West Ham owners escorted from ground after pitch invasions from fans during heavy defeat to Burnley

There was supposed to be a march against the board which was cancelled this week

Luke Brown
Saturday 10 March 2018 21:58
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West Ham co-owners David Sullivan and David Gold were instructed by stewards to leave the London Stadium directors box early on Saturday evening, as West Ham crashed to a 3-0 defeat at home to Burnley amid a toxic atmosphere and fans invading the pitch.

Referee Lee Mason was forced to consult both managers over whether to abandon the match at one point in the second-half, while the Burnley substitutes allowed several children to sit in their seats to escape fighting in the stands.

Fans began invading the pitch after Ashley Barnes gave Burnley the lead in the 66th-minute, with West Ham captain Mark Noble becoming involved in a physical confrontation with one supporter.

With no stewards on hand to remove the fan, an enraged Noble grabbed him and threw him to the floor.

Two more fans then encroached on the pitch and were led away by West Ham defender James Collins.

Another supporter picked up one of the corner flags, running to the centre circle and planting it into the ground.

After Chris Wood scored Burnley’s second goal fans began attempting to reach the directors box where Sullivan and Gold were sitting. The pair made swift exits to chants of “sack the board”, although Burnley’s directors decided against leaving early on the advice of the stewards, as did Trevor Brooking.

Wood then scored Burnley’s third late on as West Ham lost the match 3-0. The result leaves West Ham 16th in the table, three points above the relegation zone.

The club later released a statement in which they promised to take “decisive and appropriate action” after a “full and thorough” investigation.

Mark Noble rowing with a pitch invader

“West Ham United have immediately launched a full and thorough investigation into the incidents which marred the second half of today's match and are committed to taking decisive and appropriate action,” the statement said.

“An emergency meeting has been called with all London Stadium stakeholders. There will be no further comment at this time.”

The Premier League also released a statement, in which they said they “will be asking [their] own questions” about the numerous breaches of regulations during the game.

The Premier League also released a statement

“It is essential that everybody who plays or attends a Premier League football match can do so safely,” the statement read.

“There is no place at any level of the game for what happened at the London Stadium today.

“While the official investigation of the incidents will be carried out by the Football Association, we will be asking our own questions of West Ham United about what happened this afternoon, especially to ensure similar events never reoccur.

“We would like to commend referee Lee Mason and his team of officials for their actions which, combined with the cooperation of players and coaching staff from both Clubs, enabled the match to be completed.”

James Collins clashed with one supporter

West Ham manager David Moyes called for the club's fans to get behind the team after the ugly scenes.

“We want the supporters behind us, but you can't cross the line and come onto the pitch,” Moyes told Sky Sports.

“I don't think I've been at football games in my time where I've seen that. All I'll say to all of them is that we need them. We're fighting for points. We're all in it. The players know we did well today for long periods. We didn't do so well for a couple of minutes in the second half. We needed the supporters with us in a different way.

“All I ask for is that everybody sticks together and we try to get ourselves enough points to make sure we're a Premier League team (next season).”

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