Filed: Wednesday, 7th March 2012
By: Staff Writer
Supporters are being advised not to stand for prolonged periods during tonight's Championship clash with Watford after a handful of fans received warning letters from the club threatening to ban them from the Boleyn Ground.
Around ten supporters, all of whom are understood to be season ticket holders in the corner of the Trevor Brooking Stand that meets the West Stand were sent a copy of the letter - headed 'Final Warning- Standing' - last week.
The letter threatened to withdraw access to the stadium should they continue to refrain from being seated, with the Police to be advised of any such banning order. However one of the handful of supporters who received a copy of the letter following the home clash with Crystal Palace is furious at being picked out.
The season ticket holder - who asked not to be named - told KUMB.com he was angered not just because he was one of a select few to receive the warning, but also because once he complied with the steward's demands to be seated he was unable to see much of the ensuing game due to fellow fans standing in front of him - many of whom continued to stand.
"There was defintely people standing in front of me," the fan told KUMB.com. "The guy in front of me is about 6'2" and 14-15 stone!
"I was asked as I took my seat to sit, if possible. We agreed that if everyone in front - and to the side, due to the angle we are at - sat then so would we. That was it; I was not asked [to sit] again during the game and neither was anyone around us. I have never received any other warnings in the time I have held that seat."
SIT DOWN OR ELSE: the letter issued by the club last week
The problem, claims the fan, was due mainly to one particular over-zealous steward randomly picking out supporters from those standing, rather than beginning at the front and working backwards.
"I saw [the steward] picking on groups in the middle of large standing areas," the season ticket holder continued. "We were joking at the time that she may have been a Millwall fan on a power trip!
"But I am annoyed that there has been no dialogue with the club. And where does it end? If i stand to celebrate a goal and am one of the last to sit, will that be used against me? It's the run-in to an important season and I can't believe they are doing this."
West Ham told us that they have no option but to comply with the requirements of the football authorities who banned standing in the nation's top divisions following the reccomendations made by the Taylor Report back in 1990.
Although the club would prefer not to ban any supporters, they too face sanctions from the authorities if it is deemed that they are not taking appropriate measures in order to prevent standing at the Boleyn Ground.
Moves to relax the rules and reintroduce safe standing areas at football grounds recently led to 145 Members of Parliament signing an Early Day Motion calling for the debate to be re-opened.
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