West Ham co-chairman David Gold foresaw the problems and traffic chaos ahead on Tuesday, tweeting from his official Twitter account to his 140,000 followers the 79 year old chairman tweeted at 9.48am on the morning of the match “Kickoff tonight is 7.45pm traffic will be horrendous allow extra time. See you there.
Obviously the bronze police commander in operational charge and the Manchester United team coach driver don’t follow David Gold on social media as the amount of people and grid-locked traffic caught both parties unaware and unprepared.
Speaking again on social media Gold added today that “The police (human error) under estimated the number of fans that congregated in Green St & Barking Rd. Gridlock. dg”
The still and video images of the 30 seconds of madness have been flashed about the world tarnishing the West Ham brand and that of English football but they have been taken out of context.
There is no getting away from the fact that a small minority of West Ham fans behaved poorly and it is true that West Ham need to take some blame that they could have opened the Boleyn Ground gates a lot earlier to relieve the crush and congestion on the Barking Road and Green Street – and they could have also have communicated better with the opposition team on the ongoing traffic situation.
However, the main culprits in my view were the police with their inability to manage the crowd. I hope the police learn valuable lessons from this incident and make some amendments to their approach on the policing of football.