Read and Weep

I received this email last night, which I thought I would share.

Hi. I live in Columbus, Ohio, USA. I took my two young sons (8 & 5) with their 8-year-old friend to see the July 20 “friendly” between the Crew and West Ham at Crew Stadium. I am trying to teach my boys about the beautiful international brotherhood of football. Instead, we learned a lesson about how a few scummy, sub-human thugs can ruin the world. West Ham “fans” represented their club by getting drunk, hurling insults, and picking fights. You should be shamed to support this club. Chris D.

I suppose it is deeply ironic that I should post this immediately after launching a competition for tickets to the Cass movie, but there you are.

I cannot remember the last time I saw any violence at Upton Park, but I do know the atmosphere is very different at away games, which is partly why I don’t go to many. I find it shameful when British so-called football fans shame their clubs and our country abroad.

UPDATE Sun 5.30pm: Well I have got my balls well and truly whipped in the comments, haven’t I? However, just bear this in mind. This email wasn’t from some anonymous troublemaker. He was at the game, which very few of the people who have commented were. I don’t doubt for a moment that there was fault on both sides but should we really hold a view that says, well they may be hooligans, but at least they are our hooligans.

If I took two young kids to a football match and saw what this man saw, I wouldn’t be too impressed either. Perhaps he wrote the same email to the Canadian club too. I have no idea. But if West Ham fans did what he says they did, it is not me who should be doing the apologising, it’s them.

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38 Responses to Read and Weep

  1. Huttonhammer says:

    Maybe before making such sweeping statements about the few West Ham fans that attended the game you should look at the videos and actually try and find out what happened at the game.
    It was the West ham fans that were shouted at and attacked and then the security tried to move them as there were far more Crew fans trying to get at them.
    You are just another person who spouts off against English clubs and their fans without looking for the truth.

    Their is far more trouble in coutries like Italy but it is only the English fans that get written about

    Why don’t you just keep it shut!!!

  2. Barry Parker says:

    I think you will find a large proportion of the fans in West Ham shirts were not brits but Americans.
    Also the colombus crew have their own hooligan firm who sadly beleive the crap spouted in that poor excuse for a film Green Street and wanted to take on the best in their minds. what they don’t realise is the hooligan scene has moved away from the punch ups at the grounds.
    Reading a few forums the yanks having watched a few Hoolie flicks are up fro a pucnch up at games and this happens in their domestic scene luckily the British domestic scene has cleaned up its act.

  3. Graham Wilton says:

    I don’t think its British football fans is it? This is just what happens when British blokes go on a jolly. It happens on golfing trips, lads holidays, business trips even family holidays. We brits just get drunk and insult the world and start fights, thats just what we do when we leave our tiny island. I personally try not to, but I’m sure I’ve got drunk and chippy on a few occasions abroad.

  4. Richard says:

    I was very disappointed to read this. In fairness away games are generally fine, and we can be proud of our domestic away support. Trouble with friendlies is that anyone can go, there is no points system. I cant stand the brits abroad mentality but im sure most of our fans did us proud over there, but the handful that didnt should be ashamed. Also as were involved the media have a field day. A bad reputation is very difficult to mend and i fear that our name has been tarnished this time. People should remember us for the right reasons instead a bunch of thugs who think of themselves as supporters have damaged our reputation there and internationally

  5. Biffo the bear says:

    In a statement from the Columbus Crew Supporters, they described us as a team better known for their violence than their football. You don’t seem to be putting that right in any way mate. I found a website of the ‘Hudson street Holligans’, sent them an e-mail trying to address that misunderstanding, still waiting for a reply. It is a shame that people, yourself included, it seems, quickly assume our fans were to blame.
    Read and weep indeed.

  6. Joe says:

    i go to a lot of away games Iain, the fans are no different to what we are at home, you probably feel insecure because your not familiar with the surroundings thats all.
    as for the letter above, it was written by some HSH fan that has never been to upton park.
    its all getting a bit boring now, i have seen more people fight at a pub, stella fans.

  7. Stickers says:

    The video evidence shows that the home supporters were the agressors!
    The Columbus Crew fans have a bit of a reputation for violence in their own right!
    Didn’t see too many punches being thrown by fans in our colours (be they brits or yanks).

  8. USHammer says:

    I’m half American and based in the US but have supported the Hammers for nearly 40 yrs. Don’t fall into the trap of tarring all people for a few. The evidence is clear that the Crew folks were the aggressors. In American sports, fans of both teams often mingle. There is no segregation of fans as in Europe. Those hammer fans have every right to be where they were. I wouldn’t teach my kids to taunt others but fans at American football or baseball games can be MUCH worse at taunting than happened here by both sets of supporters. The violence was started by a bunch of misguided Crew fans who have been watching to much Green Street and think they are a 70s hooligan squad. And UK based Hammers fans, we are all Hammers fans. Don’t be so quick to throw your fellow fans under the bus to distance yourselves from the incident. It was the Crew fans fault and we should stand up and say so. The chap that wrote you is just as guilty. He should be concerned about all fans that behave bad. He singled us out. Sounds like an agenda to me. C’Mon Iain. Don’t be so quick to believe everything you read. Let’s condemn anyone who is violent at a sporting match and not wrap it up in neat little club or nationality packages. We are better than that. We are West Ham with a growing international reputation for good football. Let’s us fans work on promoting that. West Ham’s play in the all star game was a great credit to our club as was the behavior of all the fans. It was wonderful to see West Ham spoken of in strong positive terms on a nation wide broadcast here in the US. We were praised for our reputation for quality football and for coming to play. Dean’s first goal is the first time the MLS All Stars had ever gone behind in one of these matches. It woke them up. Former US national star and former Hammer John Harkes was in the commentary booth for ESPN and reported that his time with West Ham was great. He praised both the club and the fans saying how passionate we are. He got that right! And we got great press. I’ve no doubt we picked up some new fans.

  9. Ivor Kemp says:

    Yeah and according to you lot the Iraq war was in order to get rid of Weapons of Mass Destruction!!

    Good for you guys who never let the facts get in the way of being on the ‘right’ side eh?

  10. Stu says:

    It’s all a load of old poppycock.

    Shame an official statement has not been releases to clarify the facts. That is that all those involved were American citizens and were not West Ham fans. The use of the phrase “west ham fans” implies that they travelled from England for the game – they didn’t. Wearing a hammers shirt and getting drunk doesn’t make you a west ham fan. All west ham fans over here are astonished at this whole pantomime – disgraceful and embarrassing for all those involved.

  11. Plaistow54 says:

    I understand your concern Iain, nothing wrong with that, however when this first occured i read about it on the web. I read the witness statements, i watched the video. It appears to me that it was started by other than West Ham boys. It was not very well handled by the police & i don’t agree with the views of Chris D. If the Americans wish to talk about or accuse others of thuggery, they would do well to remove the rafter in their own eye before they point at the straw in someone else’s. I think West Ham can still hold their heads high.

  12. Roshi says:

    I think you should delete this thread Iain before the The Mail, the Sun and every other West Ham hating journo gets a hold of it!

  13. USHammer says:

    How disappointing that people like Stu and Ivor just don’t get it. Spare me your jingoistic, political babel. We are talking about football and a place where we should all be able to come together. Truly big clubs embrace their international fan base. Make a few quid out of it as well to sign great players that keep them on top. You all say you want to be a top performing club? Join the rest of us in the real world. I am a London born American, I have been a club member, I have stood on the terraces at the Boleyn and sang our songs. All three of my lads wear the shirt and answer questions from the uninformed over here “What team is that?” They all know now! We are Americans and WE ARE WEST HAM. Are you? West Ham fans didn’t start this and you lot just play into the stereotypes and nationalistic nonsense that you are accusing Americans of. Look in a mirror lads. I remember telling some of my American friends when I brought them to London and introduced them to West Ham that when you come to East London wearing a West Ham shirt you are welcomed no matter where you come from. That’s because we are, despite some of the bad things that have happened in our name, at our heart a family club and we are all members of that family. Was I so wrong? My great uncle, a Royal Army WW2 veteran and claret and blue through and through introduced me to the club as a boy. It’s in the blood. I’m proud to support MY club and will continue to do so. How about you lot join me in that? I hope so but I suspect all I’ll get is more vitriol. I’ve said my piece. I’ll say no more. I’ll just continue to support my team regardless of where in the world I am.

  14. Scott says:

    Yeah because the Americans are so well behaved, there is no hooliganism involved in their sports. No, not in the stands anyway, recent baseball match the fans were the spectators when the players had a brawl (and you can actually call it brawl, compared to what happened in Columbus) on the field.

  15. jon.london colney says:

    West Ham boss Curbishley said: “The problem is we had five or six senior players missing and the week we’ve had in America and Toronto means, unfortunately, that some of the players have had to play most of the football.

    “I’ve not really been able to rest anyone. But we’ve enjoyed our week here.”

    HERE WE GO AGAIN !
    oh and the mirror says it was a shock defeat against the mls? really? no one has one against them yet and that includes chelski!!!

  16. Dan says:

    I’m American and a West Ham fan. I attended my first game at Upton Park last year (a day I will remember forever). I first drank wild amounts of ale before entering the stadium. When I arrived at my seat I cursed the old lady in front of me, grabbed the pretty lady’s bum beside me, and punched the guy behind me square in his privates….I figured that’s what West Ham fans do…right?

    Chris from Columbus has it all wrong. If he wants to teach his children about the beauty of international football then take them to Upton Park. He will see what it truly means to be a football fan. It is an incredible atmosphere and a passion that you cannot find at any sporting event anywhere here in the States.

  17. barry r says:

    i love west ham and will NEVER stop no matter what!!!!!

  18. Hornchurch hammer says:

    Iain,
    This is a poor article & totally one sided.
    If you insist on posting inflammatory stuff like this, at least show both sides.
    You need to take a look at a decent website such as Kumb.com, which has plenty of eye witnesses posting, showing a very different story!

  19. beckton says:

    For someone who works in the media Im surprised that you have joined in on the anti-West Ham bandwagon and not done a bit more research before making these comments.
    There were no English arrests, there is video clips on Youtube which show some of what took place and there many reports blaming US fans.
    Instead you have taken someone who may have there own agenda’s opinion as and that of some of the press who have got it in for us at the moment as gospel.

  20. Painter says:

    this is just a load of buulls**t! the americans have a long and well established history of desparately wanting to steal culture (positive and negative) from the rest of the world because they have no history of their own. the stupid, backward retards are trying to buy into a phenomenom that ended in this country decades ago. i even saw a blog from an american newspaper where they were talking about the icf?

    i dont know for sure because i dont know any of them and have never even seen any fighting at west ham (most home and away games since early 90’s) but i was under the impression that the icf disbanded in the 80’s??

    these sad american d***kheads havent got a clue – all they done was have a go at a load of ordinary lads watching a footbal game.

    p.s. from what i hear, the icf could go and take their entire state if they wanted to, these american idiots may well come to regret their nonsense in the future!

  21. claire says:

    A friend who was there confirms that the trouble wasn’t started by our fans.
    BTW, Ian, I am a regular attender at away games and have never seen any serious trouble or felt in the least thretened or frightened. (But I admit, I’ve never been to the New Den)

  22. Stu says:

    Yes US Hammer, but the point is that the scuffles didn’t involve anyone from England. It was a local problem. A bunch of pissed up yanks playing hoolies. Call those pricks whu fans? I don’t.

  23. Serbia I.C.F says:

    I live in Serbia.And it is known all over the world that West Ham has one of the most passionate supporters in the world! I think that is something that you should be proud of!,and not that you stand on Yanks side!! COYI AND Kosovo is Serbia.I love West Ham but the fans i loved first!! PEACE

  24. Mark in Singapore says:

    No matter where we are in the world, WE ARE WEST HAM. Or have you all forgotten the “Over Land and Sea” attitude? All reports now tend to agree that the trouble was not started by the fans in claret and blue, but of course some of the newspapers choose to ignore this. COME ON YOU IRONS !!

  25. DevoDevo says:

    I’m not sure if you are on fishing expeditions when you post rubbish like this or just looking to stimulate debate, but as with your ‘transfer’ rumour claims, you are wide of the mark once again.

    No wonder the British public have zero faith in their politicians?

  26. WHU Kim says:

    I have returned home from the US and Canada today and disgusted that you have tarred me and others who travelled to support the Hammers in this way. It’s too late now to address the lies you have spread so willingly so I’ll not bother commenting further.

  27. Thucydides says:

    Yes West Ham fans have a reputation for violence, a deserved one as well for all you rose coloured spectacle wearers out there. This reputation is worldwide. Check the plug elsewhere on this blog for yet another movie ensuring this reputation remains for sometime yet. So even in America there will be some willing to take on the infamous West Ham fans.
    A lot of you seem to be struggling with the idea that planes can transport people over the Atlantic, it is the holiday season after all!! Plus the official website was inundated with queries when the game was announced, from both sides of the Atlantic. So how can you be sure that every West Ham fan at the game wasn’t British? Were the West Ham fans involved in trouble in Palermo, the last time we played abroad, really Sicilian? Of course they weren’t. As for the notion of turning up at a game in a football shirt of a team i didn’t even support! that seems a bit strange to me, not to mention a waste of money, but that’s what some here are suggesting happened! Or is it, as i suspect, just an excuse for some to post hate filled comments about ‘johnny foreigner’.
    As for trial by ‘youtube’ i think i’ll pass on that ludicrous new pastime. The camera phone never lies and all that. Hmmmm.
    The truth is we have more than our share of neanderthal thugs, just like every other club around the world. And if they are wearing West Ham colours then like it or not they are representing West Ham. All we can do as decent fans is condemn them every time they show themselves, while promoting a positive image of the club ourselves. Which for me doesn’t include getting all tribal on a blog defending the indefensible.

  28. Ian the Hammer says:

    Sort it out Iain. Why would you even rise to this? Can’t believe you wouldn’t put this joker straight & leave it at that. Are you aware of the dreaded HSH (Hudson Street Hooligans) formed after the film Greet Street. There are 4 youtube video’s posted on KUMB which show the “MASS BRAWL”. I suggest you pop over there & see for yourself before you start apologizing to the world about our behavior. But do make sure your not of a sensitive nature, there are a lot of chants of “relegation” which I found most disturbing in the last one! The only weeping I’ve done is with laughter. In fact only one man – 34-year-old American Jeffrey Lutzo – was arrested and charged as a result of the incident so not quite sure what you mean when you say you “find it shameful when British so-called football fans shame their clubs and our country abroad.”

  29. Paul Nixon says:

    I was at the MLS All-Star Game in Toronto on Thursday. The West Ham fans were impeccably well behaved, despite being surrounded by an extremely partisan, boisterous, but well controlled and good natured crowd of mainly Toronto FC fans. It was a great atmosphere and a good game. In Columbus, there were 100 Crew fans involved with 30 West Ham fans. It takes both sides to tango, goes the saying.

    On another note: I cannot believe Curbishly’s comments on the MLS game re Carton Cole. I was there: I saw him, and I saw the team. Here’s a quick and dirty review of some of the players performances:

    Green: some poor kicking, good positional skills, but one goal was a little dubious.

    Ashton: a little slow, didn’t run for everything, but did score two nice goals. Looked VERY frustrated with his strike partner, for good reason. At one point, the sage thing to do would have been for Ashton to pass to his strike partner, but he chose an unlikely shot instead. I don’t blame him.

    Parker: a human dynamo, firm tackler and never stopped moving.

    Ferdinand: spectacular – always in the right place at the right time, solid and skilful.

    Cole: Absolute waste of space. The MLS allstars have him and Niel to thank for the win: Cole is a lumbering, uncoordinated visionless player. But for one move – setting up Ashton’s first goal, he was an absolute liability! I have never seen him live before, but why he was playing for 87 minutes was an absolute mystery to me. There’s nothing there, but far worse – bar two or three occasions, his first touch was SO poor that it always ended up in the oppositions possession. He concerns me; what’s Curbishly thinking??

    Widdowson: completely out shadowed by Beckham who he was marking. While I appreciate his up and coming status, and the need to play younger academy prospects, he looked completely lost at sea.

    Neill: slow, out of position (so much so, that at the start of the second half, I thought West ham were playing 3 at the back and he had been moved forward to right wing…). The sprightly MLS players found it much easier to enter the right side of West Ham’s 18 yard box than the other side… and they routinely focused on Neil as a weak link. The game would have been a draw but for his woefully inadequate tackle which led to the penalty.

    Boa Morte: came on as a sub: played hard and fast and caused problems. Lots of effort, crunching tackles and commitment. A beautiful strike, missing by inches at one point in the second half. If he plays like that, and is used as a sub, there will be no complaints by WHUFC fans next season.

    Etherington: low profile, some skill, but easily kept out of the game for the most part. Subbed off.

    Curbishly: poor decisions regarding subs: where was Bellars and Noble. The match would have been a victory for WHUFC with those two on the pitch. Hopefully this was an experiment and not his “Best Effort” to win the match; otherwise, WHUFC are in for a rough season.

    Just my ten cents worth.

    Paul.

  30. nr2iron says:

    I am just back form north america so i have come onto this late but after recieving text messages from england after the game in Colombus informing me that the trouble made major news back here i have to put it all into perspective,about a dozen AMERICAN west ham supporters entered the home end of Colombus crew and by all accounts ONE person threw some beer about and the crew took offence and backed them up the stand until they had reached the top and the opening when they decided to steam in and pushed our lot out onto the concourse where old bill arrived and teargassed some of them,we sat in the same stand but the other end watching it all and to be honest the numbers were very small,outside there was a large police presence but our group of about 10-15 soon found cabs and headed downtown for some beer. There was no sign of trouble anywhere else that i am aware of.
    One or two of the yanks who follow west ham obviously have been influenced by the books and films of our following and tried to re-act the hazy days of the 70s/80s but the vast majority were just genuine football supporters out to enjoy their day of watching their team play in their homeland.

  31. The Headmaster says:

    Ian – there are times when you just need to admit that you made an error of judgement. This is one.
    Addending a justification in response to the overwhelming criticism is not going to cut the mustard this time.

  32. Iain Dale says:

    No, Dave. This is a blog. I don’t expect people to agree with me all the time. If they did, it would be a pretty boring place, wouldn’t it?

  33. West_Ham says:

    I wasn’t at the game and don’t intend to over-speculate about the events that unfolded.

    I do, however, intend to share some of my findings on the brawl that broke out at Crew. Being an American site it was discussed at length on BigSoccer (no passive advertising intended Ian) between both sets of fans and it seems to me that it was the Americans doing all the shouting and criticising. The incident is on youtube:

    Be sure to watch all 4 parts, particularly the 4th where, once again it seems to be all Americans shouting the abuse. It has also been reported that this is the second incident that Crew fans have been involved in this season. The other being against New England on May 24th.

    One set of comments I have read on a fan forum from a fan who was at the game was:

    “The many West Ham fans that came to Columbus, cheered loudly and supported your team to a great win over our Crew: well done. You represented your club loudly and proudly. Thanks for coming and we would love to have you back anytime.

    To the hooligan-wannabe douchebags that came to Columbus only to cause trouble with our supporters: I hope you’re enjoying your jail cell right now. And before someone retorts with the “That’s just the way we support our team over here in England,” I was told by stadium security that every one of the people arrested this evening at the stadium is an American.”

    I am not trying to absolve West Ham fans from blame but just simply post my findings. So far they have overwhelmingly blamed Americans for the ‘brawl’ including some Americans who were wearing West Ham colours.

    We have no wars with Columbus so it doesn’t make sense to me that English West Ham fans would attack Columbus fans. The chances are that a few American fans fancied themselves as Mr Frodo and tried to reform their own little ICF. Pathietic really.

    Like with most incidents involving West Ham fans nowadays when the truth is uncovered it usually ends up being quite different to how the press reported it.

  34. The Headmaster says:

    Agreed, Iain. Duly chastised!

  35. Glenn Roeder says:

    sounds pretty typical of West ham to me. Crappy little club.

  36. Al the Hammer says:

    Iain

    I was at the games and the truth is it seemed to me that it was some wannabes from Columbus trying to make a new movie with themselves as the stars. In my view if it really was us kicking off it would have been proper so lets thank god for small mercies.

    The appeared gullible i.e green street blah blah unlike the Toronto fans plus Columbus are in trouble for racist abuse so maybe their halo has slipped a little

    cheers

  37. croatian says:

    that yankie is bullshit you re so cool and I love your club and green street hooligans great movie.I wonna learn song West Ham till I die next part of song i dont now (sorry about this speaking I dont now speak very well) but I now Im forever blowing a bubbles.Im your men from Croatia. Domagoj.P

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