fights in stands, pitch invaders with corner flags

Some West Ham fans wanted to hold a protest prior to Saturday’s home game against Burnley. At the urging of club executives and other authorities – and after a meeting with the board – the protest was called off.

Or, rather, it was postponed. Because instead, it happened inside the London Stadium.

It happened during the second half, after Burnley went up 1-0, then 2-0, then 3-0. Fans fought in the stands. They reportedly tried to fight their way through stewards to get at club directors, whose mismanagement they’ve been angered by. They ran on the field, disrupted the game, scrapped with players, and generally caused mayhem.

Mark Noble clashes with a West Ham fan who had invaded the pitch. (Getty)

One fan ran onto the pitch, grabbed a corner flag, and brought it to the center circle to plant it there. Stewards were nowhere to be found, and players, fuming, had to deal with the pitch invader:

The game was halted on multiple occasions.

After West Ham went two down, some fans left their seats, went into the concourse and hurled abuse at co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold in the directors’ box:

With many fans having already filed out of the stadium, hundreds turned their backs on the game, and instead faced the directors’ box, shouting and chanting, “sack the board.” Sullivan, Gold and other executives were, reportedly, eventually escorted out by security guards.

(Screenshot: NBC Sports Live Extra)

There were reports of violence in the stands – among fans, and between fans and stewards. The police presence was reportedly lacking.

There were reportedly bottles being thrown as well.

Burnley’s staff and bench players apparently let young fans into their bench area to avoid the violence:

Both West Ham and Burnley players had to deal with fans who had invaded the field, as stewards had been unable to contain them. Mark Noble pushed one to the ground:

A fan is sent flying by a Burnley player. (Getty)

Mark Noble clashes with a West Ham fan who had invaded the pitch. (Getty)

A West Ham fan is detained by a steward on the field. (Getty)

West Ham fans protest club directors Karen Brady, David Sullivan and David Gold. (Getty)

Noble spoke about the pitch invaders and interruptions after the match:

The game ended 3-0 to Burnley, a result that leaves West Ham in 16th place, three points above the relegation zone.

West Ham, in a statement, said it had “immediately launched a full and thorough investigation into the incidents,” and that it is “committed to taking decisive and appropriate action.”

Story continues

The club also called an “emergency meeting … with all London Stadium stakeholders” to address the day’s events.

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Henry Bushnell covers global soccer, and occasionally other ball games, for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell.

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