Former Arsenal star and current Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has launched a blistering attack on West Ham fans by insisting that they will be the cause of the club’s relegation this season.

The Hammers have endured a frustrating campaign so far, with a poor start seeing Slaven Bilic replaced by David Moyes in a bid to stave off the threat of relegation.

After an initial burst away from the bottom the Irons have found themselves sucked back into the fight for survival and the frustrations off the pitch have begun to bubble over, most notably in the home defeat to Burnley where their were pitch invasions and unsavoury scenes in the crowd.

Sitting in 17th, two points and a single place off the drop zone, Merson, who is most often spotted giving his view on Sky Sports, predicts that if the Hammers are to go down, the blame can be placed firmly at the feet of supporters in a stunning claim.

He told the Daily Star: “If West Ham go down now, their crowd will send them down.

“Those fans need to bite their tongue and get behind the team because the players won’t be able to handle it if they start invading the pitch and protesting again.

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“I still think it’s between about eight teams to see which two go down with West Brom.”

Football Insider verdict

While the supporters’ unrest alone will not send the Hammers down, Merson does have a point over the impact the negative atmosphere will have on the squad. The last thing they need is added pressure – their league position is enough to generate that – and the fans should be showing support and backing to their team. While the board’s performance might be riling them up, sticking to pushing the team forward towards survival has to be their priority – the summer can be the time to protest and voice their frustrations. It would be a damning shame if that was due to them slipping into the Championship.

In other West Ham news, the club have tabled an eight-figure bid for an international speed machine.

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