West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has issued an apology to Manchester United after their team bus was attacked by supporters prior to last night's Upton Park farewell. The Hammers emerged victorious from the final fixture in the Boleyn Ground's rich 112-year history, with goals from Diafra Sakho, Michail Antonio and Winston Reid securing the ideal send-off.
However, an otherwise enjoyable evening was overshadowed by events before the match, which saw kick-off delayed by 45 minutes after United's bus was pelted with bottles and missiles as it turned into Green Street during its approach to the ground. Sullivan courted controversy with initial comments made to BBC Radio Five Live, when he appeared to deny that any attack had taken place and suggested that checks would reveal no damage to the vehicle. He also claimed that Louis van Gaal's side, who were late for a Premier League fixture at Tottenham Hotspur in April, should have arrived earlier.
Clarifying those words in a fresh statement released on Wednesday (11 May) via West Ham's official website, he said:"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 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 a 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."
West Ham issued a separate club statement earlier on, praising the 99% of fans who behaved impeccably on a special night but also pledging to work with the Metropolitan Police and hand lifetime bans to those responsible for damaging the bus.
The Football Association (FA) have also condemned the unsavoury scenes and will work with both clubs and the the Met to "fully investigate these matters".