West Ham United will reportedly be forced into an emergency relocation of some fans following ugly scenes at the London Stadium on Saturday (10 September). The Hammers slipped to a dramatic 4-2 loss against Watford at home — but the result was overshadowed by scuffles among home supporters.
Fans were seen scrapping with each other in the stands and children were reduced to tears after fights broke out after some supporters insisted on standing for a third consecutive game. Meanwhile, there were also disturbances between the two sets of rival fans inside the ground as the segregation area was breached in the upper tier.
In total, ten spectators were ejected and three handed over to police, according to The Times. The incident has led West Ham to pledge to hit the troublemakers with life bans and the club have also promised to review the stewarding inside the ground.
West Ham have already received hundreds of requests from families and the elderly asking to move from their current positions inside the stadium to a location behind the goal. Some fans have blamed the club's hierarchy for failing to create a family section to include the 10,000 children who have season tickets.
West Ham hope to ensure a larger segregation area in future. However, their ambitions are complicated by the fact that they have 52,000 season ticket holders inside a stadium that hosts 60,000 people.
The club have already sent out letters to supporters, pleading with them to sit down during the games. Until then, however, the Hammers are having to operate with a reduced capacity of 57,000 at the London Stadium.
David Gold, West Ham's joint chairman, plans to lobby the Premier League to persuade the government to allow the reintroduction of safe standing, although that is widely considered to be a remote possibility. "We are trying to achieve harmony between fans who want to sit and those who want to stand," Gold explained.