'We all follow the West Ham'

Wes Durham is more used to watching players score touchdowns than goals.

As the Atlanta Falcons' play-by-play radio announcer, Durham's voice is instantly recognisable to fans of the Georgia-based NFL team, wherever they are in the world.

On Sunday, the man known as the 'Voice of the Falcons' was at Wembley Stadium to commentate on his team's heart-breaking 22-21 defeat by the Detroit Lions.

Twenty-four hours earlier, however, Durham had an altogether more enjoyable sporting experience by attending West Ham United's 2-1 Barclays Premier League victory over Manchester City.

West Ham TV caught up with the 48-year-old during his visit to the Boleyn Ground.

"I've always wanted to catch a Premier League match and you guys were good enough to connect with me on social media, so it's fun for me to see a match at the highest level," Durham began. "To boot, I got to see a very good match with West Ham and Man City."

For Durham, watching live sport is nothing new. His father Woody was the 'Voice of the Tar Heels', commentating on University of North Carolina games for four decades, and it was natural for the Greensboro-born Wes to become a sportscaster himself.

"I've been very fortunate because I have spent the last 27 years commentating on American college football and basketball on radio. The last couple of years, I've also been lucky enough to move into television, and for the last eleven years I've done the NFL on radio with the Falcons.

"It's been an unbelievable experience and I'm very blessed to be a part of it. I've been fortunate. This has taken me to some remarkable places, including Upton Park, and had the chance to interact with some unbelievable athletes."

In England, fans listen to football matches on either national or local radio stations, but in the United States the clubs and universities themselves appoint broadcasters to cover their games on radio and television.

While the result may be a more biased commentary, the role of the 'Voice of...' is a highly-coveted one among American radio sportscasters.

"I have been associated on the collegiate level with five different schools [universities], including where I went to university at Elon in North Carolina. I covered their basketball games while I was still in college. After graduating, I started working professionally for teams at all levels, from smaller schools to major American colleges to the Falcons, who are an NFL franchise.

"It's very different to what you have here in the UK, where you have a pool of announcers who cover matches and they rotate from one game to the next depending on what the game might be. That's very similar to what we have on television in the United States, where they follow that format in college football, basketball, the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball.

"I find it interesting because there are some commentators from the UK working in the US, like Ian Darke, who have become incredibly popular with American sports fans. That's been fun to see, as well."

Wes Durham at Wembley with Detroit Lions star Calvin Johnson

The advent of online radio apps means Durham can also be heard by exiled Falcons fans living all over the United States and beyond.

"It's amazing how it happens, because the technology today means fans can follow NFL and college games on the radio anywhere in the world. Satellite Radio has become very popular in the United States, while the gameday apps you can get for tablets and smartphones are incredibly popular too.

"What it does is it connects me as the Voice of the Falcons, or any other commentator, to the fan. With the Falcons, we have discovered fans all over the United States and internationally. We played in Canada last year and we have fans there, while I'm sure we have plenty in the UK too.

"That's very exciting for me and for the franchise as a whole."

As television, radio and regular games at Wembley Stadium have brought the NFL closer to its growing British fanbase - and exiled Americans living in the UK - there is much speculation over the possibility of a team being based in London permanently.

As someone working within the league, we asked Durham for his thoughts on that possibility?

"It would be interesting and I think a team here would be very successful. You would have to have the right location and the right facilities, but if you brought a team here I think it would do something to engage the UK.

"We have had three ballgames here this year and three more next year, but to me I think a permanent team being based here is only a matter of time.

"To caution fans, though, I would say Los Angeles will be addressed before the UK will. Once you see a team relocate to Los Angeles, then I think the UK will be next."