Saturday 17 March 2018

Pitch invaders vent fury at West Ham board

West Ham 0 Burnley 3

Mark Noble of West Ham United clashes with a pitch invader. Photo: Getty Images
Mark Noble of West Ham United clashes with a pitch invader. Photo: Getty Images Sportsdesk

Tensions at West Ham reached boiling point during their defeat at Burnley as some fans invaded the pitch while others vented their anger at the board.

A turbulent week off the pitch - which has seen fans cancel a planned protest march, and then turn against each other as a second demonstration was arranged and subsequently shelved - turned toxic. Ashley Barnes had just put Burnley ahead early in the second half when a fan ran into the middle of the pitch, left unchallenged until Hammers captain Mark Noble shoved him to the ground. As that fan ran back towards the stands another two came on and were eventually led away by defender James Collins. It was Burnley's second goal, scored by Chris Wood, which proved the final straw for hundreds of fans, who charged along the concourse between the tiers of the stadium they hate so much to gather underneath the directors' box to chant 'sack the board' and 'you destroyed our club'.

Joint-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, whose decision to uproot the club from its old Upton Park ground to the former Olympic Stadium is behind the anger, are understood to have left their seats for their own safety.

A fourth fan, meanwhile, had planted a corner flag in the centre-circle. Police had to be positioned along the touchline and around the West Ham bench, where more disturbances appeared to take place.

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