West Ham joint-chairman David Sullivan has apologised to Manchester United for the attack on their team bus and pledged to hand life bans to those that marred the last-ever match at Upton Park.
Tuesday’s enthralling 3-2 comeback win was a fitting send-off to the Boleyn Ground after 112 years, although the emotional farewell was overshadowed somewhat by ugly scenes outside the ground.
Kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes after United’s coach arrived late to the ground, with bottles and other missiles flung at the team bus on its approach to the stadium.
Sullivan had initially blamed the Red Devils for the delay to kick-off, with the Hammers co-chairman saying “if you check the coach there won’t be any damage to it”.
Those comments were contrary to the images of smashed windows and led Sullivan to release a statement on Wednesday in which he reiterated West Ham’s vow to hand down life bans to the culprits.
“If we were to have scripted how our final game at the Boleyn would have played out, it wouldn’t have been much different to last night’s match,” the joint-chairman said.
“The West Ham family then all celebrated our legends and former players together in what was a truly fitting ceremony to say goodbye to our home of 112 years.
“Sadly, the actions of very small minority of people outside the ground prior to kick-off risks overshadowing those celebrations.
“I want to be clear – their behaviour was completely unacceptable and does not represent our club or our values.
“When I was asked about the incident prior to yesterday’s game, I was unaware of the damage that had occurred to the Manchester United team bus.
“I want to apologise to Manchester United for that damage and assure them that we will be doing all we can to track down those responsible and ban them for life.
“This morning I have already tasked my senior team to work with the police to identify them as their behaviour belongs in the past and not in a future that promises so much for our great club.
“I truly hope that in due course we will look back on what happened in the stadium rather than what happened outside and remember our farewell to the Boleyn for all the right reasons.”