West Ham co-owner: racist fan caused party trouble

Published May. 17, 2011 12:36 p.m. ET

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan on Tuesday blamed the trouble that marred the club's official end-of-season dinner on a fan who racially abused one of the players.

The club held the party at Grosvenor House Hotel in central London on Monday night despite being relegated from the Premier League just a day earlier and still having one game left to play.

Sullivan said British media reports of a mass brawl, which newspapers said was sparked by Demba Ba's refusal to sign an autograph, were inaccurate and that the incident had been sparked by a lone fan.

''It was one individual who had too much to drink, sadly a problem in British society,'' Sullivan said Tuesday. ''A player was racially abused by the same drunken supporter, which is not acceptable.

''Sadly one drunken supporter let the club down.''

Police were called to the hotel but did not arrest anyone.

''The whole incident has been blown out of all proportion,'' Sullivan said in an interview with Sky Sports News.


West Ham parted with manager Avram Grant after Sunday's 3-2 loss at Wigan confirmed relegation. The club must still host Sunderland in this weekend's final round.