West Ham Cottee: This is 2016 not the 1970s - it is time to sort this out
PUBLISHED: 11:45 02 November 2016
Our West Ham Columnist Tony Cottee laments the fact that we are not talking about football
I should be talking about how excellent West Ham were against Chelsea.
This should be about how they outplayed the Blues and deservedly earned themselves a big tie at Manchester United in the last eight.
But I have to talk about the trouble and how 45,000 fans in the stadium created such a fabulous atmosphere, but were overshadowed by a few hundred hooligans who wanted to fight.
For me the problem is a simple one, until we get a proper police presence in the ground to deter the trouble it is going to continue.
To use an analogy, if you have a protest at Parliament Square with a load of right wing and left wing people looking for trouble, is a steward getting paid a pittance going to stop them?
It is the same at the London Stadium.
I know people who didn’t go to the Chelsea game because they were scared. People have got to feel safe in the ground and that means we need the police there now, not in three months time – now. Some people have jumped on the bandwagon and said we should play behind closed doors, but that’s a ridiculous over-reaction that will punish the innocents.
Until this is sorted we are going to have hooligans from every club who come here thinking they can have a tear-up. This is 2016 not the 1970s and it is time to sort things out.
Little things need to be sorted too. Myself and Tony Gale wanted to go into one of the lounges on Wednesday to chat with a friend, but we were not allowed because the steward didn’t recognise us –two people who have played over 600 games for the club.
Getting more West Ham stewards into the club is also an essential.
I had a good time at Everton on Sunday, meeting up with some old mates and I felt that we should have got at least a draw.
We had the chances in the first half, but it is clear that we haven’t got a striker to put it into the net.
Michail Antonio was probably our best player at Everton, but he is not a striker. We needed a 15-goal a season striker and it is clear that Simone Zaza and Jonathan Calleri are not going to do that.
If we had Romelu Lukaku in our team we would have won that game 3-0 I think. I know these sorts of players cost a lot of money, but there were better options for us in the summer and we didn’t take them.
It is Stoke City on Saturday and though they always give us a tough game I am going for a 2-1 win.
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