Shocking scenes show West Ham players diving into crowd to defend family and friends
Video shows West Ham players leaping into the crowd to save family members from attacks by AZ Alkmaar supporters after their Europa League Conference match.
A video went viral after the Europa League Conference match between West Ham and AZ Alkmaar on Tuesday, showing masked AZ ultras attacking West Ham players’ family members.
That led to shocking scenes as the West Ham players themselves dove into the crowd to intervene.
Director of football Mark Noble attempted to hold back West Ham forward Michail Antonio from jumping into the crowd, but he couldn’t manage. He, Lucas Paqueta, Aaron Cresswell, and Flynn Downes were all involved in the altercations and had to be held back by security guards.
Several West Ham fans attempted to hold back the Alkmaar ultras as well before security finally managed to make it into the middle of the fight and break it up.
“We were very worried about our families. It’s just about security and it was a bit too open for the opposing fans,” said West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola. “At the end, they managed to stop them.”
West Ham boss David Moyes said he hopes the fight does not ruin the night and that UEFA will look into the incident.
“I can’t explain what happened and why it happened. Players were involved because it was the family section… that was probably the reason for the reaction,” said Moyes. “I don’t want that in anyway to blight the night because the West Ham fans weren’t looking for trouble.”
Former West Ham player Carlton Cole emphasized the disappointment he felt seeing the incident as well.
“There was no need for it. West Ham came, did their job, didn’t disrespect them. When a goal like that goes in you’re elated, happy, you can’t suppress feelings,” said Cole. “Your family is over there with the fans. You have to understand that. What is that about? It’s the same men that were outside the player’s hotels, setting off fireworks. What are they doing? Chill out.”