Sir Trevor Brooking believes West Ham security needs radical overhaul
Brooking has issued a plea to West Ham fans to back the club through the remainder of their relegation battle.
Sir Trevor Brooking has admitted West Ham’s security situation could be “out of control” after the ugly scenes which marred the club’s 3-0 home defeat to Burnley at the London Stadium on Saturday.
The Hammers are facing an investigation by the Football Association after a series of pitch invasions and widespread supporter unrest, with Brooking confirming the club’s co-owner David Sullivan was struck by a coin towards the end of the game.
And the former Hammers player and manager believes the club’s stewarding – which is provided externally via the stadium operators E20 – needs a radical overhaul in order to avoid more unrest in the future.
Brooking told BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme: “There weren’t sufficient stewards and they couldn’t really cope with what was sometimes going back to the bad old days of 25 years ago.
“The club are obviously going to have to look at things with the local police and make sure that trained stewards and police are in place – you’re almost looking at it and saying, ‘this is out of control’.
“A lot of the stewards who are on duty on matchdays are not West Ham people – they’re actually stadium people and sometimes until they get a job there haven’t had any experience dealing with football crowds.
The club are obviously going to have to look at things with the local police and make sure that trained stewards and police are in place - you're almost looking at it and saying, 'this is out of control' Sir Trevor Brooking
“They were quite young and couldn’t deal with the aggression they were faced with.”
Brooking cut a dejected figure sitting alone in the directors’ box towards the end of the match, and revealed Sullivan and co-owner David Gold were among those asked to leave the area for their own safety.
“I think a coin did hit David Sullivan, his glasses,” said Brooking. “I didn’t see it myself but I did have that confirmed, which was part of the reason why the people in the directors’ box had to go inside to save any more problems like that.”
Stewarding issues have been a frequent problem for the Hammers since their move into the London Stadium and the latest incidents have raised fears that the club could be punished by having a play a future game behind closed doors.
West Ham – who were set to jet off to Florida on Sunday for a five-day, warm weather training break – were not immediately available to comment on the crisis, but Brooking issued a plea to fans to shelve their concerns for the remainder of the campaign.
Brooking added: “The next five home games look pretty bleak because there is no way the team will be able to play and get the points to stay up under that sort of atmosphere – it’s impossible.
“That atmosphere must never be allowed to come back otherwise the club is in serious trouble. The fans have to understand that and really shelve those frustrations.. and allow the players to get the points to stay up.”