Jeff Hendrick praised for classy gesture to young West Ham fan during ugly London Stadium scenes
Saturday was a shameful day for West Ham United Football Club.
Not only were the Hammers sucked further into the Premier League's relegation dogfight after a 3-0 defeat at home to Burnley, animosity towards the people running the club took over.
There were ugly scenes. Some fans managed to elude stewards at the London Stadium before invading the pitch. One of them was grappled to the floor by West Ham captain Mark Noble. Another disgruntled supporter tried to plant the corner flag in the centre circle.
Up in the stands, swathes of West Ham fans confronted co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan, who were escorted out of the ground for their own safety.
It was all very unsavoury but Burnley certainly retained their dignity during a dark chapter. The away side's coaching staff invited young West Ham fans onto the substitutes' bench to avoid the ensuing chaos in the stands.
— Johnny Phillips (@SkyJohnnyP) March 10, 2018
That was a lovely gesture in itself but Republic of Ireland international Jeff Hendrick went the extra mile to ensure that a young West Ham supporter had positive memories of the afternoon.
A spectator got in touch with Stan Collymore after the match, asking the talkSPORT commentator to pass on a message to Hendrick.
"Was just wonder (sic) if you could get a message to Jeff Hendricks (sic) at Burnley please. During the trouble at West Ham he looked after my son and gave his boots. He turned a bad day into a magical one and I am incredibly grateful."
It was a lovely gesture from Hendrick on an afternoon when generosity and compassion were not so prevalent.
— Stan Collymore (@StanCollymore) March 11, 2018
But while Hendrick made the day of one West Ham fan, it was a regrettable day for those involved with the club.
While Sullivan and Gold left the directors' box, Trevor Brooking remained. As he watched on as his beloved club (he made over 500 appearances for West Ham between 1966-94) got sucked into the toxicity of their dissatisfied fanbase, it was difficult not to feel sorry for him.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live’s Sportsweek programme, Brooking revealed that Sullivan was hit by a coin during the game: “I think a coin did hit David Sullivan, his glasses. I didn't see it myself but I did have that confirmed, which was part of the reason why the people in the directors' box had to go inside to save any more problems like that.”
“The actual level of aggression was something I couldn't believe West Ham fans would get involved with,” he added. “A lot of the stewards who are on duty on matchdays are not West Ham people - they're actually stadium people and sometimes until they get a job there haven't had any experience dealing with football crowds.
“They were quite young and couldn't deal with the aggression they were faced with.”