Toon fans condemned for trouble

West Ham have been officially confirmed as new tenants for the

Olympic Stadium after a deal was finally agreed on Friday.

The 99-year lease was announced by the London Legacy Development

Corporation (LLDC) along with details of the revamped stadium.

The Stratford venue will be transformed into a 54,000-seater

stadium set to cost ?150m, and the Hammers are expected to move in

from August 2016.

Negotiations between the LLDC and West Ham have been long and

tortuous since the club was named the preferred bidder in December,

but with an agreement finally reached, West Ham have been given the

right to use the stadium for all their matches under a 99-year

deal, giving the club long-term security.

The deal will protect public interest should West Ham’s owners

sell the club for a large profit on the back of the move to the

stadium, with the LLDC guaranteed a significant cut.

The stadium itself will have retractable seats, allowing the

2017 World Athletics Championships to take place as planned.

In addition, the deal opens the way for the stadium to be used

as a venue for the 2015 Rugby World Cup.

The plans for the future of West Ham’s current Upton Park home

and the surrounding area remain confidential.

West Ham joint-chairman David Gold said: “This is very exciting,

I’m thrilled that we’ve signed this deal today. There’s a new

exciting future for West Ham United FC.

“It will generate jobs when the stadium is renovated, then jobs

for the future ongoing.”

Joint-chairman David Sullivan added: “We really feel privileged

to be going into this stadium. We’ve had 13 sell-out games in a row

and we need a bigger stadium.

“We want football to be affordable for the working class man and

that’s why we want a bigger stadium.

“This is a win-win situation for London, for the legacy and for

West Ham United Football Club.”

London mayor Boris Johnson said: “This Olympic Stadium will now

be the home of a great London football club, that gave us Bobby

Moore, Geoff Hurst…

“The deal is great for West Ham, for London, for football. We’re

moving the seats, we’re moving the roof but we’re keeping London’s

great Olympic Stadium.”

West Ham vice-chairman Karren Brady added: “When you come to

this stadium at the start of 2016 it will look and feel like West

Ham’s ground. It will look and feel like a football stadium.”

Gillingham will hand late fitness tests to four players but Andy

Frampton definitely misses out as he starts a three-match

suspension.

Midfielder Frampton saw red in the late stages of Tuesday’s 1-1

draw at Rochdale and now misses the next three games as the Gills

aim to consolidate their lead at the top of the table.

Chris Whelpdale was forced off midway through the first half at

Spotland and now faces a fitness battle, as does his replacement

Charlie Lee.

Matters went from bad to worse in midweek as fellow midfielder

Bradley Dack was then substituted due to injury after the

break.

Forward Myles Weston will also again be assessed having missed

the last five matches with an ankle problem, while Gillingham have

been unable to extend Michael Richardson’s loan spell and he has

now returned to Newcastle.

Accrington will be without top scorer Romauld Boco.

Boco is away on international duty with Benin for their World

Cup qualifier against Algeria, giving manager Leam Richardson a

place to fill in attack.

Padraig Amond is back in training following an abductor problem

and is hoping to earn a place on the bench.

Defender Nicky Hunt is definitely ruled out as he continues to

struggle with a hamstring injury.

In-form Lee Molyneux will start along with Francis Jeffers, who

scored his first goals in English football in over four years in

the 4-0 win against AFC Wimbledon.

Stanley are looking to record three consecutive league victories

for the first time since December 2011 but face a stern test

against Martin Allen’s table toppers.

The 19-year-old extended his deal until summer 2015 but most of

the Motherwell first team are out of contract at the end of this

season.

The midfielder, who has made 41 appearances for the club, told

MFCTV: “I am very happy to sign and I hope some of my team-mates do

so too.

“I’ve played quite a fair bit this season, it’s something like

seven starts and 14 from the bench. My aim is to keep working hard

and hopefully become a regular for the first-team.”

One of those players who are out of contract, Nicky Law, has

assured Motherwell fans he is fully committed to the club after

being linked with a move to Rangers.

Rangers manager Ally McCoist has admitted interest in the player

but Law felt too much was made of the issue in the media.

The 24-year-old said: “I said that I’ve had no contact from

anyone and that is still the case now.

“I also told the reporter that I will be speaking to Motherwell

and will probably take their offer more serious than anyone. I’ve

had two great years here, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and we’ve had

some great success.

“The last thing I want is for the fans, who have been so good to

me, to think I am not committed.

“We have got seven huge games left and that’s my only focus at

the moment, giving 110% and hope the supporters see that.”

The fans disrupted amateur matches being played near the away

end of Wigan Athletic’s DW Stadium by running on the pitches,

dropping their trousers, ripping out the nets and trying to break

the goals by hanging on the crossbars, a local official said.

They later boasted about the trouble they caused – including

stealing a ?65 match ball – on social networking sites.

The Premier League game on Sunday was won by the home side 2-1,

but the result has been overshadowed by the fall-out from a tackle

on Newcastle’s Massaido Haidara by Callum McManaman.

The young Frenchman was stretchered off after the Wigan

striker’s challenge, which has been widely condemned but will not

be punished by the FA.

Before the match, 250-300 Newcastle fans caused chaos after they

got off coaches and wandered across to watch Wigan Cosmos play AFC

Leigh Centurions in the South Lancashire Counties League, a Cosmos

spokesman said.

“As the supporters spilled out of the coaches, which were not

managed by the club or police officials, they proceeded to watch

the game from the touchline,” the official claimed.

“Some fans then chose to run on to the field of play, dropping

their pants, causing the game to be stopped.”

The situation then magnified as a crowd around 250-300 Newcastle

United fans followed suit.

“Although good-natured at first, the fans then started to rip

out corner flags as they ran over the pitches and also took the

match ball.

“We never recovered the ball, though we did manage to recover

the corner flags.

“The so-called fans then decided to charge over to the adjacent

pitch where Goose Green Reserves were entertaining Olympic AFC in

another South Lancashire Counties fixture.

“They again began by ripping out their corner flags.

“The fans then charged into the goalmouth, jumping on to the

goalposts in an attempt to snap the crossbar with the sheer numbers

clambering on them.

“They then started to rip the nets from the posts, tearing them

and trying to take them. Our players helped to retrieve the

nets.

“After spending quite some time singing and hanging on the

goalposts, the fans then ran back over to our pitch whilst singing

‘We’re Newcastle United, we’ll do what we want’.

“The official claimed more damage was done to nets and corner

flags.

“Once again I would like to stress that, despite the obvious

scenes developing, no support was provided from the authorities,”

the club spokesman said.

“This incident was a very distasteful experience that lasted for

over 40 minutes and with families, dads, granddads and youngsters

all watching the games as well as some quite experienced players

who were all left shaken.

“Cosmos put the cost of replacing the ball and the damaged nets

at ?200 – a tiny amount for a Premier League side but a lot of

money for an amateur non-profit side, the spokesman said.

He added: “The fact that these same fans have taken to Twitter

and YouTube to boast about the incident and in fact revelling in

it, showing no signs of remorse, is possibly even more

disturbing.

“Not only have they cost my football team a great deal of

expense but they have shown a total disrespect to football

itself.

“Pictures of Geordie fans hanging on posts and walking on the

pitches appear on the Cosmos club website.