West Ham United co-owner David Sullivan has claimed criticism of Hammers fans is "sensationalism" from people who want to see the club fail. A number of games at the London Stadium have been marred by crowd trouble – but Sullivan has played down the problems.
On Saturday (1 October), three men were arrested following problems outside the stadium before the game against Middlesbrough, while away supporters have also complained of being hit by coins and bottles inside the ground, according to the Daily Telegraph. However, Sullivan has claimed the situation has been blown out of proportion and that such incidents are not specific to the Hammers.
In a statement, Sullivan said: "It makes me angry to read stories sensationalising the events outside London Stadium. A group of mindless thugs with no intention of watching the game came together outside the ground, and three arrests were made.
"I have watched all the videos and as far as I can see, any issues were routine football problems that were dealt with swiftly and safely. It is clear that the police were quick and professional in bringing any incidents under control, and although it is something that we must stamp out from football in general, the scenes were certainly not exclusive to West Ham United and London Stadium."
Sullivan, 67, claimed the problems surrounding West Ham's move to their new stadium have been exaggerated by people who are keen to see the move fail. He said, too, that the vast majority of the club's supporters have been well–behaved inside the London Stadium.
"The overwhelming majority of supporters behaved absolutely impeccably – something that seems to get forgotten time and time again," the co-owner of West Ham explained. "I get the impression that there are lots of people out there who want to see the migration to our new stadium fail, and will take every given opportunity, big or small, to knock what we are trying to do.
"This is completely unfair on the vast majority of West Ham United supporters, who are embracing our new home and making it a stadium to be proud of."