Wembley violence: Millwall admit they may never win hooligan fight

FA under fire for boasting about high alcohol sales at FA Cup semi-final marred by violence

Millwall's manager, Kenny Jackett, has admitted that he does not know whether they will ever be able to stop the lunatic fringe who besmirched the club's name again during the FA Cup semi-final defeat by Wigan on Saturday. Having had time to study the television and newspaper pictures of fighting in a Millwall section of Wembley, Jackett was mortified by the setback to efforts at improving the south London club's reputation.

"Time will tell whether we'll ever do it; it's a tough call, isn't it?" he said. "I've been here for a number of years and I'm very proud of the way everybody's worked at the club behind the scenes."

Those club officials were still bewildered yesterday as to why supporters should apparently have been fighting among themselves, no evidence having been found that fans of other London clubs had been involved in the ugly scenes, from which there were 11 arrests. On fans' forums and message boards, blame was attached to non-regulars and "glory hunters", many of them the worse for drink or drugs.

"Had some drunken yob push my 12-year-old because he wasn't singing," one regular supporter wrote. "I'm finished with the club." He left the ground immediately but others who saw women and children becoming caught up in the trouble may have decided to exact retribution themselves, so spreading the fighting.

It was also pointed out that, as with the two Scottish Cup semi-finals and yesterday's Tyne-Wear derby, a lunchtime kick-off would have been more sensible; and that the Football Association's official Twitter account was boasting about how much alcohol would be sold at Wembley at the weekend: "75k pints and 50k bottles of @budweiser". The FA has started its own investigation, as have the Metropolitan Police, who were criticised for arriving on the scene too slowly; stewards are told not to interfere once violence breaks out.

Millwall's captain, Danny Shittu, had been as unaware of the trouble as his manager but said later: "At this club you do five things right and one thing wrong and it sets us all the way back again. I knew the Canary Wharf area when it was the Isle of Dogs; I lived in that area for a long time so I know there is a stereotype about Millwall supporters. Even today when I tell people I play for Millwall, some of them say 'Ohhh…'. I'm trying to promote that it's not that kind of club. But when this sort of thing happens it makes it so much harder."

Jackett has enough on his plate lifting a team who returned to their dressing room as beaten Cup semi-finalists to discover they were only three points above the Championship relegation zone. They are at home to third-placed Watford tomorrow night and then visit Huddersfield, the team immediately below them, on Saturday.

Wigan are in a statistically worse position in the Premier League, three points below the safety line after Sunderland won yesterday, but their recent form is better and was maintained in a game they thoroughly deserved to win to reach their first FA Cup final. Yesterday they were already back in training for away games at Manchester City on Wednesday and West Ham three days later. Their manager Roberto Martinez maintains that the Cup run has helped build confidence in his squad.

Wigan's attacking players were outstanding and Martinez had particular praise for Callum McManaman, a pariah a month ago after his wild tackle on Newcastle's Massadio Haïdara. "He is such an easy footballer," Martinez said. "Give him a football and he is the happiest boy on earth. At such a young age, for us he has been a very important player this season. I am glad at least he has been able to show what Callum McManaman is."

That is the problem that Millwall, for all the best efforts of some good people, face again today.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future