WEST HAM UNITED are preparing a case to fight all the charges resulting from the bitter Carling Cup clash with Millwall back in August, WRITES DAVE EVANS. The FA have granted both the Hammers and the Lions an extra week before they need to appeal, and wit
WEST HAM UNITED are preparing a case to fight all the charges resulting from the bitter Carling Cup clash with Millwall back in August, WRITES DAVE EVANS.
The FA have granted both the Hammers and the Lions an extra week before they need to appeal, and with Millwall already going on the record to state that they will contest all the charges, West Ham are set to do the same when the deadline arrives on Monday.
The Hammers defence, even to the charge that they failed to stop their supporters running on to the pitch, is likely to be that they followed police instructions to the letter on the night.
Guidelines were put down by the Metropolitan Police before the cup tie on how to steward inside the ground, and the club are adamant that they did everything they could.
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Millwall have been scathing in their response to the FA charges with their chief executive Andy Ambler declaring: "We will be pleading not guilty to all charges and defending out position vigorously.
"It is a frustration to us that we are committing significant resources of time, energy and money towards having to defend ourselves in the face of these charges.
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"It is our contention that the charges are not justified."
That sort of statement is unlikely to impress the FA disciplinary panel. Millwall fans ripped up 300 seats at Upton Park on the night, many being thrown on to the pitch, while a toilet block at the away end was also destroyed.
West Ham are also likely to be found guilty, but they will perhaps hope that their mitigating evidence will lead to a more lenient penalty than the prospect of having to play a game behind closed doors - something that would cost them hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Police have been studying CCTV footage since that August night and so far 29 people have been arrested, 20 have been charged, six remain on bail, while two others have been released with no further charge and one was cautioned for pitch invasion.
More arrests are expected over the next few days after the police issued another 15 photographs of West Ham fans they want to interview.