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Wednesday 22 November 2017

Video: 'It's very, very scary for players' - Jason McAteer recalls moment brick was flung at him Newsdesk Newsdesk

Last night's attack on the Manchester United team bus brought back some unpleasant memories for former Republic of Ireland international Jason McAteer.

Last night's 3-2 victory for West Ham over Manchester United was delayed for 45 minutes after Hammers supporters fired bottles and missiles at the United coach as it made its way to the Boleyn Ground for the final game at the famous venue.

Footage from inside the team bus, filmed by United winger Jesse Lingard, appears to show the passengers in a relaxed enough state but McAteer was involved in a similar situation and was shaken up by it.

"It was obviously disappointing, I've been involved in a very similar incident myself and it's quite scary," McAteer said, speaking at the launch of the 2016 SPAR FAI Primary School 5s National Finals.

"People are hurling bricks and bottles at a coach window.

"It's very, very scary as a player and it needs to be looked at and addressed. I think the police will come in for some criticism now... maybe it could have been handled differently but then again, you could say Man United needed to leave a little earlier and get inside the ground a little bit quicker.

The 44-year-old experienced a similar incident first-hand when playing for Tranmere Rovers against Hartlepool United in a League One semi-final playoff, when a brick was thrown in his direction.

"I remember playing in a playoff semi-final against hartlepool and coming out of the ground a brick actually got thrown through the coach window," he added.

"I think it was aimed at me but because we were moving it hit the window behind and the guy behind me got it.

"It does happen... bottles and bricks being thrown at coaches. it's not something that happened a lot but it did happen."

West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan had initially blamed the Red Devils for the delay to kick-off, with the Hammers co-chairman saying "if you check the coach there won't be any damage to it".

Those comments were contrary to the images of smashed windows and led Sullivan to release a statement on Wednesday in which he reiterated West Ham's vow to hand down life bans to the culprits.

"If we were to have scripted how our final game at the Boleyn would have played out, it wouldn't have been much different to last night's match," the joint-chairman said.

"The West Ham family then all celebrated our legends and former players together in what was a truly fitting ceremony to say goodbye to our home of 112 years.

"Sadly, the actions of very small minority of people outside the ground prior to kick-off risks overshadowing those celebrations.

"I want to be clear - their behaviour was completely unacceptable and does not represent our club or our values.

"When I was asked about the incident prior to yesterday's game, I was unaware of the damage that had occurred to the Manchester United team bus.

"I want to apologise to Manchester United for that damage and assure them that we will be doing all we can to track down those responsible and ban them for life.

"This morning I have already tasked my senior team to work with the police to identify them as their behaviour belongs in the past and not in a future that promises so much for our great club.

"I truly hope that in due course we will look back on what happened in the stadium rather than what happened outside and remember our farewell to the Boleyn for all the right reasons."

The Metropolitan Police said on Wednesday that four police officers had been injured during the trouble, but no arrests have been made over criminal damage to the coach.

There were also issues inside Upton Park as bottles were thrown at United goalkeeper David de Gea during the match, while another fan invaded the pitch to confront the Spaniard.

Three men were arrested during the game, including a 20 year old on suspicion of affray and a 47 year old and 18 year old for pitch incursion.

Officers from the Met's Central Football Unit are scouring CCTV footage and have appealed for witnesses.

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