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New video shows brave West Ham fans fend off Alkmaar ultras trying to attack players’ families

A new video shows brave West Ham fans taking to fend off Alkmaar ultras who had been trying to attack Hammers players’ families.

West Ham players had no choice but to defend friends and families from AZ Alkmaar’s angry hooligans after violent scenes erupted following their win over the Dutch team to reach the 2023 Europa Conference League Final.

West Ham’s 1-0 victory in the Netherlands was sealed by Pablo Fornals in stoppage time, helping his side advance to its first European final in 47 years after a 3-1 win on aggregate. However, the celebrations had to be halted due to the disturbances in the crowd.

AZ fans broke through a fence to attack the West Ham contingent seated at a reserved area of the stadium. West Ham players tried to intervene in the brawl that ensued.

The police and stewards arrived to stop any further conflict. Ten minutes later, the calm returned.

Speaking to BT Sport after the game, manager David Moyes, whose 87-year-old father was reportedly among the crowd, said: “We’ll need to wait for the dust to settle to see what it is but the biggest problem is that is the area where the players have all their families in,” he said.

“That is where the problem came, and a lot of players were getting angry because they couldn’t get to see if they were OK.

“What I don’t want to do in any way is blight our night. It wasn’t West Ham supporters looking for trouble.

“Was I worried? Yeah, my family were there and I had friends in that section. You’re hoping they would try to get themselves away from it.

“Security wanted to take me inside, but I had to make sure my players weren’t involved.”

Fornals told Sky Sports News he didn’t see much of the violence as he tried to keep his team-mates inside away from the trouble but is worried about the welfare of their friends and families.

“I didn’t see a lot because I don’t have any one here watching me [on Thursday],” he said. “I hadn’t anyone to watch in that area and when the referee whistled at the end I threw myself to the floor and cried like a kid.

“After that I went inside and tried to keep the guys in because we don’t need that as players. I am really concerned about the families of my team-mates, hopefully everyone is OK and the police can do their job and realise who did it.

“I don’t think anyone wants to see their family being kicked. It’s not great when you are in that beautiful moment and people who isn’t in the same moment are trying to use violence against you.

“We cant do anything else just try to help the police to realise who did it and pray for the family of my people being good.”

Hammers goalkeeper Alphonse Areola added: “When families or friends are coming to the stadium, we don’t want to see things like that. They want to enjoy the event and we want to enjoy it with them as well. We were worried about them.”

Sky Sports News reporter Gary Cotterill in Alkmaar:

“Great night for West Ham, they are into the Europa Conference League final in Prague. But some extraordinary scenes, some really ugly scenes at the full-time whistle.

“An area of West Ham fans, most of which were members of the West Ham family – relatives of the players and coaching staff, including Moyes’ 85-year-old father.

“On the final whistle some AZ fans came around with black face coverings and started attacking that section of the stadium. West Ham players celebrating on pitch saw what was going on and tried to help their family members. Three or four of the players jumped over and went into the area to try and help their family.

“At that time stewards leaped in. It took some time, but police then jumped in with riot gear and by that stage it was absolute chaos. You can understand the anxiousness and the concern of the West Ham players, who had to stop their celebrations to make sure their family members were OK.

“In the end everyone was fine but there were some really ugly scenes and there are questions to be asked about the security at this stadium and just how that was allowed to happen. I don’t think the West Ham players or West Ham have anything to explain or be blamed for because they were just trying to help their families.

“An extraordinary and very difficult end to the evening.”

AZ boss Pascal Jansen said: “What happened last week was very unfortunate and then you get the same feeling as what happened tonight.

“I feel a little bit ashamed it happened in our stadium but you have to control your emotions.”

Joe Cole, part of the BT Sport team covering the match, said what happened was “absurd”.

“Grown men attacking the West Ham fans,” he explained. “Players were trying to get involved to break it up.

“AZ Alkmaar fans turning up wearing balaclavas throwing punches is ridiculous.”

On BT Sport, former Hammers striker Carlton Cole said: “There was no need for it. West Ham have come here, done their job and not disrespected them in any shape or form.

“The families of the players are over there. Sometimes emotions take hold of you.”

BBC commentator Alistair Bruce-Ball, inside the stadium at the time, said he saw punches being thrown by the AZ fans.

“These are awful scenes,” he said.

“Some fans clad in dark coats and hoods up came racing down in front of the lower tier of the stand to voice their dissatisfaction, and there is trouble to our right-hand side.

“The concern here is I think the West Ham family members and friends are in that section. Those are very, very unpleasant scenes.

“The West Ham players are being held back. I can see in the distance punches being thrown.”

Simon Stone of BBC Sport said: “West Ham’s elation at reaching their first major final in 43 years is tempered by the knowledge that the venue in Prague which will host the match will not be big enough to hold the number of people who want to see it.

“Their opponents, Fiorentina, are a similar club in the sense it has a big following and little recent success, in their case the Coppa Italia in 2001.

“Uefa believe the game will be shown in fan parks, which may help. However, with a 20,000 capacity and a 5,000 allocation for each club, there is a sense of nervousness about how this will be managed and whether the security around the game will be up to the job.”

Here’s what Twitter users are saying as a new video shows brave West Ham fans fend off Alkmaar ultras trying to attack the players’ families…

@JamesP2111: Fair play to the big un, giving it his best Gandalf in Mines of Moria impression.

@simondgm1: Maximum respect to those two lads

@DannyGutteridge: Stewards and police all taking their breaks

@Dazedey: Don’t worry about stewards!!! The 2 West Ham boys will protect the players families and friends

@kdmm1000: West Ham are building two statues of these fellas as we speak outside their ground

@HigsonR: Hodor should never have to buy a pint again go on big fella

@kp0w22: Props to the big tank at the top of the stairs 👏 🙌

@Morleyash1: 🤣 good on the fellas at the top of the stairs. Especially for using the guy as a catapult. 🤣🤣

@zach_inwood: Stewards were useless, would rather go at our players than the Alkmaar ‘fans’ who were causing the trouble

@LiamJoeSouth88: Knowing UEFA they’ll probably punish the West Ham players.

@TommyDoyle1972: West Ham players 👏👏👏👏 ….. and the ‘big unit’ at the top of the stairs, what a performance 👏👏👏👏

@BasedBobTrapGod: Lucas Paqueta been in London less than year amd he already bleeds claret and blue 😂 love it

@WestHamViews09: Knowing UEFA, half our squad will be banned for the final.

@Tonyc1234: Guaranteed West Ham get the blame that would never happen in the UK . Hope West Ham players/fans are ok. 👍

@FloorGuy1983: Bare minimum, they should not be allowed to play with fans in the stadium for European games for an extended period of time. They have shown they can’t provide proper security and a large group of their fans are a disgrace anyway.

@nathanielmead: Watch UEFA blame West Ham for this.

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