• FA Cup

Millwall fans arrested following FA Cup clash

ESPN staff
April 13, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »


Millwall's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final loss to Wigan was marred after ten of their own supporters were arrested for fighting among themselves and with the police while the game was still in play.

Police were called into action and forced to use batons to control the violence, while television footage showed young Lions supporters crying and one man with blood pouring from his face.

A number of Millwall fans booed those causing the trouble and missiles rained down on the lower tier of the Championship club's enclosure from those sitting above.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: "Ten people have been arrested following sporadic disorder among fans in the Millwall supporters' area at Wembley. Investigations into the circumstances of the incidents are continuing.''

The fighting had been going on for at least two minutes before officers and stewards arrived, and questions are now likely to be asked over the policing and stewarding of the Wembley clash.

Millwall CEO Andy Ambler said in a statement on the official club website: "Our position is clear. Anyone associated with our club found guilty of violent behaviour will be banned indefinitely from Millwall matches in addition to any punishment they receive from the authorities.

"Having worked so hard to show the positive side of our club both on and off the field, we cannot allow the actions of a mindless minority to undermine that.

"At this stage we are still in the process of establishing the full details of what happened in a section of the ground during the second half. When we have those facts at our disposal and the police have completed their investigations we may be in a position to comment further."

Millwall manager Kenny Jackett was not aware of the trouble when questioned on the matter after the full-time whistle.

"I've just heard about that,'' he said. "I wasn't aware of any fighting during the game, not aware of any problems. I'll need to examine the facts before I can give an opinion. I promise you, I wasn't aware of it during the game. I am not saying it didn't happen. Until I see it, it is difficult to form an opinion. We want to be talking about football. I need to be able to form my own opinion. I am sure the evidence is there. I am not denying that.''

The London club have a history of being troubled by hooliganism and have been working hard over the past few years to improve their image within the game.

And Jackett has vowed Millwall will continue to do all they can to rid themselves of their reputation.

"That has been our greatest challenge,'' he said. "We want to try and work hard to keep momentum going forward. I understand what you are saying. If there was crowd trouble... It will hold us back if that happens repeatedly. We have worked very hard, the chief executive and chairman, to do everything we possibly can to be trouble-free. We have had high-profile games that have gone very well. We have done everything we possibly can.''

After being told some children were carried out crying, he said: "I am very sorry if that is the case. Until I see those images, for me to comment is a tough one.''

Latics manager Roberto Martinez spoke of his disappointment on hearing of the violence, although - like Jackett - he was unaware of it during the match.

"I didn't [see it],'' the Spaniard said on ESPN. "People are mentioning now there were some incidents and that's disappointing. The game on the pitch was exciting and there was always something to be concentrating on so it's disappointing when that happens.''

Wigan chairman Dave Whelan added: "I can't understand why the Millwall fans would fight each other. I understand if they want to fall out with the visiting team, but why would they fall out amongst themselves?

"It just gives football a very, very poor reputation. We know Millwall are a tough club, their team's tough to play, the supporters are Millwall, Millwall, Millwall straight through. But don't fight each other. I couldn't understand that.''

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