Out of control - Hammers face FA punishment after home fans run riot

Sports | Mar 12, 2018
West Ham face a Football Association probe after the troubled club's owners David Gold and David Sullivan were forced to flee their seats when furious fans ran riot during shameful scenes at the London Stadium.

Several West Ham supporters invaded the pitch during the 3-0 English Premier League defeat against Burnley, while hundreds of fans gathered beneath the directors' box to protest against Gold and Sullivan.

Fans made throat-slitting gestures while missiles were seen to be thrown in the direction of the executive seats amid chants of "sack the board" and "you killed our club".

On the pitch, the toxic atmosphere boiled over after West Ham captain Mark Noble grappled one fan to the floor and teammate James Collins marched two others away. Burnley's coaching staff let children shelter in their dugout to avoid being caught in the chaos that left police investigating two allegations of assault.

West Ham said an emergency meeting had been called with all London Stadium stakeholders, which includes Gold and Sullivan, whose decision to uproot the club from Upton Park to Stratford has caused resentment.

The east London club, currently just three points above the relegation zone, could be hit with a heavy fine or even forced to play matches behind closed doors as punishment for the disturbances.

"It is essential that everybody who plays or attends a Premier League football match can do so safely," the Premier League said. "There is no place at any level of the game for what happened at the London Stadium."

West Ham manager David Moyes understood why tempers had frayed, but condemned the ugly scenes. "As a supporter you can't cross the line. You can't come on the pitch. That's the rule," Moyes said.

Noble admitted the situation was out of control.

"I'm a West Ham fan and I've always protected the club. But if someone approaches me, I'll protect myself," he said of his clash with the fan.

"It's been like this for the past two seasons, since we moved to this stadium. Every time we lose we and the board get a lot of stick. It seemed today that the fans had had enough ... The atmosphere was horrible."


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March 2018