Millwall pitch invaders banned

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The Independent Online
Millwall yesterday moved swiftly to head off the threat of ground closure by imposing life bans on fans who invaded the New Den pitch during Wednesday night's Coca-Cola Cup defeat by Sheffield Wednesday.

Graham Hortop, the club's chief executive, labelled the pair "fools". In the 65th minute, one fan confronted Wednesday's goalkeeper, Kevin Pressman, with an alleged death threat. Pressman claimed the fan said: "You are a dead man. You will never leave this ground alive."

Hortop said: "Sadly, two of our supporters decided to make fools of themselves by going on to the pitch. The club will not tolerate such behaviour and have acted immediately by banning the two persons involved from The Den for life."

By acting swiftly, Millwall hope the Football Association will not close the ground, as the club is living under the shadow of a suspended pounds 100,000 fine and an order to play two matches behind closed doors following an incident 16 months ago, when the Derby goalkeeper, Martin Taylor, was kicked by fans.

The Premiership's high-fliers will go head-to-head in the fourth round of the Coca-Cola Cup, after yesterday's draw sent Kevin Keegan and Newcastle back to his old club Liverpool, and the faltering champions Blackburn into the intimidating atmosphere of Leeds' Elland Road.

There is also a re-run of the 1993 final, Sheffield Wednesday travelling to Highbury to meet an Arsenal side bidding for their fifth successive win over the Yorkshiremen in this competition.

COCA-COLA CUP Fourth-round draw: Aston Villa v Queen's Park Rangers; Arsenal v Sheffield Wednesday; Wolves or Charlton v Coventry; Reading or Bury v Southampton; Norwich or Bradford City v Bolton or Leicester; Leeds v Blackburn; Liverpool v Newcastle; Crystal Palace or Middlesbrough v Birmingham City or Tranmere. (Ties to be played week commencing 27 November).

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