West Ham fans singing anti-Semitic chants must be found and banned, says manager Sam Allardyce
Published 27/11/2012 | 10:48
WEST HAM manager Sam Allardyce is confident the West Ham fans who chanted anti-Semitic abuse at their Tottenham counterparts will be rooted out and banned for life.
A section of West Ham fans appeared to mock the stabbing of a Spurs fan in Rome on Sunday during the Hammers' 3-1 defeat at White Hart Lane.
A group of away fans also appeared to mock Jews being gassed during the Holocaust, while chanting the name of Adolf Hitler.
Such actions have enraged Tottenham fans - who have a historic connection with the Jewish community - and the north London club have promised to help find the culprits.
West Ham have already banned one fan for life and Allardyce thinks the cameras in place at White Hart Lane will help locate the other supporters who were guilty of such actions.
When asked if supporters found guilty of such abuse should be banned for life, the West Ham boss told a press conference: "Yes. It's a small minority but at the end of the day a small minority can make themselves heard at football matches if they really want to and we must deal with it.
"The good thing is with security cameras and CCTV cameras, it's difficult for them to get away with it. Hopefully we can pick out those people and punish them in the right way."
West Ham co-owner David Gold has said such actions "will not be tolerated" among the club's support and the Hammers' Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun said he was "embarrassed" by the chanting.
Allardyce himself did not hear the chants during the match, but is now sure a group his fans were guilty of singing offensive songs and is saddened by their behaviour.
"It's very, very disappointing to hear what has been said and done by a small minority of fans. No one condones that sort of behaviour," Allardyce said.
"I don't wish to hear any of that sort of chanting in the game of football anywhere in this country.
"We have to continue to do all we possibly can for it not to happen.
"If we punish the people who have done it in the right way I think we will cut it out and stop it."
The Football Association yesterday launched an investigation into reports of the abuse, while two West Ham supporters were cautioned by police yesterday.
The Community Security Trust, a charity that monitors anti-Semitism, also said it had received complaints from people in the Jewish community following the chanting.
Allardyce refused to be drawn on the matter in the immediate aftermath of the defeat as he said he had not heard the chants.
Today he defended his decision to not speak out sooner.
"I was doing a press conference after the game and had no idea what had happened and what had been said or done," the 58-year-old said.
"I wasn't prepared and didn't want to comment having not heard what went on.
"I don't know how I was supposed to react to something I didn't know anything about.
"You are in a very difficult position. We had just been beaten 3-1 by Tottenham. I wasn't in the best mood. I am not expecting the question.
"I am expecting to talk about football and I am a football manager. I didn't want to comment on it. Now, like everyone else - I don't condone it."
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke, a former number two at Upton Park, said: "There is no place for it (racist chanting) in the game.
"It is sad it is coming out. I went to White Hart Lane with West Ham on a couple of occasions and there was never anything like that.
"That's not so long ago, only two or three years ago, so it's strange now how it has started coming out again.
"It's something we have to jump on and we have to stop."