Football: Pen-wielding Hammam under the hammer

Jason Benetto,Niall Edworthy
Saturday 14 August 1993 23:02
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West Ham United. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .0

Wimbledon. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

THE writing was on the wall yesterday as Wimbledon FC in general, and their owner Sam Hamm am in particular, found themselves not for the first time at the centre of controversy. Following what was a bizarre incident even by Wimbledon's standards, Mr Hammam is to be reported to the FA by the police for writing allegedly obscene messages on the walls of the visitors' dressing room before his team's match at West Ham. The home club are also filing a complaint after Mr Hammam admitted writing on the walls at Upton Park.

Billy Bonds, West Ham's manager, said: 'The messages contained absolute filth and Sam Hammam admitted to me that he did it. We have only just buried Bobby Moore, who stood for everything decent in the game. This is an absolute disgrace and I told the police about it.'

Police at the ground are understood to have broken up a heated row between Mr Bonds and Mr Hammam in the changing room just before kick-off. West Ham's chief executive Peter Storrie was forced to abandon a pre-match tour of the ground. He said: 'There were women and children in a group I was taking around and I did not want them to see these disgusting and abusive comments . . .We will make the strongest protest possible to the FA and Premier League.'

Chief Supt Ivan Brown, who was in charge of police operations at the ground, said: 'I have spoken to Mr Hammam and told him that a report will be submitted through Scotland Yard to the Football Association.'

Mr Hammam later defended his action by claiming that it was part of Wimbledon's normal pre- match preparations. He also claimed that the offending words were never intended to be seen by anyone from West Ham. 'I borrowed the pen from a West Ham official after first checking that we could erase the words afterwards.' Mr Hammam said. 'It is something I often do to gee the players up a bit . . . I feel hard done by.'

The incident overshadowed events on the field, which went rather better for Mr Hammam's side. In a scrappy, often ill-tempered first game back in the top flight, West Ham went down to two simple goals by John Fashanu and Lawrie Sanchez and in the process were reminded that they will need as much brawn as brain if they are to succeed in the Premiership this season.

The performance of Dale Gordon was the one feature of the game from which West Ham can take comfort. Much is expected of the winger since his pounds 750,000 move from Rangers over the summer, and yesterday he stood out.

Wimbledon's goals, midway through the second half, were typically uncomplicated. Fashanu poked the ball under Ludo Mik

losko after Sanchez had crossed, and Sanchez himself added the second when his soft header somehow found a route through the kind of goalmouth confusion that only Wimbledon can create.

West Ham (4-4-2): L Miklosko; T Breacker, T Gale, S Potts, J Dicks; T Morley, D Gordon, M Allen, P Butler; C Allen, M Holmes (K Rowland, 43 min). Subs not used: S Jones, G Peyton (gk). Manager: B Bonds.

Wimbledon (4-3-3): H Segers; R Joseph, S Fitzgerald, J Scales, A Kimble; P Fear (D Blackwell, 90 min), R Earle, A Clarke (W Barton, 84 min); L Sanchez, J Fashanu, D Holdsworth. Sub not used: P Digweed (gk). Manager: J Kinnear.

Referee: W K Burge (Tonypandy).

Goals: Fashanu (0-1, 64 min), Sanchez (0-2, 72 min).

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