Hammers pitch invaders invite unwelcome attention
A couple of brainless pitch invaders put West Ham United in the headlines for all the wrong reasons yet again this week.
Two separate incidents saw the League Cup defeat to bitter rivals Tottenham Hotspur halted as fans entered the field of play and not for the first time.
Memories are still fresh of the angry protests which spilled onto the pitch back in March.
But the latest incidents might have come at the worst possible time and tinged with a bitter irony too.
Capacity row due in court this month
That’s because West Ham and their landlords at the London Stadium will go to the High Court in the coming weeks to resolve a legal battle said to be worth more than £100million over the club’s bid to use all of the 66,000 seats at the controversial ground (London Evening Standard).
The desire to increase capacity also comes with the added incentive of the bragging rights of boasting the biggest stadium in London, 4,000 more than Spurs’ new 62,000 seater home. That is a personal objective of co-owner David Gold.
Crowds for games are limited to 57,000 by the London Legacy Development Corporation and SAG.
Latest incidents won’t help case for London’s biggest stadium
The issue concerns the costs of making the additional seats available and the revenue from them. Stewarding and crowd behaviour were also factors behind the decision to limit the ground to 57,000 thus far since the move to Stratford in 2016.
It is not clear whether the latest incursions will have a detrimental impact on the outcome of the forthcoming court tussle.
Will minority spoil it for the majority?
It would be a shame for the senseless actions of a tiny minority to spoil it for thousands who cannot get tickets for games.
But it certainly won’t help West Ham’s case given the SAG’s past reservations which saw them impose the 57,000 cap in the first place.
Time will tell, West Ham go to court with the LLDC on November 19th.