West Ham warn supporters ahead of Spurs clash
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West Ham warn supporters ahead of Spurs clash

WESTHAMFANSWest Ham have urged their fans to behave during the derby showdown with Tottenham on Wednesday night.

The fixture has been marred in the past by incidents of anti-Semitic chanting as well as violence, with one man stabbed before the meeting at White Hart Lane in November.

The Upton Park return promises to be a fiery encounter with the stakes high for both sides – Spurs are challenging for the title while West Ham still have an outside chance of a top-four finish.

And Hammers manager Slaven Bilic wants the match to be memorable for what happens on the pitch, rather than off it.

“It’s a big match for both clubs,” he said. “No matter where you are standing in the table, or whether it’s the first game of the season or the last game of the season, it’s a big, big derby.

“It should be a good game because of the position they are in, and we are in.

“The message is I would like the fans to be behind us, to be behind the team, behind the club in a positive way.

“The fans are ambassadors of our club and they can show the world that we are big, great and a polite club.”

Co-chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold also issued a statement warning supporters that they will not tolerate vile chanting.

They said: “It promises to be an extra special occasion, with two sets of passionate fans in a capacity crowd getting behind their team.

“Therefore, any inappropriate behaviour is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the club, whether it be in the stadium, the journey to or from the game or any other public place.

“Working with the Metropolitan Police, the club will continue to adopt a simple zero tolerance policy towards any form of anti-social or discriminatory behaviour and any fan found to be acting inappropriately – including racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic behaviour – will be punished to the full extent of the law and banned from attending future matches.”

Jewish Leadership Council CEO Simon Johnson said: “There is a long tradition of clubs reaching out to their supporters and discouraging racism in advance of high profile fixtures involving Spurs. The Leagues and The FA encourage clubs and supporter groups to take steps to reduce tensions and avoid racist chanting from occurring. To that end, I welcome West Ham’s intervention and hope that it will be positively received and enable the match to be played and watched in the right spirit, with no racist or discriminatory behaviour.”

On the pitch Bilic could welcome back striker Diafra Sakho after three months out injured. But defender Sam Byram is suspended so winger Michail Antonio, last weekend’s goal hero in the win over Sunderland, may have to start at right-back.

Antonio’s Homer Simpson-style celebration against the Black Cats raised a laugh – but Bilic insists that is where the comparisons end.

“I’m a big fan of The Simpsons but I wouldn’t connect him with Homer Simpson,” he smiled. “They are completely different. Homer is lazy, Antonio is a workaholic.”

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