Mark Noble called for unity at West Ham United on Tuesday following the ugly scenes of March 10, in which fans expressed displeasure with the current regime by running onto the pitch and gathering in front of the directors’ box.
The first encroachment occurred when the Irons went 1-0 down to visiting Burnley, and pitch invaders gradually grew in number as the club succumbed to a 3-0 home defeat. Noble flung one supporter to the ground. The Guardian’s Jacob Steinberg reported that a female steward was knocked over in the melee and co-owner David Sullivan was struck with a coin.
Related – Look: Chaos reigns as angry West Ham fans confront players on pitch
Five fans received lifetime bans for their involvement in the chaos.
“Our last home game against Burnley was one of my toughest days in nearly 20 years at West Ham, and I never want to see scenes like that again,” Noble wrote in a statement. “None of us do. I desperately want us to do well and for everyone to be happy, players and fans, but that day was one which none of us can look back on with any pride.
“We need everyone to be together and to be behind the team, because positive vibes really do inspire the players on the pitch. On the flip side, negativity can undoubtedly affect players’ concentration and confidence, as I believe it did in the second half against Burnley.”
(Photo courtesy: Getty Images)
The Hammers were performing well in the first half, but Ashley Barnes’ 66th-minute opener triggered what appeared to be planned protests from a small minority. The loss contributed to West Ham’s 17th-placed standing in the Premier League – two points above the relegation zone – with eight matches remaining.
Noble senses an opportunity in the run of games to conclude the campaign. Five of those eight tilts are staged at the London Stadium, and the club captain believes that support from the stands can help inspire the team to victories that should maintain its top-flight status.
“We need you all, full stop, and we cannot perform to our best and win the matches we need to win without you. When you are on song, there really are no supporters better at inspiring their team than West Ham supporters,” he explained.
“I can understand the frustrations some of you are feeling. This season has not gone how we’d all hoped it would, but I would ask you to channel your passion to get behind the team, help us get through the season with our Premier League status intact, and we can sit down and reassess things in the summer.”
David Moyes’ West Ham returns after the international break to take on Southampton on Saturday. The Saints are only one place below the Londoners, but made a recent managerial change, hiring Mark Hughes in place of Mauricio Pellegrino.