Filed: Monday, 9th December 2013
By: Jeremy Nicholas
Iím offering to return as West Ham United announcer for no fee, because Iím so worried about the situation in which we find ourselves. We need to make the Boleyn Ground a fortress again.
After sixteen years as the stadium announcer I resigned after the Stoke game in August, as the club reduced match day costs. My fee was cut by sixty percent and I decided to hang up my microphone as a matter of pride.
Since I left, the club have taken just four points out of a possible fifteen at home. The atmosphere in the ground has been awful.
I stayed away at first, as I couldnít get a ticket.
But Iíve been back for the Chelsea, Manchester City and Fulham games.
I sat in the West Upper for Chelsea and and was shocked. There was no singing around me and from what I could see it was quiet in most parts of the ground. It did pick up in the later stages of the game when the Sir Trevor/Alpari corner started a chant that picked up around the ground.
But bearing in mind we were playing against one of our biggest local rivals, I thought it was a very quiet game.
West Ham fans are not usually like that. Some of the quiet ones left early. Once theyíd gone the hardcore fans seemed to find their voice. Even though we were losing, we ended the game loud and proud. It was like the Villa Park semi-final against Forest in 1991 all over again. Iíd like to galvanise that core support.
Weíve always prided ourselves on being a noisy ground that inspires our players and intimidates the opposition. We use to tease Arsenal about the respectful silence at ĎHighbury the Libraryí, but if Iíd taken a few textbooks along to our last few games, I reckon I could have got a fair bit of revision done, with little distraction.
Our away support is as magnificent as ever. The travelling West Ham fans at Anfield were in great voice at the weekend, even though we havenít won at Liverpool for fifty years.
Over the past sixteen years Iíve helped mastermind some terrific home atmospheres, particularly that play off semi-final against Ipswich, when the Boleyn Ground shook it was so noisy.
Recently fans of the Seattle Seahawks broke the Guinness world record for the loudest stadium, measuring like a magnitude 1-2 earthquake. I would like us to be sending shockwaves from an epicentre at Upton Park.
So Iím offering my services free of charge, to help raise the noise and rebuild Fortress Boleyn. Lots of fans have contacted me and asked if Iíd consider a return. So after a lot of thought Iíve come to the following conclusion:
As a professional speaker I canít accept a sixty percent pay cut, because it just doesnít seem right.
But as a fan of West Ham United since the age of six, I canít bear to sit in the stand and watch as we throw away our home advantage. So Iíve come up with the idea of doing it for free.
My business manager and my wife think Iím mad, which is no surprise because they are the same person. My fellow professional speakers think Iím mad, because as business models go, the free option isnít a great one. But my West Ham supporting friends fully understand why I feel I canít just sit and do nothing. If Iím going to be up in the stands shouting, I might as well have a microphone in my hand and sit in my usual seat at the back of the dugout.
I have sixteen years of experience to offer. Iíve not been around as long as George Sephton at Anfield or David Hamilton at Craven Cottage, but Iím a well-known voice in the Premier League and also as the stadium announcer on all the FIFA video games from FIFA 06 up to FIFA 14.
THE SPEAKER SPEAKS: Jeremy at the Boleyn Ground in happier times
Iíve worked under six West Ham managers so far. Seven if you count Avram Grant! Iíve also worked with caretaker managers Sir Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keen and now Iím offering my services for free to Big Sam.
Sam Allardyce has done great things at the club. He won us promotion at the first attempt and consolidated our position in the first season back in the Premier League. This season heís had awful luck with injuries to vital players that have proved crucial.
But thereís lots of cause for optimism at the club with the emergence of Ravel Morrison, holding onto quality players like Mo Diame and signings like Andy Carroll and Stewart Downing. Weíve shown we are no longer a selling club, but we need to hang on to our Premier League status at all costs.
Thereís no need to panic. Once Andy Carroll is back and Winston Reid returns, weíll be in great shape. But in the meantime we have to get the home crowd rocking.
So the offer to return for no fee is on the table. If the club want to take me up on it, Iíll be delighted to help.
Come on you Irons!
(stadium announcer 1998-2013)
* Jeremy may also be found at JeremyNicholas.co.uk.
Please note that the opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, nor should be attributed to, KUMB.com.
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