Four years ago, London’s Olympic Stadium acted as the backdrop to one of the most successful ever Games.
From Usain Bolt’s golden treble to Super Saturday when hosts Britain blazed a trail to three gold medals in the space of just 47 minutes, the venue oozed a feel-good factor.
These days the renamed London Stadium is home to English Premier League club West Ham United and the team and its fans are struggling to recreate the atmosphere that helped define the 2012 Olympics.
And on Wednesday at a game between West Ham and London rivals Chelsea it was a case of carnage rather celebration as trouble broke out between sections of the two clubs’ fans.
Seats were ripped out and thrown along with coins and plastic bottles as West Ham won 2-1 in the EFL Cup — English football’s third competition — game.
As a result of the disturbance, seven people have been arrested by London’s Metropolitan Police and England’s Football Association has launched an investigation.
“Although the vast majority of people left the stadium peacefully and were well behaved, there were a minority of people who attended the match that were clearly intent on being involved in confrontation and violence,” said Commander BJ Harrington in a statement.
“Despite extensive work with both clubs and the London Stadium partners as well as a large and robust policing operation, there were unacceptable incidents inside and outside the stadium before, during and after the game.
“We welcome the condemnation from partners and have already started a post-match investigation. We have already made seven arrests and will work tirelessly to identify people involved and bring them to justice.”
It’s not the first time there has been trouble at West Ham’s new ground after the club relocated from their Upton Park home in east London.
Home and Middlesbrough supporters had to be separated by police following the Premier League 1-1 draw between the two sides at the start of the month and there were also issues at the opening game of the season against Bournemouth and then again amid the 4-2 defeat to Watford in September.
As a result, security was boosted for Wednesday’s London derby with an alcohol ban also imposed throughout the venue.
West Ham, meanwhile, said after the latest disturbance that it would continue to “unreservedly condemn” such behaviour.
Hammers manager Slaven Bilic echoed that stance, telling reporters after the match: “For those kind of things to happen, especially in England, is unacceptable.” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte added: “I don’t really like to see these situations.”