The West Ham fan who went viral after single-handedly holding off Dutch hooligans has broken his silence, saying that he is “no hero”.
Chris Knolls, known as ‘Knolls’, was filmed defending an area of the stand from a large group of AZ Alkmaar “ultras” at the AFAS stadium after West Ham beat Dutch team AZ Alkmaar in the Europa Conference League semi-final 1-0.
According to reports, the area of the stand they were trying to attack contained the family and friends of West Ham players and staff.
Knolls was widely praised online for his actions, and he’s now spoken about the events that transpired inside the stadium.
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The 58-year-old said he was “genuinely concerned” about the safety of people around him, adding that he thought the hooligans were “intent on causing trouble and I did not want them to get to those behind us”.
He told The Mirror: “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."
\u201cWest Ham fan "Knollsy" protecting the family stand and fending off AZ ultras\n \u201d— West Ham Central (@West Ham Central) 1684455698
“I know what they were intent on doing and was not going to let it happen," he added. Knolls told the publication that he “just decided I wasn’t going to let them come up”.
He went on to say: “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.”
Knolls went on to say that he doesn’t like “bullies”, also saying that his wife Karen was “not surprised” he had defended the people behind him.
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