McClaren rules himself out of West Ham job

by AFP on May 17, 2011

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Police said on Tuesday they were called to a luxury hotel in London after a fan reportedly clashed with players from relegated West Ham at an end-of-season charity dinner.

The event at the Grosvenor Hotel on Monday - the day after the club were relegated from the Premier League - descended into angry scenes involving Hammers striker Demba Ba and defender Danny Gabbidon, The Sun tabloid reported.

An eyewitness at the STG275 ($A422)-per-head event revealed how Ba triggered the mayhem when a fan asked him for his autograph, the report added.

Ba replied, "I'm too tired" and the fan snapped, "I pay 60,000 a year for a box at this shit club, I'm not going anywhere," The Sun reported.

The fan squared up to Ba with Gabbidon stepping in to keep them apart. A table was knocked over in the mayhem, the report said.

"The fan went berserk, shouting and screaming at Ba, hurling all sorts of racist insults at him - and Ba looked like he was about to lash out when Danny Gabbidon separated them.

"A table was tipped over and security men raced into the room - it was chaos. Within moments, police were all over the place," the eyewitness was quoted as saying.

"Everyone was there, including the club's co-owners David Gold and David Sullivan.

"Sullivan was furious and screaming, 'Why did this happen after everything we've just been through?'," the eyewitness reportedly said.

A vintage vase was broken in the melee as supporters marauded through the dining room, the report said.

But a security source told newspaper that the club "know exactly" who the supporters who sparked the trouble were.

Players quickly made their escape out of the hotel's back exits.

Police confirmed they were called to "reports of a disturbance" at the hotel.

"Officers attended. There were no offences alleged and no arrests," a spokesman said.

The players had been ordered to attend the event, which was attended by about 200 people, including corporate sponsors. It was aimed at raising money for the club's youth academy, the report said.

Sullivan said the incident was sparked by a drunken fan racially abusing a player.

He told Sky Sports News: "The whole incident has been blown out of all proportion.

"It was one individual who had too much to drink, sadly a problem in British society.

"A player was racially abused by the same drunken supporter, which is not acceptable. Sadly one drunken supporter let the club down."

West Ham are looking for a new manager after sacking Avram Grant on Sunday following the 3-2 defeat at Wigan which sealed their fate.

Former England head coach Steve McClaren has ruled himself out of the running to fill the managerial vacancy.