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Aug 16, 2010

Gold recounts 'life-threatening' encounter with Villa fans

West Ham co-owner David Gold says he feared for his life after an attack on his Rolls Royce by Aston Villa fans on Saturday, and may offer a reward should anyone help catch the "animals" who targeted his car.

• Parker to sign five-year Hammers deal

Gold, 73, had been at Villa Park to watch the Hammers lose their Premier League opener 3-0 to Villa, and was returning home when the car pulled up at a red light outside the King Edward VII pub - notoriously popular with Villa fans.

Two fans spotted Gold, the former owner of Villa's cross-city rivals Birmingham City, and hurled a beer bottle at his car before kicking the vehicle.

"People were outside the pub and there was some good-natured banter when, suddenly, the whole thing turned horribly sinister and even life-threatening," Gold told the Sun.

"Two guys who can only be described as monsters - animals - ran from the pub and threw a bottle of beer at the driver's window, smashing it. They then kicked the car and tried to get in.

"Thankfully, the doors lock when the engine is running otherwise we could have been in serious trouble. Eventually, after what seemed an eternity but was probably about a minute, we were able to pull away.

"That bottle could have come through the window and killed my driver as it was aimed directly at his temple.

"Needles of glass could have hit and maybe killed me if they had gone into my head. The more I think about it, the worse it gets."

Gold appealed to any witnesses to the incident, which he described as the "most frightening experience of my football life", to step forward, after the car was left with an estimated £2,000 worth of damage.

"Despite the speed with which it happened, I saw one woman watching the whole thing unfold," Gold said. "I appeal to her and any of the 30 or so people outside the pub to give any information they have to the police."

"I'm sure these lunatics attacked the car in part because I was once Birmingham City's chairman. It's a return to the bad, bad days of football and I appeal specifically to that young woman to tell the police everything she saw."

Gold claimed that had he not stopped to sign a programme and have a photo taken with a disabled Aston Villa fan, the incident would never have happened.

"Had I decided to pass that lad by, I would have been away and gone but that's not me. It's ironic the acceptable and unacceptable faces of this game were so close together they almost collided."

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