In Review: Mr Moon Has Left The Stadium
Filed: Tuesday, 27th September 2011
By: Staff Writer
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"It's hard enough to pronounce names properly, without being half-cut..."
Jeremy Nicholas, as the vast majority of our readers will already be aware, is the stadium announcer at the Boleyn Ground. Having supported West Ham United FC since childhood, the otherwise DJ/presenter/reporter landed the job of his dreams in the summer of 1988 - and barring a brief interlude when he was fired by former 'CEO' Scott Duxbury in 2008, has been there ever since.
MMHLTB - as it shall be referred to from hereon - is described in its accompanying press release as "the hilarious tale of one man's obsession with football and doing things the right way" - and for once, the publisher's blurb is absolutely spot on.
Nicholas' tale is spread over an impressive 300+ pages - great value for the tenner it will cost you - and covers the 13-year period since he was first offered the job by former Hammers MD Paul Aldridge in 1998. An impressive feat, meaning that he's been in the job just a year less than KUMB.com has been around.
So like us, Nicholas has 'worked' under no less than seven of West Ham's 14 full-time managers - nine if you include temporary custodians Trevor Brooking and Kevin Keen. Unlike the vast majority of them, he's still here to tell the tale.
Although the central theme of MMHLTS is obviously based on his job as West Ham United's announcer, Nicholas flirts briefly with the kind of ground well covered in the past by writers such as Nick Hornby (Fever Pitch) and Robert Banks (Irrational Hatred Of Luton) by regaling the reader with details of his personal life and relationships.
Each season since his inaugural campaign in 1998/99 is summarised by a 'three-legged stool review' - a leg each to cover the fortunes of West Ham, his career and his relationship status. All three have wobbled in various directions during that time, although at least one was fixed for good when he married wife Jeanette in 2006 - at the Boleyn Ground.
What also becomes quite clear as you progress through the 70-odd chapters is that Nicholas has a huge respect for tradition. His refusal to even acknowledge suggestions for the horror that is music after goals - or other, even more hair-brained schemes (see the chapter devoted to Alan Pardew's three-fingered American-style crowd quiz which is met metaphorically by two in return) - is refreshing and will no doubt strike a chord with the majority of Hammers fans.
Not that Nicholas is looking to please us, his employers or his peers; he speaks candidly about his relationship with the likes of the aforementioned Pardew and Duxbury, both of whom he found it difficult to work with at times - whilst his anecdote regarding the time he was pinned up against the wall by an irate, miniature foe in the guise of Gordon Strachan is, as the publishers rightly say, 'hilarious'.
The writing is sharp yet warm, whilst the jokes and witty one-liners flow continuously - as you would perhaps expect from someone who's based their entire career on entertaining the rest of us. In summary, MMHLTS is a great read that will keep you entertained throughout.
For an Ayrton, you can't really go wrong.
* To read our recent interview with Jeremy Nicholas in which he talks about MMHLTS, click here.
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