West Ham face a volcanic evening as they enter a cauldron of chaos in Athens to take on Olympiacos… as Hammers boss David Moyes welcomes 'the passion' but urges supporters of both sides to behave
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West Ham face a volcanic evening as they enter a cauldron of chaos in Athens to take on Olympiacos… as Hammers boss David Moyes welcomes 'the passion' but urges supporters of both sides to behave

Dec 15, 2023
  • West Ham have travelled to Greece to take on Olympiacos on Thursday evening
  • The Hammers will receive a hostile welcome at the Karaiskakis Stadium 
  • Davivd Moyes insisted he relished the passion but urges fans to behave  

When even the English journalists are granted a hostile welcome to the Karaiskakis Stadium, you know West Ham are in for a volcanic evening as they enter a cauldron of chaos in Athens tonight.

Our arrival for Wednesday night’s press conference involved X-rated insults, saliva and, strangely, lobbed rolls of sellotape from Olympiacos ultras who were already inside preparing a tifo for this Europa League clash with West Ham. 

It was a brief glimpse into what awaits the visitors, who are looking to avoid adding their name to this city’s long list of ruins and extend their 17-game unbeaten run in Europe.

‘You want the passion,’ manager David Moyes said last night. ‘You want the atmosphere. But we also want good behaviour from our supporters and from Olympiacos supporters. To be a passionate supporter, you have to be a good supporter.

‘You’re not doing your club any favours if you’re getting bans or a stadium ban or thrown out of Europe. Everybody knows (about the atmosphere), coming to Athens to play any of the teams here. Embrace it. Enjoy it. If you’re a football man, you want big atmospheres.

David Moyes insisted he welcomed the passion of Olympiacos supporters ahead of their Europa League tie, but urged supporters of both sides to behave themselves on Thursday

David Moyes insisted he welcomed the passion of Olympiacos supporters ahead of their Europa League tie, but urged supporters of both sides to behave themselves on Thursday

West Ham are expected to receive an extremely hostile welcome at the Karaiskakis Stadium

West Ham are expected to receive an extremely hostile welcome at the Karaiskakis Stadium

‘What we’ve got to remember is football is a game. We’re seeing so many things happening throughout the world just now. Remember, we’re all here to enjoy a game of football.’ 

West Ham defender Konstantinos Mavropanos, born and raised in Athens, claimed last night he did not support any of this city’s clubs growing up but added: ‘The Greek people are really passionate with football and the atmosphere will be amazing. We also have our supporters. They can give us energy.’

Olympiacos took the unusual step of releasing a statement last night, pleading with their supporters not to misbehave. 

‘In this great evening of football, we will all have to be very careful to any conduct that might hurt our side,’ it read, adding: ‘Use of laser pointers, smoke flares, firecrackers and throwing objects, along with blocking staircases and entry points might lead to our stadium being banned.’

It comes after Olympiacos’ most recent match at the Karaiskakis Stadium – the so-called Derby of the Eternal Enemies against Panathinaikos on Sunday – was abandoned when the hosts’ fans were accused of hospitalising visiting player Juankar with a firecracker.

Probable West Ham XI (4-2-3-1): Fabianski; Kehrer, Zouma, Mavropanos, Emerson; Ward-Prowse, Alvarez; Kudus, Soucek, Paqueta; Bowen

Olympiacos' most recent game was abandoned after a player was reportedly hit by a missile

Olympiacos’ most recent game was abandoned after a player was reportedly hit by a missile

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