Even before Manchester United stumbled to a 3-2 defeat at West Ham in the penultimate game of the Premier League season, their team bus was attacked on the way to West Ham's Upton Park Stadium.
Objects were thrown as the bus reached the stadium for West Ham's last ever game at the Boleyn Ground, ahead of its move to the Olympic Stadium next season. Video footage showed damage to sections of the tinted external windows, while the clear internal windows appeared intact.
Police said one of its officers and a member of the public were injured in the incidents, while the kick-off was delayed by 45 minutes. During the game, a water bottle was thrown at United goalkeeper David de Gea.
The Football Association and police both said they would investigate the incident. During the game, United goalkeeper David de Gea appeared to have bottles thrown at him after his team's first goal. "The FA strongly condemns the unsavoury incidents this evening involving both the Manchester United team coach outside WestHam United's Boleyn Ground and objects thrown from a section of the home support during the game," it said. "We will work closely with both clubs and the Metropolitan Police to fully investigate these matters."
A short video surfaced on Twitter which seemed to be filmed by midfielder Jesse Lingard and showed Manchester United's players lying on the floor of the bus. Lingard could be seen pulling faces at the camera and shouting "Mummy, mummy!" as players shouted, laughed and swore. Phil Jones, Michael Carrick and Adnan Januzaj, all wearing their club suits, were seen squeezed together on the floor in the aisle between the seats.
Club captain Wayne Rooney later said the vehicle was "smashed up". "We know it's a big game for WestHam, a big night for them, leaving the stadium, but I'm sure WestHam as a club will be disappointed with what the fans have done," Rooney told Sky Sports television. "It wasn't nice," he said.
Manager Louis van Gaal refused to blame the incident for the loss, but admitted it may have affected some young players. "What do I have to tell? The images tell everything. The way we have been received is not the proper way. I have a long experience in football, and there are players who don't have the experience," he said.
However, West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan blamed the visitors for not having arrived early. "I don't understand why United couldn't get here at four o'clock. They could have got here early. They knew it would be busy. It's crazy. There was congestion in the street and they couldn't get the coach in. There were people around the coach, but there was no attack on the coach. If you check the coach there won't be any damage to it," he said.
Police said one officer and one member of the public were injured, but there were no arrests. "We are aware that a number of items were thrown towards Man Utd's coach this evening," the Metropolitan Police football unit said. "Where criminal offences are committed, we will seek to work with the clubs to bring those that break the law to court."
With agency inputs
Published Date: May 11, 2016 02:45 am | Updated Date: May 11, 2016 02:45 pm