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My Experience doing some stadium announcements at West Ham vs Anderlecht

By Nicolas Drummond

West Ham faced Anderlecht in the conference league on the 13th of October at the London Stadium. The hammers had won 1-0 in Belgium the week before and were already assured to move on to the next round of the competition. As for every home game for West Ham, I went to the ground to work as a family liaison officer, taking care of the team’s families and guests before, during and after the game. The West Ham staff had already asked me in the past to help with translation for French speaking players in the West Ham squad. For instance, I had to help the Nanny of Issa Diop’s children with translation as she did not speak French. Furthermore, for most European games against French speaking teams, staff would ask me to help for translation purposes. Last season in the Europa league I translated a conversation between the Lyon owner Jean Michel Aulas, and the West Ham owner David Sullivan.
However, for this game against Anderlecht it was a new experience for me, as I started working, one of the staff people asked me if I was comfortable with doing some translation and stadium announcements in French for the Anderlecht fans. The club had found a Dutch translator but not a French one, and Anderlecht is based in Brussels where the population speaks both French and Dutch. I accepted the offer and saw it as a great opportunity. The security team had already prepared a translated message for the Anderlecht fans for me to read out and after reading it I thought I was done.
Little did I know, after the final whistle, some away fans started fighting with security and ripping seats apart to throw them on the Stewarts along with nearby West Ham fans. As reported by Sky Sports, four police officers were injured, and one man was arrested. That’s when I was called up to quickly translate a message to try and ease the tensions in the away end, which is what you can see in the video bellow.

The message I had to translate was: ‘Anderlecht fans your attention please, there will be a short delay before you can leave the stadium, this is for your own safety. If you require to use the toilet, please reach to a police officer or a steward’.
I had no real experience in translating, so I was really stressed as the clock was ticking and I had to quickly translate the message they had written in English. The stadium was almost sold out, meaning over 60 000 people could hear me, which added on the pressure.
In the end, things started to settle down, after I had to read out the message three times.
It was truly a wonderful experience, and I am grateful towards West Ham United for giving me the opportunity to do this, and I am looking forward to other experiences like this.


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