I’m offering to return as West Ham United announcer for no fee, because I’m 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. 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 couldn’t get a ticket. But I’ve 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.
Bearing in mind we were playing against one of our biggest local rivals, I thought it was a very quiet game. Some of the quiet ones left early and once they’d 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. I’d like to galvanise that core support.
We’ve 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 ‘Highbury the Library’, but if I’d 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 haven’t won at Liverpool for fifty years.
Over the past sixteen years I’ve helped mastermind some terrific home atmospheres, particularly that play off semifinal 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 I’m offering my services free of charge, to help raise the noise and rebuild Fortress Boleyn. Lots of fans have contacted me and asked if I’d consider a return. So after a lot of thought I’ve come to the following conclusion:
As a professional speaker I can’t accept a sixty percent pay cut, because it just doesn’t seem right. But as a fan of West Ham United since the age of six, I can’t bear to sit in the stand and watch as we throw away our home advantage. So I’ve come up with the idea of doing it for free. My business manager and my wife think I’m mad but my West Ham supporting friends fully understand why I feel I can’t just sit and do nothing. If I’m 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.
There’s no need to panic. Once Andy Carroll is back and Winston Reid returns, we’ll 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, I’ll be delighted to help.