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Those Lovable Eastenders


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From the southeastern corner of Crew Stadium came the West Ham United chants: "East! East! East Lon-don!"

From the northeastern came the answer: "Co-lum-bus! Co-lum-bus!"

Yesterday's war of words turned physical at halftime of the Crew's exhibition match against West Ham, when a handful of West Ham fans ventured into the heart of the Crew's supporters section.

A scuffle broke out and stadium security quickly pulled the West Ham interlopers to the stadium concourse. The next few minutes were frantic.

While the West Ham fans were removed to a stair landing on the back side of the stadium, supporters of both teams gathered on the concourse. Several punches were thrown and one West Ham fan was thrown to the ground by security and handcuffed by police, who used pepper spray or mace to help break up the melee.

Police couldn't confirm the number of arrests and Crew vice president of operations Scott DeBolt said he would have no details "until I get a report, which might not be till (today)."

More fans were seen handcuffed in the parking lots after the game.

Shortly after halftime, West Ham fans unfurled a banner in the stadium's south end that read "ICF, 30 Years Undefeated."

The Inter City Firm, or ICF, is one of the most notorious hooligan groups in England.

Peter Witham, a fan of the English team Arsenal, said he was on his way to the restroom when he got hit with chemical irritant used by police.

"I've never experienced anything like that in my life and I've been going to English Premier League games for forever," he said.

One of the fans who entered the Crew's supporters section was not ejected despite being detained by security for several minutes.

"We just went over for some tea and crumpets and (the Crew fans) got mad," said the man, who identified himself as Dave Simpson from London.

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That has got to be a wind up!

But personally speaking about West H*m supporters (and I know plenty),I can safely generalise them as a bunch of pikeys!

They are unsociable mugs even when following England abroad,they stick close together and they are the only supporters who dont mingle with other English supporters.

Its a dopey macho state of mind.

Generally everyone else gets on following England,but not this bunch of tw*ts!

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I've been to a couple of MLS games and in general the atmosphere is pretty harmless. To cause trouble like that really shows the lifeforms that come out of East London.

You don't mess with security, especially in the US.

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