West Ham United fans are looking forward to one of the biggest nights in the history of their club on Wednesday night, as they are set to play in their first major European final since 1965.
The Hammers will face Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa Conference League final in Prague, with thousands of fans having travelled to the Czech capital to support their team on a huge night for West Ham.
Just been sent this by a West Ham supporting mate of mine who’s out in Prague. West Ham have “officially” been given 5,870 tickets for tonight, I think a fair few more might try and get in. Just a hunch. pic.twitter.com/Wa3fPKmArt
— HLTCO (@HLTCO) June 7, 2023
There have been plenty of wholesome clips shared to social media of West Ham fans enjoying their biggest away day in years, but some unsavoury footage emerged on Wednesday which showed a small section of their fanbase clashing with rival fans from Italy.
West Ham fans involved in clash with Fiorentina supporters
Footage was shared to Twitter by Sky News reporter Rob Harris which showed chairs being thrown from either side of a Prague street at rival fans by supporters of both West Ham United and Fiorentina.
Harris reported that the conflict had begun with Fiorentina fans launching fireworks and weapons at a group of West Ham fans, with the streets ultimately left covered in broken glass as a result of the conflict.
Prague: @skynews obtains video of fighting ahead of West Ham-Fiorentina #UECLfinal with eyewitnesses later saying a group of Italians with fireworks and weapons attacked West Ham fans leading to fighting and street covered in broken glass pic.twitter.com/7KKqWfv4VU
— Rob Harris (@RobHarris) June 7, 2023
It is disappointing to see what had been set up as a superb atmosphere in Prague be spoiled by such a small group of Fiorentina fans for starting the conflict with West Ham fans.
For West Ham fans, this is not the first time they have been targeted by opposition fans on their European adventure this season. Their semi-final victory over AZ Alkmaar saw one of their fans 'Knollsy' achieve cult hero status for protecting a family section of the West Ham away end against an impending attack from the rival Dutch fans.
This also marks the second year in a row that European finals have been marred by issues with fans ahead of kick-off.
Last year's Europa League final saw fans of Frankfurt and Rangers clash on the streets of Seville, with similar scenes of chairs and missiles being hurled across streets.
The 2022 Champions League final was also marred by unsavoury scenes ahead of the game, with kick-off delayed after poor organisation left swathes of Liverpool fans trapped outside in dangerous conditions around the Stade de France.
Hopefully the action on the pitch in Prague will make up for the disappointing scenes on the streets of the Czech capital in the lead up to kick-off.
West Ham v Fiorentina in the UEFA Europa Conference League final gets underway at 8pm on Wednesday June 7th.