Man stabbed in football clashes
A man was stabbed after violent battles broke out between rival football fans at a Carling Cup London derby last night.
Hundreds of fans were involved in the disorder which police said was caused by people without tickets to the West Ham versus Millwall game at Upton Park in east London.
“There was large-scale trouble involving hundreds of fans,” a police spokesman said.
Officers made at least two arrests, one for disorder and the second for breach of a banning order.
Police said the stabbing, in Priory Road close to the stadium, was connected to the fighting and the 44-year-old victim was treated at the scene by paramedics. He was later taken to hospital, where he was said to be in a stable condition.
Inside Upton Park, pockets of violence also broke out and some supporters invaded the pitch. The rival fans taunted one another as news of the fighting outside filtered through.
Onlookers said Green Street, close to the ground, was filled with several hundred West Ham and Millwall fans before the match. They said bottles and bricks started being hurled shortly after 6pm.
A 29-year-old man, who runs a kebab shop in Green Street, said: “All hell broke loose, it was very frightening. It's not every day you see stuff like that.
“There were West Ham fans on one side and Millwall on the other. They were being kept apart by the police. There were West Ham fans for as far as you could see along the street.
“Bottles and bricks were being thrown from the back and some were hitting West Ham fans at the front. There were loads of people with blooded faces.”
He said he closed his shop for two hours as the violence flared. He added that the clashes continued after the match kicked off.
When the final whistle blew at Upton Park hundreds of fans invaded the pitch. Police and stewards battled with fans in an attempt to remove them from the field of play.
As thousands of fans flooded from the ground, police closed several roads surrounding Upton Park and ushered them towards the tube station.
Around 200 officers in riot gear, backed up by at least 20 mounted officers, patrolled outside the station.
Shortly after 11pm, a few hundred fans chanting West Ham football songs were involved in clashes with police outside Upton Park tube station.
A Football Association spokesman said: “We absolutely condemn all of the disorder that has occurred at Upton Park this evening both inside and outside of the ground. We strongly expect all culprits to be banned from football for life.”
Sport, Page 58