AZ Alkmaar issues 43 stadium bans after West Ham fan attack

AZ Alkmaar issues 43 stadium bans after West Ham fans were attacked by hooded thugs during the teams’ Europe Conference League semi-final… with 14 supporters arrested after Dutch police issued deadline to surrender on Tuesday

  • The Eredivise side hinted that the ban could be just the first punishment
  • Holland has seen a dozen serious incidents of football violence this year 
  • Who are the AZ Ultras who attacked fans… but were held back by just two fans?

Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar has issued 43 stadium bans to ultras in the wake of the violence that marred the Dutch side’s Europa Conference League semi-final against West Ham. 

Dutch hooligans clad in black hoodies tried to storm up the stairs at the AFAS Stadium and break into the away hospitality seats where the West Ham players’ families and friends had watched the 1-0 win on the night. 

A small handful of travelling supporters bravely fought off the flood of ultras at the top of the stairwell, forcing the onslaught back down the stairs. 

Players including Said Benrahma, Lucas Paqueta, Michail Antonio, and Flynn Downes were also involved with the fray as they tried to ensure the supporters’ safety. 

Dutch police gave the hooligans involved in the fracas until Tuesday to hand themselves in or risk having their faces broadcast on Opsporing Verzocht, the Dutch equivalent of Crimestoppers, after 16 of the thugs involved had surrendered to the authorities.  

AZ Alkmaar has handed out a number of stadium bans after last week’s fan violence after their Europa Conference League semi-final against West Ham

A small handful of fans had to hold off a wave of hooligans seeking to breach the away stands 

Riot police were drafted in by the Dutch authorities, the incident just the latest in a series as instances of football violence rise in the Netherlands

The club announced that the bans at AZ’s ground were by no means the final punishment that the ultras could still face as they issued a statement on the events which read:  ‘AZ has now issued 43 stadium bans in response to last week’s disturbances. 

‘It concerns visitors who were involved in the misconduct surrounding the European semi-final in Alkmaar. 

‘It is by no means excluded that even more local stadium bans will be imposed.’ 

The club’s statement added that the Dutch police’s criminal investigation was ungoing, with 14 people arrested so far. 

Ahead of side’s Sunday match against PSV Eindhoven – their final tie of the season – AZ have been discussing possible additional measures with ‘the relevant authorities’ to ensure similar scenes aren’t repeated. 

‘The starting point is that the many thousands of well-intentioned AZ supporters must be able to experience a pleasant match,’ the statement added.   

Chris Knoll, known  as ‘Knollsy’, bravely held off Dutch hooligans at the top of the stairwell

On Thursday, a custom-made figure of the notorious West Ham supporter sold on eBay for over £6000

The statement comes just hours after a commemorative action figure in the image of hardy supporter Chris ‘Knollsy’ Knoll – dubbed the ‘Angel of Alkmaar’ – sold on eBay for over £6,000. 

The father-of-four almost-singlehandedly helped stem the tide of advancing ultras, and has since been celebrated with a standing ovation as he watched West Ham’s 3-1 victory over Leeds on Sunday, and a ticket to the final in Prague on May 24. 

David Moyes’ side will face Fiorentina in an unexpected re-run of the West Ham’s last final in Europe, the 1975 Anglo-Italian Cup. 

The Serie A outfit will be contesting their last chance at silverware this season too, after losing 2-1 to Inter Milan in the Coppa Italia final on Wednesday.   

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