Jeremy Nicholas has asked if I would post this message on here, which I am delighted to do. There had been rumours that he had been sacked by the club as matchday announcer. He wishes to put the record straight.
I thought I better post on here just to put a few things right. I haven’t been sacked, the club just wanted to try out a few different things at the Wigan game. I was given seats in the stand.
A lot has changed in my ten years as the announcer. My debut was the hostile reception for David Beckham in the opening game of the season after his sending off at France 98. In those days my announcer’s box was a shed in the corner of the West Stand and Bobby Moore. I played in the CDs myself and it was all a very small operation.
Now we have big screens and the announcer’s control room is the glass box by the scoreboard three tiers up in the corner of the Dr Martens and Bobby Moore stand. There’s about eight people based in that room now. They play in the CDs, run the big screens, work the plasmas in the concourse, operate the scoreboard and the digiboards around the pitch. There’s even a final cut pro editing station in there, to cut the highlights packages.
I work from the dug out area on a radio mike which is controlled by my assistant Russell who sits up in
the control box. He’s been playing in the CDs for the last five years. Being down at pitchside gives me a better view of the substitutions and allows me to get a better feel for the noise in the stadium. The control room is double glazed and for safety reasons doesn’t have a window that opens. So it can be hard to gauge stadium levels from in there.
The club have been working hard to improve the whole match day experience, with more use being made of visual images. One innovation this season is the reading of the team sheets using players images on the big screens. You may have seen the sticker book format of West Ham players, with the screen zooming in and out on the players as their names were read out. I thought it looked great on Saturday. To ensure this worked smoothly, ADI, the firm who run the screens asked to bring in their own announcer and sound engineer and have them sit in the box with them. The previous week against Villareal there had been communication problems and I was down on the pitch waiting for images that never happened.
I was happy to give way and the club gave me great seats in the stand. Russell was also offered seats. Watching the game, there were obviously a few teething problems, but that happens when you try new things.
It was very strange when Dean scored those two goals early on. I was delighted when we started the game so well, but felt sad that they were the first West Ham Premiership goals in ten years at Upton Park, that I hadn’t announced. I recognised the voice of Martin Godleman as the announcer on the day. He is a true West Ham fan. You’ll know him from the end of season DVDs and the commentaries on the beam back games. He’s also a friend of mine.
The matchday format is moving towards more screen information and less from the announcer. I’m sure this is a good thing as the last thing most fans want is to be bellowed at.
I’ve had a lot of people email me saying ‘where are you?’ and ‘have you been sacked?’. I’ve kept quiet until now, but I thought I better say something, as I saw a petition had started to reinstate me and all sorts of inaccurate comments were flying about.
I haven’t been sacked. I’m very much part of the announcing team, but it is a team and not an individual any more. I look forward to working alongside ADI this season.
I went on a fact finding mission a couple of years ago for the club to see how ADI operate at Aston Villa. It really is a very impressive set up, with the screens, the music and the announcers all coming under one central control. Curiously, when I went they had three announcers, all called Dave! It was very confusing on talkback- ‘Dave, it’s Dave, can you tell Dave…..’ But the end product was excellent.
The club is always keen to hear your views on the matchday experience. You can email firstname.lastname@example.org. Greg Demetriou, our head of media, canvassed opinions on the club website in the summer and further thoughts are always welcome.
One thing I will say is this: You can’t please all the people all the time. Some people like loud music, some want to be able to chat before a game. Some like the atmosphere to be whipped up, some prefer it to develop naturally. Please bear with the club as we try out some new ideas.
I’m very flexible to changing times. I think we should always be looking to improve. The only two things I would never accept are: getting rid of Bubbles (the song not the bear) and playing music after goals. No, no, no, that’s not what we are about.
I hope to die in this job. Some of you may have wished for that to happen at many games in the past. I know I sometimes let my enthusiasm get the better of me, but that’s just the fan in me coming out. For the many who’ve sent me concerned messages over the last few days, I just want you to know I’m still part of the team on a matchday.
Let’s all get behind the team on the pitch. We’ve got a great squad now. Curbs has turned the club around and when they’re all back to fitness, we’ll have a great squad. And best of all we’re unbeaten this season!
Up the Irons