Following West Ham’s 1-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar, West Ham fan ‘Knollsy’ has spoken up after being commended for defending against a mob of AZ Alkmaar fans, writes the GMS.
Chaos unfolded within the AFAS Stadion in Alkmaar following the match, as West Ham’s win secured their place in the Europa Conference League final. In the dying moments of the game, Pablo Fornals scored the solitary goal, prompting a violent group of AZ Alkmaar fans to target a section of West Ham’s traveling supporters after the final whistle. Videos capturing a couple of West Ham fans fending off the large group of AZ fans quickly gained traction on social media.
Chris Knoll, also known as ‘Knollsy,’ has received praise for his actions in preventing the AZ hooligans from reaching the families of West Ham players. Among those commending him is West Ham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who hails Knollsy as a ‘legend’ for courageously placing himself in a potentially dangerous situation. Areola’s wife, Marrion, also recognizes Knollsy as the ‘biggest hero.’ However, Knollsy himself humbly rejects the title of a hero, stating that he is not one, but rather someone who strongly opposes bullies.
He told MailOnline, per talkSPORT: “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.”
“I saw them all congregate on the side of the pitch and then they broke down the barriers and headed to the first group of West Ham fans.
“I know what they were intent on doing and was not going to let it happen. It was fairly obvious what was going to happen because they were intent on coming to us.
“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.
“I just thought the best form of defence would be to get to the top of the stairs where they were coming up and just stood there and tried to stop them.
“I know they were swinging punches and I just did my best to stand there and take it.”
West Ham fan “Knollsy” protecting the family stand and fending off AZ ultras
— West Ham Central (@WestHam_Central) May 19, 2023