David Sullivan says people want West Ham’s new stadium to ‘fail’ and claims reports of trouble ‘sensationalised’
West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has played down the crowd disturbances at Saturday’s home match with Middlesbrough, claiming reports on the trouble have been “sensationalised”.
Supporters were seen confronting each other inside London Stadium and then fighting outside, while footage of violence appeared on social media on Saturday evening.
Three men were arrested in connection with the incidents and bailed pending further enquiries. Two of the three were arrested on suspicion of affray and the third on suspicion of assaulting a police officer.
Police said no injuries were reported during or before the 1-1 Premier League draw, and blamed ”a small minority intent on causing disruption”.
In a West Ham statement, Sullivan said the disturbances were caused by “mindless thugs” and insisted that while all crowd trouble needs to be eradicated, the incidents were not exclusive to the Hammers or London Stadium.
Sullivan also said he feels that there are lots of people who want to see West Ham’s move to their new home fail.
He said: “It makes me angry to read stories this morning sensationalising the events outside London Stadium yesterday.
“A group of mindless thugs with no intention of watching the game came together outside the ground, and three arrests were made.
“I have watched all the videos and as far as I can see, any issues were routine football problems that were dealt with swiftly and safely.
“It is clear that the police were quick and professional in bringing any incidents under control, and although it is something that we must stamp out from football in general, the scenes were certainly not exclusive to West Ham United and London Stadium.
“The overwhelming majority of West Ham United and Middlesbrough supporters behaved absolutely impeccably, which is something that seems to get forgotten time and time again.
“I get the impression that there are lots of people out there who want to see the migration to our new stadium fail, and will take every given opportunity, big or small, to knock what we are trying to do.”
Saturday’s incidents, which came after mid-match chants of ”we should have stayed at the Boleyn”, were not the first since the club’s move from Upton Park to the one-time Olympic Stadium at the start of the season.
Ten fans were ejected during last month’s 4-2 home defeat by Watford, when both stewarding and segregation was widely criticised.
West Ham have pushed for a police presence inside the ground but it is the responsibility of stadium owners E20 to meet the financial cost under the terms agreed when the club became anchor tenants.