West Ham Puts Exclamation Point on Relegation Campaign with Brawl at Season-Ending Dinner

West Ham United, home of U.S. defender Jonathan Spector, sealed its relegation fate this past Sunday when it surrendered a 2-1 lead at Wigan and lost 3-2. (For the record, Spector started the game, and the Hammers were still up 2-1 when he was substituted in the 61st minute.)

The club still has one match remaining, but yesterday it held a season-ending dinner at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel. At £275 a head (roughly $440), you might think the event would be a tony, fairly sedate affair.

You would be wrong: According to various  reports, police had to be summoned to the hotel after a fan turned nasty following a conversation with Senegalese striker Demba Ba.

Here’s Ba talking to the Daily Mail

“It was a crazy situation. This guy came to me when we were sitting at the table. There were two players per table and Manuel Da Costa was with me.

“This guy came and asked for an autograph so I gave him his autograph. Then he asked me nicely how I was feeling so I just said I was tired from the game and that it was a tough game. And then he just replied ‘Oh, we’re tired watching you play every weekend.’

“I was surprised and told Da Costa what the guy had said. Then the guy all of a sudden started screaming at me like crazy. I tried to calm him down but he didn’t want to.”

Things escalated from there, and punches and dinner plates were thrown, tables overturned, and, reportedly, racial epithets hurled.

Not good times.

West Ham fans are understandably frustrated that their team is going down, but we gotta say, Ba was a curious target for this fan’s ire. He scored seven goals in 12 appearances for the Hammers this season—including two in Sunday’s game that staked his team to a 2-0 lead.

You’d think he’d be dead last on any nutjob’s list of players to confront about the awful season.

In any event, West Ham plays out the string on Sunday against Sunderland, at home. Some extra security may be in order.

No word on Spector’s experience of the Grosvenor fracas.

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Ricketts: Rooney, All Footballers Have to Fight ’Em Off with a Stick

Shedding a bit of light on the recent Wayne Rooney sex scandal, former Tottenham and Toronto FC midfielder Rohan Ricketts has written a refreshingly frank account of life as a pro soccer player and all the opportunities and temptations that involves.

Here’s a nugget from the article, on Sabotage Times:

“Even if you don’t want to get involved it’s right in your face. I remember a time when one former England international who was always a good boy woke up in his hotel room to find a girl hiding in his bathroom. She had been brought in by another player. He didn’t do anything with her and went mad at the other player – but a lesser man would have found it hard to resist the temptation.”

And another:

“The girls can be like vultures – they see football as a market and they want the most expensive brands. They equate you to your market value. Players will shag each other’s mistresses all the time as well and some of the girls seemed to get their kicks out of that. One time I was chatting to a girl and she was proud to tell me that she was up in the 30s with football players. She thought that telling me that was cool.”

Click here for the entire article.

We’re fairly certain that you can take this same dynamic and apply it to the NBA, NFL, Major League Baseball, the PGA Tour and  to some extent, the NHL and NASCAR.

But not our Major League Soccer, ha. No … our little league is still in its innocent youth.