle racism in society. Their campaign delivers educational workshops to young people and adults in schools, workplaces and at events held in stadiums.
The Show Racism the Red Card action weeks form part of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) 'Football People Action Weeks'.
The Action Weeks aim to unite supporters, clubs, ethnic minorities and communities affected by discrimination, increase public awareness and tackle discrimination in football.
They also challenge discrimination, promote integration values amongst the young and celebrate the input of all individuals that strive to make football a game for all - regardless of who we are, where we are from and what our beliefs are.
Peter Baines was Wrexham’s first black player when he appeared in a war-time fixture in 1943, turning out of 50 times for the Town. Born in Australia, he played for us during the conflict, and then made 6 Football League appearances, scoring 2 goals, when football resumed in 1946. Peter was an inside-forward who also played for Crewe Alexandra, Hartlepools United and New Brighton after leaving Wrexham. Sadly, Peter passed away in 1997 in his native Australia.
Steve Stacey was a full back who made 105 league appearances for Wrexham between 1966 and 1969. He was the first footballer of African American heritage to play professional football in the UK and was certainly a pioneer for black players in this country, also playing for Ipswich Town, Charlton Athletic and Bristol City before heading off to continue his career in Australia.
Joe Cooke was a central defender who joined Wrexham in 1986 from Rochdale, playing in a total of 51 league games and scoring 4 goals. Hailing from Dominica in the West Indies, he captained the team in both legs of the European Cup Winners' Cup tie against Real Zaragoza in 1986, wheen Wrexham lost on the away goals rule following a 2-2 draw at The Racecourse, after a goalless draw in Zaragoza.
Carlos Edwards was born in Trinidad and Tobago, signing for Wrexham in 2000 and going on to make 166 league appearances for Wrexham. He played as both a right winger and wing back, later playing in the Premier League for Sunderland and being capped by his country 92 times, including representing them in the 2006 World Cup finals in Germany.
Dennis Lawrence made nearly 200 league appearances for Wrexham again hailing from Trinidad and Tobago. Big Den was a 6ft 8in central defender who was an extremely popular figure during his five seasons at The Racecourse before signing for Swansea City in 2006. He gained a total of 89 caps for Trinidad and Tobago, representing them at the 2006 World Cup, having scored the vital deciding goal in a play-off with Bahrain, which sealed their place in teh finals.
Manny Smith signed for Wrexham in 2014 as a central defender after impressing on trial. He played in every minute of Wrexham's 61 league and cup games (with 1 goal) during his first season, where his performances earned him the club's Player of the Season award. Manny stayed for two years initially, only to return to the Club in 2017 making a further 53 league appearances before a knee injury forced him to retire in 2020.
Neil Taylor played 75 league games for Wrexham between 2005-10 before signing for Swansea City representing them many times in the Premier League. Neil has represented Wales 43 times scoring against Russia in the European Championships in 2016 as well as Great Britain in the 2012 Olympic games held in London. Neil’s mother was born in India, making him one of the very few British Asians currently playing professional football.
1988-91 & 2003-05
2016 & 2018-19
2014-16 & 2017-20
1999, 2007, 2008