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Who are 'Alfie Bar Bree' and 'Billy Vunipolo?'

By Paul Smith
Alfie Barbeary is proving a tough name to pronounce (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

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After four consecutive home wins including triumphs over previously-unbeaten Leicester, European Champions Toulouse and high-flying Saracens the Coventry Building Society Stadium should be filled with contentment and positivity.

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However a growing number of Wasps fans are instead taking to social media to voice their embarrassment about the difficulties being experienced by their new stadium announcer.

Long-standing fan Steve who has followed the club home and away for many years is typical of those voicing their opinion regarding some less-than-perfect pronunciations.

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“Is there ANY chance the Wasps microphone man could get the names of players right???” he Tweeted following his club’s latest win against old rivals Saracens.

Wasps used the services of the man widely regarded as the country’s leading stadium announcer, Pete Nuttall, and his production company P10 prior to the start of the current season.

Nuttall also has significant experience of operating at Twickenham and for Northampton Saints at Franklin’s Gardens as well as in rugby league.

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However, he has since been replaced by extremely popular local radio DJ John Dalziel whose connection with the former Ricoh Arena stretches back 15-plus years through his role as Coventry City’s stadium announcer of choice.

Dalziel also takes care of local Elite League ice hockey team Coventry Blaze’s match night experience.

However, he has struggled to get to grips with rugby union’s diverse heritage – with Pacific Islander names in particular causing him plenty of difficulty.

And this has gone beyond a laughing matter for some Wasps fans exasperated by his continual mispronunciations of surnames belonging to some well-known Premiership players.

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“Every match…. Complete amateur hour and makes us look v poor,” Tweeted another fan.

He continued: “It’s mind blowing that they never learn from their mistakes and actually rehearse names before each game even though every match it’s pointed out to them how shambolic it is.”

Another regular Wasps fan pointed out: “It’s actually disrespectful to the players to keep doing it.”

A number of fans then cited recent errors which included some hilarious examples.

“Who the hell is Billy Vunipolo?” asked one of the former Wasps no.8. “A friend of Billy VuniTreborExtraStrongMints,” came a cheeky reply.

Dalziel often responds to Tweets in which he is not tagged – an approach which has brought a mixed response including a heated row from which he eventually deleted his contribution.

“Different away team every week so it’s not a case of ‘keep doing it’ he wrote.

“I go through the list with the production team. Having the surname Dalziel no one ever gets my name right first time. If I get one wrong and I’m corrected it’s sorted. Enjoy the fact we won!”

“If you do go through names with your production team then someone is trying to get you sacked mate …..” came the sardonic reply.

At least he wasn’t there when Wasps played Samoa in a 2015 World Cup warm-up…

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