Saturday, 29 December 2012

Our day on Soccer AM as West Ham Fans of the week

Last Saturday (22nd December 2012) we spent the morning at Sky's Soccer AM's studios in Grant Way, Isleworth next to Heathrow.  Earlier in the week a fellow member of the SAB contacted me on twitter to say he had three spare places on Soccer AM fans of the week and would I and my fellow podcast presenters like to join them. I didn't hesitate and told Ben, (TwistandShout) on twitter we were in.

Sky kindly sent a taxi to pick us at 7.30am Saturday morning. A requirement of the show is all the fans wear matching football shirts with the proper shorts and socks. The club gave us a 20% discount to purchase the pieces that were missing which for me was everything. Still £51 for the whole kit isn't too bad!

We were then met by the producer Ash around 8.30am and asked to get changed in the toilets, no plush dressing rooms or green rooms for the fans of the week on this show. We were asked to wait in a small canteen area while the proper talent rehearsed.

After having our kit checked over by the producers we then signed our lives away by signing our release forms and were given a producer pep talk about no swearing LIVE on TV, nothing offensive and no scratching balls on camera but to enjoy ourselves.

Despite being told by previous guests of the show we would get a breakfast buffet we got nothing. After I protested we were hungry he muttered about budget cuts and gave us the left over bacon sandwiches from the crew. (Nice!)

Next we had our limited rehearsals which consisted of running around the car park in the rain and very waterlogged Astro turf to remember our three different camera positions while bubbles and snow where fired into the air. All very surreal!

We are not allowed to practise penalties as the show's producers insist everyone does them cold turkey to add to the pressure.

After freezing outside for 10 minutes we came back inside to practise our run in and sit down. The original idea was to have bubbles from a bubble machine but this didn't show up on camera so was ditched in rehearsals.

We were then asked by producers to think of five chants for the beginning and after each advert break. We decided to start with Bubbles, followed by Big Sam's Claret and Blue Army, East East East London, Over Land and Sea and finally My Name is Ludo Miklosko

With one minute to go we were arranged in height order, shortest at the front. One advantage in my whole life of being under six foot so I got the bottom right slot in the Luther Blissett stand.

We did our run in at 10.03am sung our west ham songs, laughed at their jokes and added atmosphere on cue when asked to by the producers. All part of showbiz I guess but it is a fun show to watch being made and be a part of.

When our moment of glory came for the car park game it was still raining with at least half of inch on standing water on the Astro turf. We tried our best and 60 seconds is such a short time. So OK we only managed two penalties and League 1 but it could have been so much worst and some fans have seen their teams relegated so we were grateful for small mercies.  It is lot harder than it looks!

Post show we quickly had our pictures taken with the presenters and guests which you can see below then Sky paid for a taxi to the Boleyn ground to watch West Ham v Everton. Shame the afternoon didn't live up to the morning entertainment but it was a day of two halves as the saying goes.

The names of the eight West Ham fans which will also appear in the Manchester United FA Cup programme on 5th January 2013.

Sean Whetstone
George Bucci
Steven Lecocq
Ben Surdeau
Shucong Fu
John Thomson
John Thomson (Junior)
Matt Dynan

Here is a play list of videos from the show on youtube

All of us in the Luther Blissett Stand with Hairy Striker Andy Carroll
     Sean, George, Rocket and Steven

     Myself with 4 time Gold Medal Champion Dave Weir

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