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Hammers fans 'sick to death' of 'heavy-handed stewarding' at home games

PUBLISHED: 11:39 14 May 2019 | UPDATED: 15:02 14 May 2019

Greg Hobbs, Paul Colborne and Stephen Cross of West Ham United fan group Hammers United. Picture: JON KING

Greg Hobbs, Paul Colborne and Stephen Cross of West Ham United fan group Hammers United. Picture: JON KING

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A West Ham United supporters group has slammed stewarding at the club's London Stadium ground.

Members of Hammers United have written to the Premier League side to complain they are 'sick to death' of 'heavy handed' stewarding at home games.

Hammers United secretary, Greg Hobbs, said: "We have been inundated with things our members want changed. Many issues stem from inadequate and, frankly, very bad stewarding.

"Improving this must be the priority."

The new group includes fan of 49 years, Paul Colbourne, 62, who West Ham banned for planting a corner flag in the centre circle in a protest against the club's owners during a match against Burnley marred by trouble in March 2018.

He claimed that stewards filming the crowd, cheering when opposing teams score and wearing rival team's shirts under their uniforms all got Hammers' fans backs up.

Away supporters in West Ham sections and releasing fans all at the same time was raising tensions during and after matches, he added.

Greg said: "Putting away fans in with West Ham supporters puts fans in danger."

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LS185, a subsidiary of E20, is responsible for stewarding at the London Stadium matches.

But the fan group, which meets at Queen Road West Community Centre in Plaistow, says West Ham should bear some of the responsibility.

In its letter to the club, the members state: "The club has a duty of care to see that its supporters are treated fairly and at the same time be able to watch the match in a safe environment.

"It is not good enough to say the stewards are not their responsibility. The wellbeing of their supporters is."

A London Stadium spokeswoman said: "The safety and security of all supporters visiting London Stadium is paramount, and we are committed to providing a best in class matchday experience at all events at the venue.

"Stewards are trained to act proportionately and in the interests of safety for all those attending events.

"Since re-opening, we have welcomed more than five million guests to London Stadium, and pride ourselves on delivering a safe, enjoyable experience for all.

"We work closely with West Ham United through the club's official supporters' board to best understand fans' thoughts and concerns, and ways to improve the matchday experience at the venue.

"We have asked the new supporters group to report any concerns through this channel, they will then be considered and action taken if necessary."

West Ham United failed to comment.

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