I’ll be taking my autograph book with me on Saturday for the West Ham v Newcastle game.
We have some legendary West Ham players from the sixties, coming down for a chat pitch-side before the game.
The names I’ve been given are Ken Brown, John Bond, Alan Dickie, Alan Stephenson, Ronnie Boyce, Brian Dear, Jack Burkett, Martin Peters, Dennis Burnett, Eddie Bovington and Peter Brabrook.
It’s amazing how many players we had in those cup winning sides of the sixties with surnames beginning with B.
The hard bit for me will be to identify them. I know what they used to look like, but chances are they might not look the same now. For starters I’ve only seen some of them in black and white, and I’m led to believe that they will be in colour on Saturday.
I remember a few seasons back when my guest in the technical area was Alan Devonshire. The curly haired, moustachioed, slim framed wizard of the dribble I was expecting, turned out to be much broader and balder. That’s the trouble with wizards, they can change shape at will.
Just looking at that list, I know Martin Peters of course. I’ve met John Bond and Kenny Brown before. Ronnie Boyce I know, and I sat next to Brian Dear at a game once.
The others I hope will walk out in the order I announce them. If they want to play a trick on me and mix up the order, then I will, not for the first time look a fool.
Still I seem to have made something of a career out of doing daft things. Being the West Ham announcer is not a full time job. I’m only at the ground on match days.
Since the Fulham match I’ve been filming a new series called Collectors.
The highlight is Britain’s top Roy Rogers collector. Dennis has all sorts of Wild West items crammed into his house. He’s a reputable collector but says he does come across a lot of cowboys.
I thanked Dennis for wearing Wild West gear for the filming. Oh, it’s not for the filming, he said, I wear western gear every day. He didn’t flinch when I asked him how he got into Roy Rogers, what was the trigger?
I’ve also filmed with Britain’s biggest badger. I was expecting a large furry animal, but it turned out to be Frank who has 150 thousand button badges. He took some pinning down.
Next week it’s a man with a house full of vintage radios. I hope he’s on my wavelength.
I was filming with 70 year old Brenda the other day. She’s the laundry lady at Leicester Tigers rugby club. One of the players, Boris Stankovich started rooting about in the dirty shorts on the wash room floor. He’d left thirty pounds in his pocket after training. Sadly, Brenda had already loaded his shorts into the washing machine. The burly Kiwi could only wait for his three tenners to come out.
Still it gave me a money laundering gag to end the piece with.
I’ve often given media training to sports people, teaching them how to come across well on TV and radio. I’ve mainly worked with footballers and Olympians, but never rugby players. I don’t know why, but rugby guys always seem to be good talkers.
Even the laundry lady at Leicester gave me a great interview.
The other day I was dancing in the Blue Peter garden at Television Centre with Peter Shilton. It was a background feature on his participation in Strictly Come Dancing. Because he’s so much taller, Shilts was the man and I was the woman. I’ve met him many times at sports dinners, where one or other of us has been the after dinner speaker, but it’s the first time I’ve danced with him. I suspect it will be the last. I didn’t really take to it.
Peter gave me a terrific interview. He reckons his dance partner Erin Boag reminds him of Brian Clough, because she’s a great teacher and gets the best out of him.
Regular readers will know I have a bit of history with Cloughie. I have to admit, I’d much rather have a lesson with Erin.
I’ve become a bit of a fan of Strictly. Who would have thought Felicity Kendall was so bendy?
Head judge Len Goodman is a West Ham fan. I bet his favourite player is Kieron Dyer.
I’m no expert on dancing but I think Anne Widdecombe is unlikely to win the competition. My mate Iain Dale has been known to host stage shows called ‘An Evening with Anne Widdecombe’. I’m hoping Iain will introduce a dance element into future evenings.
Anne has been saved by the public vote. The judges have given her very low scores like threes and fours. The meanest judge Craig Revel Horwood gave her one!
Which was brave.
I’m hoping to get home from the Newcastle game a bit quicker than I did last time. After the Fulham match I finally arrived home at 11.30.
It’s a long story involving Robbie Savage, a monsoon, some environmental warriors, an umbrella, a travel mug and orange feet. You’ll have to visit MrMoonHasLeftTheStadium.com for the whole travel chaos saga. I find blogging about it much cheaper than therapy.
Jeremy Nicholas, October 22nd 2010, London.