‘It was just carnage’

11 May

Media captionManchester United’s coach was attacked on the way into Upton Park

Tuesday night saw West Ham United’s last match at the Boleyn Ground ahead of the team’s move to the London Olympic Stadium next season.


What started as an evening of celebration in East London turned ugly as the coach carrying their opponents, Manchester United, was pelted with objects.

Kick off was delayed and fans were charged by police horses, and the club has said it will issue life bans to those found responsible for the attack.

Two eyewitnesses describe how their evening turned ugly.

Media captionHorses are used to police West Ham fans outside the Boleyn Ground ahead of the club’s last game at the stadium

An eyewitness, who doesn’t want his real name used, tweeted from his account, @LondonLMKs . He filmed the video above and saw the scene degenerate from fans singing Twist and Shout and partying in the street.

“My brother and I went along to get a programme for my dad who’s a West Ham fan. We walked down to the ground. We went to Nathan’s Pie Mash and Eels to get a picture, too. We walked past the Boleyn Pub, there were between 2,000 and 3,000 fans there.

“It was bizarre the road wasn’t closed. The Manchester United team bus was going past. It took two minutes to go a couple of hundred yards. I thought it would be the West Ham coach – greeted like heroes.

“Some guy got up on a car and started chanting, then people started throwing objects. If they ban everybody who was throwing something, they’d have to ban hundreds of people.

“Policing was awful. Afterwards, there was a police charge. Horses charged into the crowd. It was just carnage. I’ve never seen that before. The police horses charged down the road from The Boleyn pub. Fans split, then jumped back in the road.

“It turned the atmosphere from kind of happy to aggressive.”

“West Ham fans will be disgusted with this behaviour”

David Pitchford, a regular at the Boleyn Ground for 20 years and a West Ham season ticket holder, says those responsible should be banned for life.

“I got to the ground around 7pm. As I walked down Green Street there seemed to be people who did not look like normal supporters.

“Lots of people were standing around, not going to the ground, in a mood to celebrate. I suspect some people just came along to party, some just to cause trouble.

“There was a very small police presence. Much less than usual. At some games you have vans all the way down Green Street.

“West Ham fans will be disgusted with this behaviour. Last night was so special for us, saying goodbye to our ground. Inside the ground, it was great, apart from the delayed kick off. Great game, a win against Manchester United and a fabulous end to the evening.

“Someone needs to review this, so that it can never happen again. I don’t think any West Ham fan would countenance something like this.”

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