AZ Alkmaar issue apology to West Ham after hooded ultras attacked Hammers players and their families
AZ Alkmaar issue apology to West Ham after hooded ultras attacked Hammers players and their families at full time of Conference League defeat in ‘night to reflect on with shame’
AZ Alkmaar have issued an apology to West Ham after several of their fans broke throw barricades and were involved in a physical confrontation with Hammers players, their families, and fans.
West Ham beat the Dutch side to reach the final of the Conference League on Thursday, with Pablo Fornals’ late winner securing the victory that will take the club to their first European final since 1976.
After full time, as West Ham’s players began to celebrate, several hooded supporters broke through to the away end and began to attack supporters, many including the West Ham players’ families.
That resulted in various Hammers players jumping into the chaos and getting involved in ugly scenes that overshadowed the side’s success.
Alkmaar have now issued an apology, admitting in their English statement that the night was one ‘to reflect on with shame.’
Supporters attacked relatives of West Ham United players during their Conference League tie
A violent mob of AZ Almaar supporters made their way up the steps to attack the supporters
‘While everyone hoped for a historic European match, it turned into a pitch black evening due to the events occurring at the referee’s final whistle,’ the statement began. ‘It turned into a night to reflect on with shame. Not because of the football game played, but because of the behaviour of some visitors. Unfortunately, we cannot use the word ‘supporters’ for these people.
‘What happened is beyond all bounds. The club again sincerely apologises to West Ham United and the thousands of well minded AZ supporters who have also been inconvenienced by the misconduct.’
The club pledged to work with authorities to identify why the incident happened and how to stop something similar happening in the future.
Without hesitation, West Ham’s Michail Antonio and Flynn Downes leapt over the hoardings and made a beeline for the stands when the choas erupted, closely followed by team-mates Lucas Paqueta and Said Benrahma.
Shocking footage from the stands saw brave West Ham supporters desperately trying to hold back the stream of Alkmaar ultras from attacking the families, while others stood atop a stairwell duking it out blow-for-blow with the oncoming horde.
Michail Antonio (centre) jumped over the advertising hoardings after violence broke out
West Ham fans fended off the hooded attackers in scuffles before it was broken up
Stewards watched on as the violent scenes unfolded in the aftermath of West Ham’s win
Just as it looked as though the violence was set to descend into an all-out brawl, security teams managed to force their way into the melee and separate the crews, with other guards jumping in to hold back the furious West Ham players.
‘In the coming period AZ will – together with the police, Public Prosecution Service, and Alkmaar’s municipality – evaluate exactly what happened, how it could have happened and what needs to be improved from now on,’ the statement continued. ‘It is clear that things need to be improved.
‘Part of the evaluation is a thorough review of all available footage so that appropriate consequences may follow for those responsible for this outrageous behavior.
‘AZ is a civilised club where sportsmanship and norms and values are paramount. The club will do everything possible, together with the authorities involved, to identify these persons and to take appropriate measures.’