West Ham co-owner 'hit by coin' in crowd trouble

Referee Craig Pawson speaks to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match at Old Trafford

Referee Craig Pawson speaks to Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp during the Premier League match at Old Trafford

Ashley Barnes fired Burnley ahead in the 66 minute, prompting one fan to run on to the pitch where he grappled with West Ham skipper Mark Noble.

"There weren't sufficient stewards and they couldn't really cope with what was sometimes going back to the bad old days of 25 years ago", the 69-year-old told BBC Sport. David Moyes' side are 16th in the Premier League, three points above the relegation zone, after losing four of their past five matches and face fellow strugglers Southampton at home in their next top-flight game on 31 March.

David Sullivan, the West Ham joint-chairman, was struck by a coin but his glasses stopped it from hitting his eye. "The fans have to understand that and really shelve those frustrations and allow the players to get the points to stay up".

He added: "Before the final whistle, two of the directors went upstairs - were asked by the security people to do so".

"The club are obviously going to have to look at things with the local police and make sure that trained stewards and police are in place - you're nearly looking at it and saying, "this is out of control". The actual level of aggression is not something I could believe a West Ham fan would get into.

West Ham - who were set to jet off to Florida on Sunday for a five-day, warm weather training break - were not immediately available to comment on the crisis, but Brooking issued a plea to fans to shelve their concerns for the remainder of the campaign.

"That atmosphere must never come back in the last five games otherwise the club is in serious trouble and the players won't be able to deliver".

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The Football Association said it "condemns the crowd disturbances" and "will be seeking observations from West Ham as well as awaiting the match referee's report".

West Ham, the police, FA and Premier League have all launched investigations with the club facing the very real prospect of being forced to play behind closed doors if they are charged.

Noble, 30, said of Brooking: "He probably felt the same as me walking off the pitch".

"But I am not angry, just upset with how things went". "Hopefully they will now rally together and get behind us". It's not that I support the club - I love the club.

"I think with that situation the mum was ushering them away so we got them over the barrier and I think they had the time of their lives sat on the bench with us".

"If I never play for the club again I'm still going to feel the way I do".

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