A visiting Chelsea supporter who alleges he was struck by a coin thrown by a West Ham fan at the former Olympic Stadium on Wednesday night has criticised the attempted segregation outside the ground.
The Football Association has launched an investigation into the violence which marred West Ham’s EFL Cup London derby win over Chelsea.
Police made seven arrests after skirmishes broke out towards the end of the Hammers’ impressive 2-1 fourth-round win as police and stewards battled to maintain segregation behind the goal being defended by West Ham.
Coins, seats and other objects appeared to be thrown between rival supporters, with the Hammers and Chelsea condemning the unsavoury scenes which are now under investigation by the FA.
Steve Cutting claims he was hit by a coin thrown after Cheikhou Kouyate’s 11th-minute goal.
Cutting, a Chelsea supporter for more than 40 years, told Press Association Sport: “As soon as they scored there was abuse being hurled over and we were watching the game and all of a sudden I felt a massive thump on the side of my head, thinking it was a bottle or a stone.
“I put my hand up to my head and realised I’d been cut. I looked down and there were some coins, 50p and pound coins.”
West Ham, Chelsea, the FA, EFL and Metropolitan Police condemned the violence in the stadium.
Cutting does not believe the separation outside the ground was adequate.
“Coming out of the stadium was a free for all,” he added.
“To get back to Stratford station was ridiculous. It was running battles again, groups of people fighting and trying to get to each other.
“There’s no real clear proper way to get people back to the station safely.”
Cutting was in attendance with friends, including Stuart, who took a photo of Cutting’s bloodstained head and posted it on Twitter.
“From Stratford station to that stadium is unpoliceable,” Stuart, who did not wish to share his surname, told Press Association Sport.
“It was almost like anarchy last night.”
The Metropolitan Police added that antisocial behaviour legislation was utilised prior to the match to order 30 people to disperse.
West Ham vowed to punish any perpetrators identified, while Chelsea have a history of taking the sternest available action on incidents of violence.
A FA statement issued on Thursday morning read: “The FA is investigating crowd disturbances at last night’s EFL Cup match between West Ham United and Chelsea.
“We are in dialogue with all relevant authorities.”
The League Cup is organised by the English Football League.
An EFL spokesman said: “The EFL strongly condemns the behaviour of a small minority of fans involved in the distasteful and unwelcome incidents during last’s night’s EFL Cup match between West Ham United and Chelsea.
“We are currently liaising with both clubs, the Football Association and Metropolitan Police as they look to identify those involved and take appropriate and decisive action.”
The Hammers have been occupants of the London Stadium for just nine competitive games after leaving Upton Park in May – and 23 fans have already been banned this season.
There had already been disturbances in the stands and outside the ground at some of West Ham’s previous home matches, and a series of measures were put in place ahead of a first London derby.
The capacity is capped at 57,000 and 45,957 were in attendance, along with a heavy police presence. Chelsea sold out their allocation of 5,182 tickets.
The clubs appealed to supporters for the tie to pass peacefully, but the entertaining match was overshadowed.
Chelsea beat West Ham at Stamford Bridge in the opening Premier League match of the season, with the return scheduled for early March.
Representatives from the Football Supporters’ Federation, which represents fans in England and Wales, attended Wednesday night’s match, after monitoring events at the stadium this season.
The FSF hopes to work with the clubs and authorities in any post-match debrief.
A FSF spokesman said: “We have been monitoring the situation at the London Stadium all season and FSF representatives attended the match last night to observe the matchday operation.
“Stewarding and policing operations need to be robust, proportionate and considered in order to reduce the potential for disorder. We will continue to engage with the authorities to reach this point.
“The FSF reaffirms our commitment to the eradication of violence from football and would never condone behaviour such as that witnessed among a small minority of fans last night.”