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Monday 17 December 2018

Brooking slams lack of security amid Irons crisis

FAN-GRY: West Ham United’s Mark Noble clashes with a fan who has invaded the pitch during Saturday’s defeat to Burnley at the London Stadium. REUTERS
FAN-GRY: West Ham United’s Mark Noble clashes with a fan who has invaded the pitch during Saturday’s defeat to Burnley at the London Stadium. REUTERS

Trevor Brooking has admitted West Ham's security situation could be "out of control" after the ugly scenes which marred the club's 3-0 home defeat to Burnley at the London Stadium on Saturday.

The Hammers are facing an investigation by the English FA after a series of pitch invasions and widespread fan unrest, with Brooking confirming the club's co-owner David Sullivan was struck by a coin towards the end of the game.

And the former Hammers player and manager believes the club's stewarding - which is provided externally via the stadium operators E20 - needs a radical overhaul in order to avoid more unrest in the future. Brooking said: "There weren't sufficient stewards and they couldn't really cope with what was sometimes going back to the bad old days of 25 years ago.

"The club are obviously going to have to look at things with the local police and make sure that trained stewards and police are in place - you're almost looking at it and saying, 'this is out of control'.

"A lot of the stewards who are on duty on matchdays are not West Ham people - they're actually stadium people and sometimes until they get a job there haven't had any experience dealing with football crowds. They were quite young and couldn't deal with the aggression they were faced with."

Brooking cut a dejected figure sitting alone in the directors' box towards the end of the match, and revealed Sullivan and co-owner David Gold were among those asked to leave the area for their own safety.

"I think a coin did hit David Sullivan, his glasses," said Brooking. "I didn't see it myself but I did have that confirmed, which was part of the reason why the people in the directors' box had to go inside to save any more problems like that."

Stewarding issues have been a frequent problem for the Hammers since their move into the London Stadium and the latest incidents have raised fears that the club could be punished by having a play a future game behind closed doors.

West Ham are set to jet off to Florida on Sunday for a five-day, warm weather training break but Brooking added: "The next five home games look pretty bleak because there is no way the team will be able to play and get the points to stay up under that sort of atmosphere - it's impossible.

"That atmosphere must never be allowed to come back otherwise the club is in serious trouble."

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