West Ham fan ‘Knollsy’ who brawled with AZ Alkmaar ultras insists he’s ‘no hero’ after defending players’ families


WEST HAM fan “Knollsy” who brawled with AZ Alkmaar ultras to defend players families has insisted he is “no hero”.

Chris Knoll – a 58-year-old dad-of-four – has been hailed for fighting off dozens of hooligans after they charged the Hammers fans.

Chris ‘Knollsy’ Knoll has insisted he is now hero despite his actionsEnterprise

Knollsy throws up the sign of the HammersTwitter

GettyWest Ham supporters were attacked by AZ Alkmaar hooligans[/caption]

GettyChris was seen holding the line against the rioting fans[/caption]

GettyThe ultras tried to break into the stand containing players’ families[/caption]

AZ Alkmaar ultras broke down a 12ft gate as West Ham bested their side 1-0 to secure a place in the final of the Europa Conference League.

Wearing black hoods and masks, the firm known as the “Ben Side Ultras” stormed towards stands that included families of the players after the final whistle.

But the horrifying scenes weren’t enough to stop Knollsy stepping in.

Instead he stepped up and along with another fan stood at the top of the steps which led up the seats, battering Dutch hooligans as they tried to climb up.

West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola branded Chris a “legend”, while his wife Marrion labelled him as the “biggest hero”.

Knollsy, a lifelong West Ham, however said he simply did what he had to do to avoid more violence and to protect others.

“I’m not a hero. I just did what I had to do. There was another guy who was fending them off. I don’t like bullies and just had to try and stop them,” he told MailOnline.

“I just thought the best form of defence was to attack.

“You could see they were intent on causing trouble and I did not want them to get to those behind us.”

Knollsy was at the game with his son-in-law and claimed he knew what was coming as soon as Pablo Fornals slotted home the winner.

“They were the ultras, you could see that from what they were wearing. I just decided I wasn’t going to let them come up,” he said.

“I know they were swinging punches and I just did my best to stand there and take it.”

He said he was constantly battered in the side of the head and was left with a bruised eye.

The hero fan spent the night in Amsterdam following the match before flying back to London.

He has been roundly praised for his bravery following the shocking and ugly scenes.

Guest posting agency=

AZ Alkmaar has issued a grovelling apology – and the club is now being investigated by UEFA over the violence.

West Ham booked their place in the final on June 7.

But at this stage it looks like Knollsy might not be able to go despite his heroics.

“If I can get a ticket and a couple for the two who were with me in Amsterdam, I will be there to cheer on the Hammers,” he said.

“I’d love to be at the final. Hopefully it will be trouble free and we can just enjoy and fantastic match.”

AZ’s hooliganism is said to stem from the club’s early days with a group known as the “Ben Side” supporters.

The name refers to where the group sits in the Jan van der Ben stand, which was named after a predecessor club’s chairman.

The group claims they “made their mark for the first time” during an away match at Feyenoord in 1977, according to an AZ supporter website.

There they clashed with opposition fans, throwing beer bottles and cans at players.

In another notorious meeting, the group clashed with Haarlem in June 1977.

Riots ensued over the game, with many supporters brining knives, and cops later made several arrests.

A 16-year-old was stabbed and around 28 people arrested during a particularly horrific altercation in March 1986 between AZ and PSV fans.

The teenager, a PSV fan who was not identified, was rushed to hospital.

At the same game, confrontations between supporters also saw a home-made pipe bomb lobbed into the PSV stand, although luckily no one was injured, reported The New York Times.

The “Ben Side” group has continued to show its support online in recent years.

Its members appear dressed in black, raising flairs, letting off fireworks and causing havoc at both home and away games.

The group though claims it is only interested in “improving the atmosphere in the stadium”.

Guest posting agency=

Dutch police say they are continuing to analyse the footage from yesterday’s attack.

The force said: “Together with AZ, the municipality of Alkmaar and the public prosecution service we will evaluate last night’s incidents, which we regret having happened. This kind of behaviour has no place in football.”

Not known, clear with picture deskaz-fans-break-barrier-attach-818768932[/caption]

One West Ham supporter fought off the thugs as they tried to get up stairs towards the away endGETTY

Leave a Reply

Follow by Email