Sam Allardyce has urged the authorities to take the strongest possible action against the West Ham United supporters who disgraced the club with antisemitic chants at White Hart Lane on Sunday, but believes that self-policing in the crowd would help root out the problem.
While the Metropolitan police are continuing their investigation into the abuse, which involved fans mocking the Holocaust during the match against Tottenham, Allardyce feels people in the crowd can help resolve the problem by being mothat re vigilant and pointing out offenders.
"I don't view any type of chanting [of that nature] to be allowed or accepted in the game of football today," Allardyce said. "The West Ham fans are absolutely fantastic in terms of the support and the amount of support that they give us. And then you've got this small minority that are creating this sort of ill feeling towards the vast majority of West Ham fans.
"I think that fans who are next to these people should deal with them first and foremost if possible. We can't condone it. Gladly we've got CCTV in football today that can pick out these individuals. I don't know why they're doing it or why they're trying to create this kind of thing because it's only destructive towards this beautiful game we've got.
"You don't want to be labelled with that type of chanting. And that's where hopefully a bit of self-policing will be brought in and if not then deal with these people accordingly, and obviously there will be some serious punishment if we catch them."
The Met has received two complaints about the abuse since Sunday but is yet to interview either complainant. Until then the extent of the chanting will remain unclear. "We need to hear from the complainants before pressing on," a Met spokesman said.
On Monday the police arrested and cautioned two fans for making Nazi-style salutes. One of them has since been identified as a season ticket holder at Upton Park and has been banned from attending home and away matches for life by the club, who are yet to identify the other supporter.
West Ham have been quick to condemn the chants and have vowed to adopt a zero-tolerance policy against supporters who are found guilty of the chants. The club's Jewish co-chairman David Gold, whose great-grandfather took his own life after suffering antisemitic abuse, has said he and David Sullivan will lead the investigation into Sunday's events. Sullivan will use his programme notes before Saturday's home match against Chelsea to write about the unsavoury incidents, while there will also be a number on the back of the programme for supporters to ring confidentially to help the investigation along.
Allardyce revealed that he has not spoken to West Ham's Israeli international Yossi Benayoun as the on-loan midfielder has been receiving treatment for a knee injury at his parent club Chelsea. Benayoun tweeted of his embarrassment on Monday at the actions of the club's supporters, who sang songs about Adolf Hitler, made Nazi-style salutes and hissed to mimic the gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps.
There were also chants mocking last week's attacks on Tottenham supporters in Rome which led to one fan, Ashley Mills, being stabbed in the head and neck. The behaviour of West Ham's supporters will come under scrutiny during Wednesday's match against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Yet despite the furore surrounding the club, Allardyce does not feel that players will be put off from joining West Ham, highlighting English football's strong record of dealing with racism.
"In my experience, all over Europe, we're better than everybody else," he said. "So that puts that one to bed straight away. In other countries where I've visited, I think we're one of the best. I don't think that would be a particular problem."
West Ham are hopeful that George McCartney will recover from the ankle injury he picked up during Sunday's defeat by Tottenham. If McCartney is not fit enough to play, Joey O'Brien will deputise at left-back, while in midfield Mark Noble is suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season, at White Hart Lane. Without the long-term absentees Jack Collison and Alou Diarra to step in, Allardyce could decide to move James Tomkins into midfield from central defence.