London (AFP) – Premier League strugglers West Ham were left facing disciplinary action after angry fans repeatedly invaded the pitch during a 3-0 loss at home to Burnley on Saturday that left them just three points above the relegation zone.
A week that had already seen a planned protest march by fans against the club’s board called off as West Ham supporters’ groups fell out with each other descended into chaos at the London Stadium, with stewards failing to intervene on several occasions.
Ashley Barnes had just given Burnley the lead early in the second half when a fan ran unchallenged onto the pitch before Hammers captain Mark Noble shoved him to the ground.
As that supporter ran back towards the stands two more came on, with home defender James Collins eventually ushering them away.
Burnley’s second goal, scored by Chris Wood, prompted the most furious reaction, with hundreds of fans charging along the concourse of a stadium they detest to gather under the directors box and chant “sack the board” and “you destroyed our club”.
Once more the stewards were seemingly powerless to intervene except to ask West Ham joint-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, whose decision to quit the east London club’s longstanding Upton Park ground for a move to what was the 2012 Olympic Stadium is a source of some fans’ fury, to leave their seats, seemingly for their own safety.
The fixture came close to being called off but, after a couple of delays, was played to a finish and afterwards Hammers manager David Moyes told the BBC: “We want the supporters behind us, since I’ve been here they’ve been really good. But you can’t cross the line and come on the pitch.
“A lot of my players did well with the way they acted.”
The former Everton and Manchester United manager added: “We still have plenty of games, we are good enough and we will be out of the bottom three come the end of the season. I’m confident we have the players here.”
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