West Ham farewell marred by attack on Manchester United bus

West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground farewell party turned sour before kickoff on Tuesday when Manchester United’s team bus was attacked by bottle-throwing home fans, causing a 45-minute delay to the kickoff.

West Ham United’s Boleyn Ground farewell party turned sour before kickoff on Tuesday when Manchester United’s team bus was attacked by bottle-throwing home fans, causing a 45-minute delay to the kickoff.

Huge crowds, many without tickets, congregated outside the stadium for the sell-out Premier League clash, West Ham’s final home game before moving to the 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium after 112 years at Upton Park.

Man Utd’s team coach became bogged down within sight of the stadium in Green Street where West Ham fans began pelting the windows with bottles and glasses while a smoke canister was also set off, adding to the chaos.

The visiting side’s blacked-out coach suffered minor damage with at least one window shattered.

Police eventually managed to escort the Man Utd squad to the entrance less than an hour before the scheduled 1845 GMT kickoff, which was delayed by 45 minutes.

“It wasn’t nice, the coach got smashed up,” said captain Wayne Rooney.

Man Utd manager Louis van Gaal, whose team went on to lose the game 3-2, looked visibly shaken by the incident as he walked towards the dressing rooms.

“The way we have been received is not the proper way of course,” the Dutchman said. “That makes all the influence on the players and that is a pity.”

There was little sympathy for Man Utd from West Ham’s co-chairman David Sullivan.

“I think the police and officials have been kind, I would make them kick off at 7.45 (1845 GMT) if it was up to me. Manchester United know the score, they should have been here at four o’clock,” he said.

FA PROBE

London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that one officer and a member of the public sustained minor injuries but no arrests were made.

The Football Association announced that it would launch a full investigation.

“The FA strongly condemns the unsavoury incidents this evening,” it said in a statement.

West Ham have played at the 35,000-capacity Boleyn Ground since 1904 but will begin next season in the 700 million pounds ($1.01 billion) Olympic Stadium after agreeing a 99-year lease.

A special farewell party was held after the final whistle on Tuesday.

Before kickoff a marching brass band played the traditional football hymn Abide With Me while images of the club’s favourite son, England’s 1966 World Cup-winning captain Bobby Moore, were displayed on video screens.

So desperate were some West Ham fans to attend the historic fixture there were reports of tickets being sold online for 2,000 pounds.

Supporters are buying the stadium’s fixtures and fittings, including seats, urinals, office doors and goalposts, in an auction.

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