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West Ham fans invade pitch, force team owners to flee seats

AP  |  London 

grappled a pitch to the ground and the struggling club's owners were forced to flee their seats to escape protests during a loss to

Lax security allowed two more fans to come on the field at the yesterday before being led away by West Ham defender also tripped another pitch invader, while a supporter was able to pick up the corner flag and plant it in the center circle.

In addition to four separate pitch intrusions by supporters, police said they received two allegations of assault on an afternoon when frustrations about West Ham's plight boiled over.

As the investigates the unrest, the separately said it would be contacting West Ham to seek assurances that the would not be repeated at future matches. West Ham called an emergency meeting with the publicly owned stadium's operators and said it was "committed to taking decisive and appropriate action" against the perpetrators.

As West Ham scraps to stay in the Premier League, sitting three points above the relegation zone, resentment has grown over the decision to uproot from the Upton Park home of 112 years to in 2016.

Hundreds of fans congregated beneath the directors' box to chant "Sack the board," which includes co-owners and Some supporters made a throat-slitting gesture while missiles were seen being thrown in the direction of the executive seats.

The first came moments after gave the lead in the 66th minute. A man ran onto the pitch from the home end. With no stewards on hand to remove the fan, an enraged Noble grabbed him and threw him to the floor.

After put 2-0 up, another fan picked up the corner flag, marched to the center circle and planted it in the ground.

"There is no place at any level of the game for what happened at the Stadium," the said. "While the official investigation of the incidents will be carried out by the Football Association, we will be asking our own questions of West Ham United about what happened this afternoon, especially to ensure similar events never reoccur."

It was a tumultuous end to a turbulent week that saw a protest march called off as West Ham fans groups turned on each other. "What we need is the club, supporters, players, everyone, is to pull together," said.

"All I ask for is that everybody sticks together and we try to get ourselves enough points to make sure we're a team (next season)," he added.

Many fans have never accepted watching their team in the stadium that was designed primarily for at

Whereas Upton Park provided a formidable atmosphere, fans are separated from the pitch by the running track in their expansive, largely taxpayer-funded new home. It is only being rented from the company in charge of securing the legacy of venues from

The holding name "Stadium" highlights the failure to secure the naming rights envisaged -- a pursuit that could be even harder after the latest turmoil.

"An emergency meeting has been called with all Stadium stakeholders," West Ham said.

"strongly condemned" the crowd disturbances and said it would be seeking observations from West Ham.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, March 11 2018. 10:10 IST