NO ONE would ever have imagined Disney and Wrexham would be a union but here we are.

The Disney+ streaming platform is home to the Welcome to Wrexham documentary, and the award-winning team have a real knack for finding the people who are the heart and soul of Wrexham AFC.

With its third series currently underway, the show has made a household name of many faces from around Wrexham.

One of the latest is Oliver Stephen, who as a self confessed "solitary person", is a little surprised at the attention since his appearance in episode two of the latest run.


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


Photographer Oliver says of himself in his debut: "I wander around with a camera on match days and photograph stuff."

It's an incredibly humble thing to say. His photos capture very real moments amongst the fans, candid images of the ground and its surrounding, and really resonate with those who follow the club.

The Leader caught up with "Disney's newest princess" to talk about his TV moment, battle with addiction and the unexpected friendships he's made...


Oliver Stephen. Photo by Phil Green Photography

Oliver Stephen. Photo by Phil Green Photography


Oliver, who also works as a library assistant at Wrexham University, hopes his openness about his issues with alcohol and anxiety in the show, will help others facing similar problems.

The 44-year-old said: "I was an alcoholic, and I didn't even know until I quit alcohol by accident.

"I had a couple of health scares and thought I better quit smoking. Back then, every time I had a drink, I wanted to smoke, so I quit drinking for a couple of weeks.

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"It allowed me to see that alcohol had been a coping strategy. I'd been going to different shops so no one would see me in the same place buying alcohol.

"I'd hide bottles in my room so my housemates didn't see them. All the classic signs I wasn't aware of until afterwards."


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


It was his move to Wrexham in 2008 that really saw things turn around.

Oliver originally had hopes to become an oil painter, convinced that was his path. But by the time he finished at Wrexham University's School of Creative Arts, he was making installation and conceptional art.

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He had first dabbled with photography as a teenager during A levels, but doing a fine arts degree he felt "duty bound to do analogue media".

Then while encouraging students through a learning support role after graduating, he finally took his own advice to do what he wanted.


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


He said: "I realised I spent more time with my camera than my sketchbook. It was the thing I liked, the thing I wanted to do."

Eleven years later, and he is still enjoying his documentary-style photography, capturing real life experiences.

This was undoubtedly the work that led to him being approached for Welcome to Wrexham.

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Of his opportunity, he said: "I did a test shoot and just thought it would be amusing but it was really positive.

"It was funny for me to do it, I was exactly what they shouldn't have. I thought 'someone like me doesn't belong in front of a camera'.

"But it was treated like a normal conversation, we just talked, I spoke as I always do.

"It feels surreal, my life isn't important or dramatic. I don't see myself through other people's eyes."


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


Up until the show, Oliver had never been to a match. But his shots from outside the STōK Cae Ras on match day became well known, and he relished documenting the often unnoticed scenes and moments.

He said: "That's what your average person sees. The scenes from the show or anyone with special access, that's privileged positions - from the TV camera or directors' booth. All shiny, clean and Hollywood-ised.

"But your average person in the town sees the club through the gates, the floodlights. Inside they see the crowd in front of them before they see the players.

"And for those 90 minutes, we can forget our differences."


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


Are there any bucket list subjects left for the softly spoken photographer? His choices are eclectic and add to his charm: "There's a New York address that's a mecca for hip-hop fans, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. That would be amazing. And while not a portrait artist, I'd love to take photos of Arnold Schwarzenegger ."

His advice for anyone looking to take up photography or improve on their work is simple: "Just do it. Take photos, it's how you get good."

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His passion for photography saw Oliver joining the Leader Camera Club on Facebook, and it was here he developed some special friendships.

He first met some of the fellow creatives at a group gathering at Erddig, and from there, a group chat began. This group has been a huge positive for Oliver.


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


He said: "I had been commissioned for a job by The Turf, one of the early matches of the season. I was going through a really low point, depressed and anxious, not coping with things.

"I put a message in the camera club group chat if anyone had advice for how to photograph an event you don't feel motivated or confident enough to do.

"And instead of advice, seven of them turned up on the day to go with me, photograph alongside me, talk though stuff.

"I wouldn't be on the show if it hadn't been for them coming along that day.


Photo: Oliver Stephen

Photo: Oliver Stephen


"I can't thank them enough. That's why I love this camera club. There's no arguments, people get better, they help each other.

"We've become a community of friends, and I wouldn't be where I am right now without it."

• For more details about Oliver, visit his website:

• To catch up on the Wrexham AFC story, and of course see Oliver's segment, you can stream Welcome to Wrexham now on Disney+

• If you would like to join the Leader Camera Club, check out the group's Facebook page.