West Ham call for unity as club addresses safety management plans
West Ham have called on their fans to get behind the battle to avoid Premier League relegation, while promising to address their safety and security procedures following the ugly scenes in Saturday's loss to Burnley.
The Hammers were beaten 3-0 at London Stadium amid a toxic atmosphere, with supporters invading the pitch on three separate occasions as protests against the club's ownership boiled over.
Captain Mark Noble grappled with one invader, while referee Lee Mason was forced to halt play after another attempted to plant a corner flag in the centre circle.
Co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold both left their seats early as fans vented their frustrations in their direction, and after the game on Saturday the club promised an investigation into the incidents.
On Wednesday, the Hammers released a subsequent statement calling for spectators to throw their weight behind supporting the survival bid, with David Moyes' side sitting two places and three points above the drop zone.
"With eight Premier League matches still to play, achieving the points we need has to be the focus," the statement read.
"The best chance of reaching that goal is for everyone to be united behind the team when we play Southampton on 31 March and for the remainder of the season.
West Ham United are committed to taking decisive and positive action with the primary focus of ensuring London Stadium is a safe, comfortable and secure environment for supporters attending future matches.https://t.co/Jq1xWx0Qzb— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) March 14, 2018
"Senior club representatives will take a full and leading role at an emergency meeting of the core Safety Advisory Group (SAG) at London Stadium on Thursday.
"There, West Ham United will be joined by representatives from LS185, certifying authority Newham Council, the Sports Ground Safety Authority, the Metropolitan Police, E20 and the London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC).
"The club will make clear that its primary concern is for the safety and comfort of its supporters on matchdays and, to that end, will lead discussions centred on the safety management plans put in place and the policing and stewarding for future fixtures at London Stadium, the first of which will be the Premier League visit of Southampton on Saturday 31 March.
"The club is working in close conjunction with the Metropolitan Police to identify those individuals, who entered the pitch during the second half, and with stadium operator LS185, using London Stadium's high-quality CCTV footage, to identify those who threw missiles, both of which are specific offences under the Football (Offences) Act 1991.
"Any individual found guilty will be banned from attending any West Ham United fixture, home and away, for life and the club will request the courts serve a banning order to prevent these individuals attending any football matches in the future."