West Ham and Millwall charged over crowd trouble

westhamnew.jpgWest Ham and Millwall have been charged by the Football Association following the crowd trouble at their Carling Cup match last month.

The match at Upton Park on August 25 saw widespread fighting outside the ground, missile throwing, racist abuse of players and pitch invasions by West Ham supporters.

As a result the FA have thrown the book at both clubs, whose supporters have a long history of hostility towards each other, alleging neither ensured their supporters conducted themselves in an orderly fashion "in and around the ground".

West Ham face four charges and Millwall three, with both clubs charged with failing to ensure their fans refrained from:

-Violent, threatening, obscene and provocative behaviour

-Racist behaviour

-Throwing missiles, harmful or dangerous objects onto the pitch

West Ham are also charged with failing to ensure their supporters did not enter the field of play

A Millwall supporter was stabbed outside the ground as fans clashed in running battles that led to the closure of nearby Tube stations, while West Ham fans invaded the pitch after each of the Hammers goals in their 3-1 extra time victory.

Both West Ham's Carlton Cole and Millwall's Jason Price alleged they were racially abused during the game.

A total of 200 seats and a toilet block in the visitors section were damaged, although Millwall argue they did everything they could to minimise trouble from their supporters.

A club spokesman said: "We maintain we did everything in our power in regard to ticketing arrangements for this game. We expressed our concerns in advance about ticket allocations and arrangements in general.

"It was widely acknowledged that none of our supporters came onto the pitch and indeed the behaviour and forbearance of our fans brought praise from media observers on the night.

"Our question for the Football Association is what can Millwall Football Club do to control individual actions once inside our opponents stadium?"

The Millwall fans were isolated in a section of the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, which was otherwise empty, and were hemmed in by stewards and a sizeable number of police, many in riot gear.

That did not stop them hurling seats at West Ham fans in the corner of the West Stand as things took an ugly turn as the match progressed.

Whether there were sufficient stewards on duty to prevent the encroachment onto the pitch by Irons fans after the goals is debatable, with the Millwall players heading to the dugouts at one point as they feared for their safety.

West Ham could face a hefty fine from the FA, which would simply add to their financial woes, but have already taken steps to deal with the troublemakers, including imposing life bans on 10 people identified as being involved in the trouble.