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Journalist defends 'co-ordinated attack' accusation

Filed: Friday, 16th March 2018
By: Staff Writer

A BBC journalist has claimed that more than 20 attempts to enter the field of play during Saturday's 3-0 defeat against Burnley were thwarted by stadium security.

According to writer Simon Stone, who was sharing his thoughts via twitter, "stewards repelled 85% of the attempts" by supporters to get on to the pitch, before adding that the incidents weren't "spontaneous" but "planned", involving "in excess of 100 people" and "co-ordinated through mobile phones".

Given that only four supporters managed to enter the field of play, that would mean approximately 27 people in total tried to encroach onto the pitch.

And, as anyone who had attended the stadium since West Ham moved to Stratford in 2016 will attest, it is virtually impossible to get a phone signal inside the ground - let alone coordinate a protest campaign involving more than 100.

Naturally, those figures and explanations left many who were actually present at the match questioning Stone's logic and information. Consequently a number of West Ham supporters challenged the authenticity of his comments, urging the journalist to check his sources or remove his tweet.

However Mr Stone refused to bow to pressure and instead defended his version of events via a series of additional posts.

Stone, right, pictured recently during a live social media feed

"I did not make it up. Info came via credible source," he replied. "I had no reason to think it was incorrect. Secondly, there is official statement for Safety Advisory Group - which had the power to close stadium.

"[They] said there was 'unprecedented level of disorder at multiple locations across stadium, would have been almost impossible for any security team to manage' + security op was 'stretched significantly by scale + volume of incidents' but most attempted pitch incursions were stopped.

"All I did was try find out what the 'unprecedented level of disorder' was. What I reported was what I was told by someone who is in a position to know and stands by info. Re mobile signal issue - which I accept - told major use was outside ground before game to get people in.

"Those who think [the] SAG statement is false are entitled to that view. But it is an official statement and all those present agreed with its release. CCTV evidence has been passed to police."

Following Stone's comments, several supporters have written to the BBC to complain.

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