West Ham fans put in danger in pre-game crush


Some West Ham fans were crushed and herded like cattle on the way into the BayArena last night.

As fans tried to enter the stadium ahead of West Ham’s Europa League game against Bayer Leverkusen, a bottleneck was created with no visible means of an exit.

My good mate Tony, who often appears on Hammers Chat, labelled it “the worst experience of stewarding I’ve ever seen” and was clearly concerned for his safety.

Speaking on the phone to me this morning, he said, “There must have been around one thousand West Ham fans trying to get through two gates which were four feet wide. There were two stewards on each side who were searching everyone.

The whole process was so slow, and as more people joined the queue, fans were getting packed in tighter and tighter.”

I should probably note that I’ve known Tony for a number of years, and he’s not one for embellishing a story or over-elaborating.

Tony continued, “We got into the stadium 20 minutes after kick-off, but people were desperate to get in. It created a human crush as people tried to get towards the gates.

People were getting really angry; it was incredibly dangerous, and some were having panic attacks. Aside from the stewards doing the searching, there were none directing the queues.”

“While this was going on, the police were standing nearby, just watching and smiling. Honestly mate, it was my worst experience of attending a stadium.”

West Ham fans-Leverkusen-BayArena

Many West Ham fans were unable to get to their seats and had to watch from the stairs

No help inside the stadium

Tony was also forced to watch the game from the top of the stairwell. “When we got through the gates, there were zero stewards inside. I tried to get to my seat but couldn’t get anywhere near it. I wasn’t the only one either. Something went very wrong.”

Shocking stories, and I’m just glad my mate was okay. It’s crazy that in these days of health and safety, such a big event could be this disorganised.

Pictures taken during the game seemed to show an upper tier which was almost empty. Presumably this would explain the crush below but it’s a situation easily rectified. Even just a handful of stewards could have dispersed the crowd and got everyone to their seats.

Hammers fan ‘rammed’ in whist the upper tier remained almost inaccessible

Share this article

Hammers Chat video blogger @Gonzobignose