WEST Ham United's matchday announcer Jeremy Nicholas has quashed rumours that he had been sacked by the club.

Speculation surrounding his future surfaced after the award-winning TV and radio broadcaster was absent from the Hammers' Premier League opener against Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

One group of supporters even set up a petition to reinstate the popular Nicholas – but fears of his demise had been greatly, in fact erroneously, exaggerated.

In fact, the former BBC presenter had stood aside while the Irons tried out a new audio-visual presentation before and during the hosts' 2-1 win.

In an open letter published on the fans' website West Ham Til I Die, Nicholas explained the situation.

“The club have been working hard to improve the whole match day experience, with more use being made of visual images,” he explained.

“One innovation this season is the reading of the team sheets using players images on the big screens.

“You may have seen the sticker book format of West Ham players, with the screen zooming in and out on the players as their names were read out.

“I thought it looked great on Saturday.

“To ensure this worked smoothly, ADI, the firm who run the screens asked to bring in their own announcer and sound engineer and have them sit in the box with them.”

While engineers from broadcast specialists The ADI Group – who also provide the matchday entertainment at Aston Villa – worked to perfect the experience at Upton Park, Nicholas himself relaxed in the stands.

“I was happy to give way and the club gave me great seats in the stand,” he added.

The club's new matchday entertainment programme will mean fans will hear less of Nicholas, he explained, with more focus on the big screens and televisions dotted around the Boleyn Ground.

But despite seeing his workload lightened, Nicholas admitted less may be more for some members of the Irons faithful.

“The matchday format is moving towards more screen information and less from the announcer.

“I’m sure this is a good thing as the last thing most fans want is to be bellowed at,” he joked.

Any supporters with suggestions as to how the club could improve the matchday entertainment experience should email their ideas to matchday@westhamunited.co.uk