The years rolled back at Upton Park on Tuesday night as '70's terrace hooliganism returned to East London in scenes that could have come directly from another 'straight to bargain bin' sequel of 2005 film 'Green Street'.
This time though there was no Frodo Baggins and no socio-macho altercations posing as entertainment; this time the violence was real and meant at least one man was stabbed as over 200 police in riot gear tried to quell the violence as bottles and bricks were thrown in pre-match street battles that were later described as 'large scale trouble'.
Life imitating 'Art'? Well, this was always going to be a powder keg of a match and trouble was never going to be far from the surface but perhaps the Police were a little unprepared for scenes that some fans won't have seen before, but which will remind older supporters of days when supporting your team was a darker and more dangerous occupation.
Ironic that Jack Collison should choose to 'stand and fight' on this evening; the young midfielder, who tragically lost his father in a traffic accident as he made his way to Upton Park to see his son play against Tottenham last weekend, bravely offered to play and was terribly let down on a night when football took a back seat to the return of the 'English disease'.
Following pitch invasions and the inevitable outcry from the FA, West Ham may well find themselves fined and, perhaps worse. There will also be a demand for the supporters who encroached onto the pitch to be banned. Whatever the outcome, it was a sobering sight to see police lined like a wall around Upton Park station while mounted officers rode by and helicopters clattered overhead.
The game will always come second to the kind of headlines now destined for this match, a shame as this was a good game that gave West Ham their almost inevitable cup fright. Neil Harris had given the visitors a 26th minute lead and that had looked to be enough until three minutes from the end when Junior Stanislas struck to send the tie into extra time, prompting the first pitch invasion. Tempers already heightened by the late equaliser, spilled over when West Ham were awarded a penalty eight minutes into extra time, Stanislas scoring from the spot before another invasion forced the teams from the pitch.
It took about six minutes for police and officials to clear the area, with Collison being one of the players trying to get fans to remove themselves. After the restart, the Hammers scored again after two minutes with Zavon Hines hitting home with a classy strike but, unfortunately, the promising showing of more Hammer's youngsters will be overshadowed by the night's violence as the game ended with more fans trying to get onto the pitch.