Brawls mar West Ham's win

Stewards struggling to contain fans of West Ham and Chelsea at the London Stadium. Both clubs have promised to give life bans to supporters found guilty of wrongdoing.
Stewards struggling to contain fans of West Ham and Chelsea at the London Stadium. Both clubs have promised to give life bans to supporters found guilty of wrongdoing.PHOTO: REUTERS

Hammers condemn unruly fan behaviour, which clouds finest moment at new home

LONDON • England's Football Association has announced an inquiry into the violence that marred Wednesday's League Cup tie between West Ham and Chelsea at the London Stadium.

Both clubs have also promised to ban for life any supporters found guilty of wrongdoing after trouble flared towards the end of the 2-1 victory for West Ham.

In scenes that were a throwback to the hooliganism that blighted English football at the end of the last century, bottles and coins were thrown, seats ripped up and stewards struggled to control rival fans seeking to confront each other.

There was also violence outside the stadium, the centrepiece of the 2012 Olympics, where riot police intervened as supporters clashed on their way back to the London Underground.

Yesterday the FA confirmed it had launched an investigation and will assess the evidence after talking to both clubs. A statement from the EFL, the competition's organiser, said: "The EFL condemns the behaviour of the small minority of fans involved in the disturbing and unwelcome incidents."

Police said seven arrests were made.

  • ENGLISH LEAGUE CUP

    QUARTER-FINAL DRAW

    Liverpool v Leeds (II)

    Manchester United v West Ham

    Hull v Newcastle (II)

    Arsenal v Southampton

    Premier League clubs unless stated

    II: Second-tier League Championship

"Whatever happened, we are totally against it, as a club. For those kind of things to happen, especially in England, is unacceptable," said West Ham's manager Slaven Bilic after the match. "It was extremely disappointing to see the disturbances at the end of this game and we condemn such behaviour."

Likewise a spokesman from Chelsea reflected the mood of frustration and disgust.

"It was extremely disappointing to see the disturbances at the end of this game and we condemn such behaviour," he said.

Ironically, the violence came after it looked as though the match would be celebrated for the fast, open and exciting football on display. West Ham finally delivered the performance they had wanted to electrify their new stadium with and they put themselves on the right side of the result, too.

They are into the quarter-finals, where they will face Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Bilic's team were impressive. Admittedly they faced a more experimental Chelsea side than the one who so embarrassed United on Sunday, but it was engaging and encouraging.

The West Ham manager said they faced a team who were the present benchmark in excellence and outfought them.

The 45,957 attendance was a club record for a League Cup tie.

Such things demand entertainment of calibre and, given the wide open spaces, what was really required was expansive football.

This is what West Ham delivered.

Chelsea began well but West Ham scored early when Cheikhou Kouyate stretched to reach a cross from Mark Noble.

Manuel Lanzini then poked wide for West Ham and Dimitri Payet saw his free kick well saved by Blues goalkeeper Asmir Begovic as the home side went into the break a goal up.

Moments after the restart, the Hammers went 2-0 up, Edimilson Fernandes firing in from outside the box. Chelsea manager Antonio Conte sent on the big guns in Pedro, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa as Chelsea ramped up the pressure.

Gary Cahill grabbed a 90th-minute consolation to ensure a nerve-wracking finale, but West Ham would not be denied their most satisfying victory to date at their new home.

THE GUARDIAN, THE TIMES, LONDON, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2016, with the headline 'Brawls mar West Ham's win'. Print Edition | Subscribe