West Ham co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan have released a statement urging the club’s fans to avoid using any discriminatory chants when they welcome Tottenham to Upton Park on Monday night.
A small minority of West Ham’s travelling support were criticised in the aftermath of the Hammers’ 3-1 defeat at Spurs in November for anti-Semitic chanting.
The club’s owners are keen to avoid such incidents on Monday night and issued a statement that read: “We both feel it is hugely important that we are continuing our great work from 2012 that highlights discrimination in society today.
“We supported a number of key initiatives last year which we are continuing to build on throughout 2013.
“We firmly believe that West Ham United is a club that promotes fairness and inclusion and we want the Boleyn Ground to continue to be a place that people from all backgrounds feel welcome.”
Co-owner Gold is of Jewish heritage and his joint statement stressed that any fans found guilty of partaking in such chanting would face strict punishments.
“We have made it very clear that we will not tolerate any form of discriminatory behaviour and one by one we will root out those fans that do not deserve to represent this great club of ours,” the statement continued.
“We must be clear that we will pursue the harshest sanctions against any individual who goes against what we stand for as a club.
“It is obvious that the vast, vast majority of Hammers fans support the club in the right way and we are very grateful for the tremendous backing we receive from our supporters. However, in the rare case that supporters do see or hear anything they think is unacceptable, there are a number of ways they can report the matter.
“Everyone at West Ham United is looking forward to Monday’s visit of Tottenham Hotspur. It should be a fantastic game of football.”
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce also remains hopeful the club’s fans will behave themselves on Monday.
“I hope there’s nothing untoward that happens in terms of chanting,” he said.
“Like everybody else we want to try to reduce it to its bare minimum. We’d like to cut it out completely but I don’t think that’s ever going to be the case when people get involved in emotional situations.
“But if we spot it we’ve got to deal with it and hopefully there won’t be any.”