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West Ham Premier League return with Tottenham chosen for Monday night kick-off

Fears over West Ham v Spurs as return match is moved to 8pm kick-off amid tensions over offensive chants

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UPDATED:

16:59 GMT, 4 December 2012

February's Premier League match between West Ham and Tottenham has been moved to a Monday evening, despite offensive and anti-semitic chanting by Hammers fans in the return fixture last month.

The match at Upton Park will be shown live Sky Sports at 8pm on Monday February 25.

The decision to move the fixture comes just a few weeks after a match between the sides at White Hart Lane, played at 4pm on a Sunday afternoon, was marred by offensive chanting from the away end.

Flashpoint:The last match between Tottenham and West Ham was marred by offensive chanting

Flashpoint:The last match between Tottenham and West Ham was marred by offensive chanting

West Ham fans chanted 'Viva Lazio' and sang songs about former Lazio and Hammers player Paolo Di Canio to taunt Tottenham fans in the week a group were brutally attacked before a Europa League tie in Rome.

They also made hissing noises to mimic the sounds of the death chambers at concentration camps during World War Two and sang about Adolf Hitler in reference to Tottenham's large Jewish fanbase.

There will be fears that a television-imposed late kick-off for the return match could lead to similar offensive chanting as a great deal of bad blood remains between the two sets of supporters.

It was also announced today that ITV One will screen West Ham's FA Cup third round tie with Manchester United at 5.15pm on Saturday January 5.

Newcastle United's trip to Brighton and Hove Albion will also be on ITV at 12.30pm on the Saturday, a repeat of last season's fourth round match that Brighton won 1-0.

Upset: Will Buckley scored the winner last season when Brighton knocked out Newcastle in the fourth round

Upset: Will Buckley scored the winner last season when Brighton knocked out Newcastle in the fourth round

ESPN have chosen three live matches for later in the weekend, starting with Swansea City vs. Arsenal on Sunday January 6 at 1.30pm.

Liverpool's trip to either Mansfield Town or Lincoln City will be screen on ESPN at 4pm on the Sunday, while Everton's game at either Cheltenham Town or Hereford United is live at 7.45pm on Monday January 7.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas condemns West Ham anti-semitic chanting

Villas-Boas condemns West Ham anti-semitic chants as 'complete stupidity'

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UPDATED:

14:55 GMT, 27 November 2012

Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas has criticised West Ham fans for the level of aggression in their chanting and branded the anti-semitic songs as ‘complete stupidity’.

Villas-Boas, who could hear the abuse from the dug out during Tottenham’s 3-1 defeat of their London rivals on Sunday, said: ‘The level of aggression with the chanting goes out of proportion. It’s complete stupidity.’

But he also extended his gratitude to the Football Association and the club for the speed with which they have acted – and the severity of the threats.

Critical: Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has condemned anti-semitic chanting by West Ham fans as 'complete stupidity'

Critical: Tottenham boss Andre Villas-Boas has condemned anti-semitic chanting by West Ham fans as 'complete stupidity'

‘I think I’m grateful for the quickness with which both clubs have gone into the matter, plus the FA and the police,’ he added.

‘I think West Ham set an example by giving a lifetime ban to the fan.’

Although clearly insisting a number of West Ham supporters had crossed the line, Villas-Boas defended the supporters’ right to voice their opinion about the club and criticise personnel within reason.

‘The fans have a right to everything, in my opinion. They are the ones who breathe the biggest passion for their football club.

‘They are entitled to whatever they want to; to say whatever they want; to chant whatever they want to chant. This can lift and encourage the players and produce negativity and positivity. It’s all down to them.

No love lost: West Ham fans reportedly taunted Tottenham supporters about the stabbings in Rome last week and sang songs about Adolf Hitler

No love lost: West Ham fans reportedly taunted Tottenham supporters about the stabbings in Rome last week and sang songs about Adolf Hitler

‘Football is about them (the fans) and it’s about their passion. They have the right more than anybody to show any kind of feeling.

‘We have to take it. Sometimes you don’t like what you hear but that’s life. It’s what makes us tick, too. We’re professionals of the game and we give everything for them (the fans). We always need to retribute them with what they expect.’

Meanwhile, Martin Jol branded the racist chants from West Ham fans at Tottenham on Sunday as 'embarrassing'.

The Fulham manager was disgusted with the behaviour of some West Ham fans during the match and supported banning those involved for life.

He said: 'I feel that you should not tolerate that and I don't think Spurs and even West Ham won't tolerate that. We all talk about discrimination and we want to get it right in this country, but this is almost embarrassing. What happened at Spurs is very important, you have to talk about it and you have to try to ban it and other little issues as well.'

'Embarrassing': Fulham manager Martin Jol also joined in the condemnation of the chanting, saying those responsible should be banned for life

'Embarrassing': Fulham manager Martin Jol also joined in the condemnation of the chanting, saying those responsible should be banned for life

West Ham released a statement yesterday saying that one of the fans involved 'has since been identified as a Season Ticket holder and has been sent a letter containing a banning order from the club. Any other individuals identified can expect a similar swift and robust response.'

Jol agrees with the club banning for life from Upton Park the fans they can identify as being involved in the anti-Semitic chants at the weekend.

The 56-year-old added: 'I think that is the right thing to ban the players for life if you know who did that. I think you have to ban them from football stadiums so it’s good to hear that. Here, for example, it is totally different. We won't tolerate that. It was, of course, away fans and what can you do about it At times we could be very vulnerable as managers as well as players. And you have to accept that.'

West Ham fans" anti-Semitic chants at Tottenham disgraced football

Chanting 'can we stab you every week' and mocking the Jews killed in Nazi gas chambers… West Ham fans' despicable behaviour at Tottenham disgraced football

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UPDATED:

11:59 GMT, 26 November 2012

The bile-spewing West Ham fans who baited their Tottenham Hotspur rivals because some of their number had been stabbed by a Nazi mob could take a couple of lessons in history.

First, they could acquaint themselves with the famous image of Bobby Moore and Pele embracing in 1970.

The icon of West Ham and England was rated by the greatest footballer in history, the man with whom he is pictured swapping shirts, as the finest defender of them all.

Disgusting: Sections of the West Ham support brought shame on their club with their chants at White Hart Lane

Disgusting: Sections of the West Ham support brought shame on their club with their chants at White Hart Lane

What the West Ham fans were chanting

'Viva Lazio'

'Adolf Hitler, he's coming for you'

'Can we stab you every week'

Joy, warmth and respect abound.

Second, and more gravely, they may wish to consider the horrors of the Holocaust, the mass extermination of two-thirds of Europe's nine million Jews.

They were men, women and children for whom there were no tomorrows. Many arrived on trains to be gassed to death.

Forgive the stark reminder but what other recourse is there for those too young to know – or perhaps too callous to care – among the latest group of football fans to besmirch the name of a proud club and our national sport

Too young to know We are perhaps being too kind here because only last week – not in the middle of the last century – Ashley Mills, a 25-year-old Tottenham fan, was the most severely injured of 10 compatriots who were subject to an unprovoked act of violence while drinking in the Drunken Ship pub in Campo de Fiori, Rome, ahead of his club's Europa League tie with Lazio.

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

Heard around the world: West Ham fans' chants were highlighted by Sky Sports News

No gas chambers this time but knuckle-dusters, knives, baseball bats and broken bottles. How we have moved on since Hitler committed suicide.

The Ultras – renowned hooligans in the Eternal City – had come 50 strong to make an anti-Semitic attack against Tottenham, with their traditionally Jewish heritage.

Two men, both fans of Lazio's neighbouring club Roma, were arrested and charged. In celebration of the foregoing hate-crime, West Ham fans, who were said to number hundreds rather than dozens yesterday, chanted 'Viva Lazio'.

They hissed during the game, imitating the Holocaust gassing.

They chanted: 'Adolf Hitler, he's coming for you.'

Tottenham, who won 3-1, asked: 'Can we play you every week'

The tasteless response from the away end: 'Can we stab you every week'

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome where Spurs fans were attacked this week

Aftermath: The Drunken Ship pub in Rome where Spurs fans were attacked this week

Y-word: Spurs fans call themselves the Yid Army

Y-word: Spurs fans call themselves the Yid Army

The morons may be a minority in football crowds, as apologists always tell us, but they are too big a minority to be waved aside as an unimportant sideshow. The lessons of the last few weeks and months tell us that.

For all the immense progress that has been made over the last 30 years to dispel the worst of the right-wing hooligan element from our stadia and to welcome women and children into what was once an intimidating machismo bastion, the fact is that a base element who would not be tolerated in other walks of life find expression in the anonymity of the football crowd.

I stress the word football deliberately. You would not find this kind of racist conduct from the striped blazers in the Lord's Long Room to the hooped shirts at our rugby league grounds, even though much drink is regularly consumed at both ends of sport's class spectrum.

I would also emphasise that this is not a total evisceration of football. Many, many thousands cheer their clubs on passionately while never contemplating any sort of race or religion-based barbarism.

Indeed, many West Ham fans will curse Sunday's offenders, whose thuggish antics appal their sense of innate decency.

We are talking about the kind of
decency that is not of the headline-grabbing variety generated by the
Society of Black Lawyers, who are in danger of making a mockery of the
situation by objecting to Tottenham fans calling themselves the Yid
Army.

I would rather those supporters did not use the Y-word but that is their business and, anyway, I detest political correctness.

But back to football. We only need to look at recent events to know that the game is apt to throw up anti-social chants.

Derby day: Not all West Ham fans at White Hart Lane were involved in the offensive chanting

Derby day: Not all West Ham fans at White Hart Lane were involved in the offensive chanting

There
are Liverpool fans goading Manchester United fans with aeroplane
gestures. That last happened at Anfield on September 23, 2012.

The 21 who died in the Munich air disaster perished on February 6, 1958.

United
fans retorted with: 'Always the victims – it's never your fault' just
as they had the previous week in their 4-0 win over Wigan.

The background to the victims ditty was the Hillsborough tragedy of 1989, when 96 Liverpool fans were crushed to death.

But what gave this oh-so-witty exchange topicality was the release a few days earlier of the Hillsborough files that incriminated the police and finally exonerated Liverpool fans of being complicit in their own demise by being drunk and ticketless.

Not always off the pitch: The Premier League has been rocked by race rows such as the one between Chelsea captain John Terry (right) and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand

Not always off the pitch: The Premier League has been rocked by race rows such as the one between Chelsea captain John Terry (right) and Queens Park Rangers defender Anton Ferdinand

In vain, Sir Alex Ferguson had led the calls for the long-awaited report to mark an end to the unsavoury chanting excesses that have long accompanied one of football's great tribal rivalries.

We are also aware of Manchester City's Munich runway song. And of Liverpool fans booing the National Anthem at Wembley before the FA Cup Final in May.

And of John Terry, the then England captain and still captain of Chelsea, calling Anton Ferdinand a black ****.

Arsene Wenger, the cerebral Arsenal manager, is so regularly taunted by paedophile chants that he has learned to block them out.

In light of this background are we surprised by yesterday's anti-Semitism

Well, Michael Henderson, the prominent sports writer, quoted in his book Fifty People Who Fouled up Football a prison doctor-turned-writer called Anthony Daniels, who observed the worst kind of football fan supporting England in Rome, of all places: 'They think of their savagery as a kind of democratic virtue, a proof that they do not hold themselves above the common man.

'Hence their surprise, outrage and disbelief when they are treated by foreigners as the most degraded specimens of humanity they have ever encountered.'

Seems so long ago: But this picture of Bobby Moore and Pele at the 1970 World Cup is much more recent than some of the things the West Ham fans were singing about during the match at White Hart Lane

Seems so long ago: But this picture of Bobby Moore and Pele at the 1970 World Cup is much more recent than some of the things the West Ham fans were singing about during the match at White Hart Lane

What to do beyond the well-meant but inadequate tactic of placing a phone number in match-day programmes and inviting people to phone in anonymously to report misbehaviour they witness

One answer is to dock points from the offending fans' team. It might work but is that unfair on the clubs who themselves scorn the rogue elements among their supporters as much as any of us

Still, it may be worth a try, not least because levying a fine is a largely meaningless sanction in a sport oozing with monopoly money.

Requiring the police to do their job properly would seem another massive advance. Why did they not make a few hundred arrests yesterday

Of course, we know the practical impediments to doing so, but should not a new standard, intolerant of craven misbehaviour, be imposed

Or perhaps we should just show the morons that picture of Moore and Pele. Hopeless romanticism, no doubt.

Failing that, let us explain to them the horrors of Auschwitz and Dachau and tell them about Himmler and Heydrich and Eichmann.

And ask them if they still find their little joke so hilariously funny.