Mr Moon Has Left The Stadium, by Jeremy Nicholas

 

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The Independent Culture

A versatile chap, Jeremy Nicholas. A prolific radio and television broadcaster on everything from news to sport to country music, he is also an after-dinner speaker and voice of the announcer for the computer game Fifa 11 and its predecessors.

Which gives a clue as to his main passion; working as the match-day announcer for his beloved West Ham United for the past 13 years. In that time he has, in the words of a fellow Irons fan, the comedian Phil Whelans, "had to deliver more bad news than Kate Adie", but by and large he plays his reminiscences for laughs, and with a dry, self-deprecatory wit has succeeded in producing a very funny book.

The behind-the-scenes details of the work involved as an announcer are illuminating, but it's the characters encountered along the way that provide most of the mirth. He has been pinned up against a wall by an irate Gordon Strachan, had to conduct an expletive-filled interview with a well-refreshed Ray Winstone, endured Alan Pardew's loony suggestions about pre-match entertainment, and still come back for more; indeed, his most harrowing experience was being briefly sacked from his match-day duties in the name of change before being restored a few months later.

Along the way he also reveals why "I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles" came to be the club's anthem, what the West Ham trophy room contains, and why Betty the tea lady refuses to give chocolate biscuits to a certain referee.

As for the identity of the mysterious Mr Moon, who enters and exits the Boleyn Ground seemingly at random throughout matches, I'll leave you to work that out; suffice to say that he's a thoroughly alarming fellow.

Published in paperback by Biteback, £12.99

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