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19th Feb 2022

Newcastle fans taunt Kurt Zouma with inflatable cats

Simon Lloyd

Zouma returned to West Ham’s starting XI for the game against Newcastle

Newcastle United supporters taunted West Ham’s Kurt Zouma throughout Saturday’s Premier League game at the London Stadium, with several inflatable cats seen in the away end.

The 27-year-old has been widely condemned after sickening footage which showed him kicking and slapping his pet cat surfaced on social media earlier this month.

The defender played, to the surprise of many, in the first game after the footage emerged – West Ham’s 1-0 win over Watford – with manager David Moyes defending his decision to select him as a starter.

After a late withdrawal from the midweek draw with Leicester, Saturday’s game with Newcastle saw him return to the Hammers’ lineup.

The travelling supporters were seen holding aloft several bright orange inflatable cats in the away end throughout the game, also mocking the French international with chants relating to the incident.

The RSPCA have since confirmed the cat, along with another which also belonged to Zouma, has since been removed from his care. Both the player and his club have lost sponsorship deals as a result.

The footage was filmed by the player’s brother, Yoan, and uploaded to Snapchat. Yoan had been playing for Dagenham and Redbridge prior to the incident, but has since been suspended by the club.

A section of West Ham supporters were also criticised last weekend for a tasteless chant relating to the video.

Zouma played for the entirety of Saturday’s game, which ended in a 1-1 draw. Craig Dawson had headed the home side ahead, before Joe Willock drew Newcastle home in first half stoppage time.

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