Jeremy Nicholas Resigns as Match Day Announcer

From Jeremy Nicholas’s website

With great sadness, I have resigned as the stadium announcer at West Ham United after sixteen seasons on the microphone. The club asked me to take a 60% cut in my wages, to less than half of last season’s salary. It’s part of a review of all match days costs, to cut the club’s debt. While I would do anything to help the team I love, this just wouldn’t work for my family and me at this time.

My wife has been diagnosed with Lyme Disease and has been off-work and housebound for the past eighteen months. I have had to stop my freelance work as a BBC TV reporter, to stay at home and look after her. While it was a tough decision for me to resign from West Ham, I had to put my family first. Without the TV work my main sources of income are now as a conference host and an after-dinner speaker.

By committing myself to West Ham for the lower fee, I would have effectively been making a loss on being the announcer; because of the twenty days it ruled me out of speaking work. I understand the decision and realise that we, and I will always think of the club as ‘we’, must be struggling with the debt.

To put it into perspective, I have earned less in my sixteen seasons at West Ham, than many premier league footballers earn in a week. I will always be available to the club in the future if they need me, but I felt now was the time to step down. I’d like to thank all the lovely people I’ve worked with at the club over the past sixteen years. We are in safe hands with David Gold, David Sullivan and Karren Brady who have saved our club from financial disaster. They have had to make some tough decisions. I just wish I hadn’t been one of them.

Most of all I’d like to thank the West Ham fans, who are second to none. If any West Ham fans have need of a corporate host, media trainer or after-dinner speaker, now is the time to ask, because the next few months are going to be tough.

Come on You Irons!_

A very sad day. Jeremy is one of the good guys. Those of you who have read his book MR MOON HAS LEFT THE STADIUM will know how devastated he will be at this turn of events.

UPDATE: Jeremy has written more about this on Kumb HERE . He reveals that his pay was to be cut from £10k a year to £4k.


Alpari Competition Winners: Donna, You Shall Go To The Everton Ball

Earlier this week I launched a little competition for two tickets, courtesy of those nice people at Alpari, for Everton on Saturday. They are Club 100 tickets in the Alpari suite with complimentary food and drink.

I asked: Which West Ham striker from the 1990s was known as the ‘Gypsy from Billericay’?

And in asked you to complete the following sentence: "I think I should win these tickets because……

Well, I can’t believe how many of you entered. In hindsight I wish I hadn’t asked you to complete that sentence because it proved impossible to judge a winner because there were so many which had brilliant reasons. So in the end I narrowed it down to 50 and put them in a hat and drew the winner. The answer to the question was of course, Steve Jones, although quite a few of you thought it was either Stewart Robson or Freddie Eastwood. Anyway, let’s get to the winner. Cue the drumroll…

The winner is Donna Heuerman. This was her entry…

I think I should win these tickets because i have been going to west ham every home for the past 3 years with my daughter. We never go into the ground as its too expensive but my daughter sells wristbands and badges in The Supporters Club to help her brother Jonjo with his fundraising for The Bobby Moore Fund. She knows its too expensive for the whole family to attend the games and never complains. It would be a nice treat for her and a thank you for the unselfish support she gives her brother. She has also just obtained 12 GCSEs grade A to B.

I’m going to ask Donna if she will write up her experience in a guest post. I feel awful that I couldn’t give the prize to all 50 as there were some absolutely brilliant entries – some very emotional some very funny. But in the end there

Thanks so much to Alpari for donating this prize. I hope we can repeat it again soon.

Here were some of the other entries which made the top 50 and went into the hat…

I think i should win these tickets because i still remember Steve Jones walking passed my house with a tesco carrier bag containing his boots and being picked up for Training by Julian Dicks in a Ford Escort…

I think I should win these tickets because I would take my dad, who attended almost every game home and away in the 1970s and introduced me to all things claret and blue in the early ‘90s. He has driven all over the country to take us to West Ham games and this would be a special treat, particularly given there will be even fewer opportunities now to do this at Upton Park.In addition, I have been a season ticket holder for ten years, since I left uni and could afford my own one, and have attended the vast majority of away games in the last couple of seasons. Watching Saturday’s game in style would be a nice contrast to getting absolutely drenched at Newcastle and Southampton in the last couple of weeks!

I think I should win these tickets because apart from the fact that I have never won anything in any competition I have ever entered, I saw Steve Jones play most of his 16 games for the Hammers and to be honest it would be nice to be rewarded for the pain and anguish I suffered!!

I think i should win these tickets because i have only brought my little boy to five west h games in his lifetime and he boasts the proud record of never seeing us lose. Four wins and two draws including 6-0 to brighton 3-1 chelsea. I think we could do with the luck.

I think I should win these tickets because my 5 year old son, Charlie, has never seen the Hammers in the Premier League before (just friendlies) and he’s the only one in his class who likes West Ham. I don’t want him to be converted by the other glory-hunting kids!

I think I should win these tickets because…… I would like to witness our A_ttacking L_ong P_unt in the A_ir style, R_esulting in I_ndifferent displays (ALPARI). Also, having travelled from Telford to the Boleyn as a season ticket for 20+ years, I had to give this up a few years back & would love to get back to see the boys in action once again. COYI.

And finally….


Talking Point

Leyton Orient's Judicial Review Explained

Today Barry Hearn and Leyton Orient will be returning to the High Court to seek a Judicial Review of the LLDC tender process for the Olympic stadium.

It is the second time that Orient have been involved in judicial review proceedings in relation to the Olympic Stadium. Their first legal challenge in 2011 initiated a series of events which ultimately led to the process being abandoned, and a new tender process commencing.

The new judicial review application is a claim relating to that new bid process.

In April this year Leyton Orient submitted a written application for a judicial review to the high court into the bid process but was rejected.

This time Barry hopes a oral hearing debating the issues surrounding the Stadium will allow the review to be granted

The Background to the challenge

All bidders were required to consent to ‘teaming’ when submitting their bids as the LLDC planned to team as many bidders as the event calendars would allow. The purpose of this requirement was to ensure maximum use of the stadium and return to the tax payer.

West Ham agreed to this teaming clause in their bid.

Leyton Orient claim that the LLDC’s decision has left West Ham as the only potential tenant and should of considered teaming with Leyton Orient.

What is a Judicial Review?

A Judicial review is a type of court proceeding in which a judge reviews the lawfulness of a decision or action made by a public body.
In other words, judicial reviews are a challenge to the way in which a decision has been made, rather than the rights and wrongs of the conclusion reached.

It is not concerned with the conclusions of that process and whether those were ‘right’, as long as the right procedures have been followed. The court will not substitute what it thinks is the ‘correct’ decision.

This may mean that the public body will be able to make the same decision again, so long as it does so in a lawful way.

So the judge could make the LLDC review its decision process again but it cannot force the LLDC to make West Ham and Leyton Orient share the stadium.

I have no problem with Leyton Orient as a club and even less problem with the Leyton Orient fans who support their local team through thick and thin but I do have a problem with Barry Hearn. He is like a bad loser who refuses to give in gracefully. I also think it is insulting to suggest Orient fans will switch alliances to West Ham just because we move into the Olympic stadium.

My own personal view is this latest attempt for a judicial review will also be rejected as was the case with the written submission in April but I am sure that is not the last we have heard of Barry.

In what appears to be separate orchestrated campaign, a group of Leyton Orient fans have launched their own bid to prevent West Ham moving into the Olympic Stadium.
The supporters make the claim the move breaks league rules blocking one club moving too close to another. They have contacted football clubs up and down the country in an attempt to get as many supporters as possible behind a campaign.

They have created an online petition which has been signed by over 500 people.

Their Group leader, Mat Roper, an Orient fan for 35 years, says: “We want to highlight how unfair this whole affair is”

I understand that Matt Roper is the brother of Daniel Roper who is the official Leyton Orient club mascot but I am sure that is just a coincidence.


Leyton Orient lose right to Judicial review. At the High Court, Mr Justice Lewis said the LLDC was entitled to make the decision which was not “irrational”.

LLDC statement:

“We welcome the ruling and are pleased that Mr Justice Lewis agrees that we ran a fair, open and transparent competition to appoint concessionaires for the stadium.We believe the agreement we have with West Ham United Football Club and UK Athletics will deliver a fantastic sporting and community legacy in east London and represents the best deal for the taxpayer.” Statement:

“West Ham United welcome the decision to not grant permission for a judicial review into the LLDC’s process that awarded the Club the opportunity to make the Olympic Stadium its home in 2016.Although the application for a judicial review would not have had any impact on West Ham United’s move to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Club have always believed the process was robust, fair and transparent. The Club and other key stakeholders in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park can now focus fully on progressing their groundbreaking plans to create a stunning venue of which the whole country can be proud, alongside a long-lasting and tangible Olympic legacy with a real community club at its core.”

Leyton Orient Statement:

Karren Brady told the House of Lords only a few weeks ago that West Ham United had no objection to a ground share with Leyton Orient, but West Ham United’s barrister today claimed that to ground share would adversely affect the club because the Olympic Stadium is “part of the brand”.

Our real concern is the lack of transparency that has been shown throughout the process by a public body. It is deeply disappointing that both the Court and the LLDC have made decisions based only on financial considerations, when the purpose of the Stadium’s legacy was regeneration of the area with a community focus.

We believe that the LLDC exercised its discretion to favour West Ham United, no doubt under pressure from West Ham United to make them sole football tenants for the benefit of their “brand”. Delivering a new brand to West Ham United was not the intended purpose of the Olympic Stadium, and we now have to look to the House of Lords to find a common sense solution for Olympic legacy and local community.

Sky Sports News Report on the judgement

If you haven’t seen it yet here is Karren Brady and Barry Hearn in front of the House of Lords select committee in July. I am sure we can expect more pantomime from Barry at the high court today.

Barry Hearn at the Select Committee

Karren Brady at the select committee


Upton Park was Rocking

One of the tensest matches I have ever been to was the Quarter final of the FA Cup on the 8th March 1980 against Aston Villa at Upton Park. Unfortunately, the video clip attached below does not, and realistically can not, fully transmit the rising tension inside the ground to what became a white hot fever pitch. It was of course our Cup winning year despite still being a second division outfit. We had already beaten West Brom, Orient and Swansea in the previous rounds and the visit of Villa had everybody full of anticipation of the possibility of a Cup semi final or more?

Villa came to Upton Park in 5th place in the old first division and the Hammers were in 7th spot in the second division. The Hammers were without their inspirational skipper Billy Bonds and lined up as follows; Parkes, Stewart, Martin, Brush, Lampard, Pike, Brooking, Devonshire, Allen, Pearson and Cross. Billy would be back two months later with this same line up, albeit replacing Paul Brush, to win the Cup at Wembley against Arsenal.

The Hammers had a great mix of players in this fantastic team. They had bought Phil Parkes for what was then a World record fee paid for a goalkeeper. Alvin Martin, who had been awarded an apprenticeship six years earlier, a day after QPR had rejected him, was a mere 21 and was to go on to earn two testimonials with West Ham. Ray Stewart at 20, had joined earlier that season from Dundee United and was the most expensive teenage signing in British football at the time. Paul Allen was a mere seventeen and was to go on that year to break Howard Kendall’s record of being the youngest player ever to play in a Cup Final. Frank Lampard (snr), Stuart Pearson and David Cross added experience to the side and of course the best midfield pairing the club has ever seen (IMO), in Brooking and Devonshire, added the guile and silky touches to a balanced team.

The feeling around the ground prior to the game was that we needed to finish the job today. We had a chance at home but if we went to a replay we had little hope. This was a fact born out that with ten minutes to go in the game, Villa fans started singing songs on how easily they would beat us in Birmingham. A heavy shower ten minutes before the game made for a greasy surface but some great football. Early on Devonshire slid a ball into the six yard box for it only to be scrambled away when it seemed easier for Pike to nudge home. A short while later Devonshire himself brought a great save from Villa keeper Jimmy Rimmer as did Alvin Martin with a free header on goal, but basically the first half produced a lot of huff and puff. The final 25 minutes of the second half saw enormous pressure on the Villa goal and it was a constant bombardment from West Ham that eventually took the fans to a delirious frenzy. With each missed chance, goalkeeper save and frenetic clearance the atmosphere in the ground grew from passionate to electric. The countless goalmouth scrambles merely compounded the tension as the feeling mounted that this was not to be our day. Then the pressure valve was finally released in the last two minutes when Villa defender Ken McNaught inexplicably handled the ball in his own area to give away a penalty.

There have only been two penalties where I just had to close my eyes and this was the first. The other was the equalising penalty from the same man, Ray Stewart, a year later in the League Cup final at Wembley. Well, history tells that Ray belted home both those penalties and the one against Villa had many people at Upton Park crying with relief, including me! Both these penalties were in the final moments of matches with so much riding on them. We don’t see Upton Park “rocking” too many times nowadays, but it certainly rocked towards the end of this game. There is some conjecture to Ray Stewart’s penalty record. Unofficially he had 86 attempts and missed ten although he actually scored twice from the ensuing rebounds. I was not there for all of Ray’s penalties but I know I definitely missed two of them!

Talking Point

What West Ham pay Football Agents

Back in 2008 the premier league agreed to publish fees paid to football agents by clubs. This is now published on 30th November each year.

In the past three years West ham have paid £13.2 million to football agents.

In our season in the Championship we may have finished 3rd in the league but we topped the agent fees we paid in the league by a mile! We outspent everyone else in the division with regards to agent fees paid out clocking up £4,314,270 on 69 deals. The closest club to us was Leicester who spent £1,812,371 on 78 deals. Barnsley by comparison spent the least with £124,888 outbound to agents.

In 2009/2010 West Ham spent £3,419,089.99 in agent fees

In 2008/2009 West Ham spent £5,527,548 in agent fees

Mark Curtis

In August last year David Sullivan told the Daily Mail he had no concerns about the continuing close links between manager Sam Allardyce and controversial agent Mark Curtis. Mark Curtis is agent for Sam Allardyce, Kevin Nolan, James Tomkins, Jack Collison, Matt Jarvis and Andy Carroll. Mark Curtis was warned as to his future conduct by the FA in 2008 over his Luton transfer dealings gained fame for the number of deals he did at Bolton while Sam was in charge.

Willie McKay

In the same interview Sullivan confirmed Willie McKay received more in agency fees than Mark Curtis in the summer of 2012. He revealed ‘Mark [Curtis] receives five per cent of the player’s wages over five years, which is a lot of money but the standard rate’. Willie McKay was investigated by Lord Stevens into allegations of bungs in football but was later cleared. He was also arrested in 2007 by City of London police alongside former West Ham manager Harry Redknapp & Peter Storrie but again he was never formally charged and the case was later dropped. Last year he was stopped driving while disqualified with a bag of cocaine in his car.

Barry Silkman

The third agent often involved with West Ham dealings is Barry Silkman who was involved in Demba Ba & Thomas Hitzlsperger arriving at West Ham. He was also instrumental in bringing Ravel Morrison to West Ham from Manchester. More recently he has been involved in the attempt to bring Carlton Cole back to West Ham. Barry Silkman was also named in Quest’s final report into alleged Premier League “bungs”, At the time he said he will not cooperate with the further inquiries being pursued by the Football Association’s compliance unit because he believed they were unreasonable.

In 2011 former agent Peter Harrison admitted to the Daily Mail he freely took advantage of the naivety of the then West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson to pocket £900,000 in commission in the deal to sign Lucas Neill. He claimed that when he took Lucas Neill to West Ham instead of Liverpool he earned £900,000 and we put Neill on £72,000 a week. He said ‘He was going to Liverpool but West Ham wouldn’t take no for an answer. It was incredible. At the time I thought it was just business – I had bills to pay, office, telephone, travel – but when I look back on it now I’m embarrassed. Harrison was Andy Carroll’s former agent who fell out with Mark Curtis over Carroll’s £35M transfer to Liverpool.

Earlier this year just after the January transfer window ended, David Sullivan called for the FA to look into agents’ conduct and cap fees. He said “I can see it spilling over into violence in the future, unless there is legislation from the FA. I had an agent threaten me and one of our players with physical violence, because he thought he was being cut out of a deal.”

Sullivan claimed the financial demands by agents had got out of control adding: "We are talking millions of pounds here around a transfer and not enough deals to go around. There are too many agents and not enough transfers to feed them. Agents who would once demand £50,000 for their part in a transfer now want £500,000 to £1m to either bring a player or keep a player. It is quite outrageous and the FA should cap the amount paid to agents for their work”

I agree with David and think it is staggering how much we pay in agent fees and the power they appear to now have on the game. I would like to see much more transparency with individual transactions published each year. The latest figures will be published on 30th November and with the arrival of Joe Cole, Stewart Downing and Andy Carroll I am sure they will make interesting reading with regards to West Ham’s most recent dealings with these football agents.

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