West Ham fan parties with players outside hotel to celebrate club’s victory

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A West Ham fan “partied with the entire team” outside a hotel in Prague following the club’s historic European title win.

Jonathan Blakeley, 34, who lives in Croydon, south London, walked back to his AirBnB early on Thursday and came across several players from the team celebrating outside the Prague Marriott Hotel after the Hammers’ victory over Fiorentina on Wednesday night, which sealed their first trophy in more than 40 years.

Fans partied in the streets in the early hours of the morning and a victory parade is planned for Thursday evening to celebrate the club’s Europa Conference League win.

The squad and coaching staff will parade the club’s first major trophy since 1980 on an open-top bus through the streets of east London.

Mr Blakeley, who is an actor, posted a video of the celebrations to Twitter, which shows several West Ham United players dancing and jumping outside the hotel wearing their medals, surrounded by a large group of fans.

Fans and members of the squad can be heard singing Jarrod Bowen’s crude chant which has been dubbed Bowen’s on Fire and is sung to the tune of pop song Freed From Desire, which was being played from a large speaker that goalkeeper Alphonse Areola was holding in the video.

Taking part in celebrations, Mr Blakeley danced with the players, including winger Said Benrahma who scored the Hammers’ first goal in Wednesday’s 2-1 win.

He told the PA news agency: “Quite random as I was walking back to my AirBnB at 2am and just happened to come across them outside the Marriott literally as they were pulling in.

“We partied with the entire team, shook their hands and danced with them. Areola was the one holding the music player,” the 34-year-old said.

“I never thought I’d see West Ham in Europe, let alone with a European title, so the feeling is unreal and definitely hasn’t sunk in.”

Mr Blakeley, who watched the game from the fan park in Letna, Prague, added it was an “incredible atmosphere” and “so many tears were shed, my eyes included”.

“This morning it’s calm but behind the calm is a lot of love and happiness,” he said.

“The rainfall of Tuesday was replaced by beer fall on Wednesday evening.”

The parade will leave the Hammers’ old home at Upton Park at 7pm and travel to a reception at Stratford Town Hall at about 8pm.

It will start at the junction of Green Street and Barking Road, adjacent to the Boleyn Pub and The Champions Statue, before proceeding west along Barking Road, turn right on to Greengate Street, and continue along the A112 past Plaistow Park, Plaistow Station and Stratford Park, before ending its journey on West Ham Lane, outside the Old Town Hall in Stratford.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

A scuffle broke out after officers tried to confiscate a lit flare as fans gathered in the Old Town area of the city and riot police stormed a group after they lit a second flare, with people responding by pelting the officers with bottles and missiles.

Czech police said a total of 23 football fans were detained in Prague during policing of the Europa Conference League final.

In a translated statement, they said said one person was suspected of violence against an officer, two of disorderly conduct, 19 of disobeying the call of an official and one on suspicion of illegally using pyrotechnics.

“Based on the evaluation of the security measures, we can state that the forces and resources of the Prague Police were deployed adequately, also with regard to the number of fans of both units, which were around 35,000 in the metropolis.”

There was also controversy during the match as Cristiano Biraghi of Fiorentina was seen bleeding from the back of the head after he appeared to have been hit by an object thrown from a West Ham section of the stadium.

Shortly before the end of the match, the English club put out a statement condemning the behaviour of a “small number of individuals”, adding: “These actions have no place in football, and do not in any way represent the values of our football club and the overwhelming majority of our supporters, who have behaved impeccably in Prague this week and throughout our last two seasons in European competition.”

The club said they would work with police to review the incident and take action against offenders, including implementing lifetime bans.

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