Wednesday 26 August 2009

Rewind - Back to the Dark Days.... it's not a pretty sight

Last night we were reminded of the darker side of football and once again it involved sides from London and to no one's suprise, it involved Millwall (again)….

I didn’t watch the match, but I heard from friends that there had been trouble and that it was kicking off quite big. When I got in from work (quite late) I logged onto the beeb and they were showing footage of the scenes during the match, and also of the stand off between fans outside the ground that continued into the night.

The Guardian today has some photographs of the trouble on their site and from the looks of it, it was a large disturbance that involved a significant number of people and resulted in several serious injuries.

Videos of the disturbances are now appearing on youtube as well.... although this chap who filmed this must now be thinking "was it such a good idea?" He has been appearing on Sky and other TV shows, showing his face and showing his video... living so close to a bunch of hammers fans... I'm not so sure he's been wise in his moves... the funniest point though is that he was on sky sports today in a Liverpool top!!! Is he mental???

It looks as though the invasions and the provocations inside the ground were coming from West Ham and not from Millwall, which I must admit, came as a surprise, my initial reaction was that there was trouble around the away end….

I’m sure that Millwall are not completely in the clear and there are reports of police intervention in the away end during the match. Outside of the ground the press are now reporting that much of the early violence was caused when West Ham and Millwall fans were trying to get at each other through the police cordon, the police standing their ground then became embroiled in battles with both sets of fans. But I’m sure that the police and FA investigations will look into the make up of the crowds that gathered both before and after the match.

Regardless of who did what, this incident is undoubtedly going to re-open the debate around punishments for clubs that are unable to restrain their fans and maintain an environment for all, rather than the x-rated scenes that were seen at Upton Park last night.

In my opinion, the scenes inside the ground and the sheer number of fans that invaded the pitch from the West Ham end points to the fact that levels of stewarding and their positioning was a major issue. It looks as though West Ham have concentrated on restraining the away supporters and ignored their own supporters at the same time….so what do the FA do?

The expectation is that both clubs will be given a large fine and will be reprimanded by the FA, but is that enough? Do the FA have the balls to turn around to West Ham and tell them that as a result of their inability to steward and police their fans to a satisfactory level they will be disqualified from the Carling Cup?

What do you think the penalties for the two clubs should be?

On a more CAFC related topic… when the Addicks are playing Millwall, should I expect to see similar levels of violence?

I’ve never been away to the Den, I was working away when Liverpool played there a few years ago when their was violence between the two sides, but I did get a taste of CAFC’s rivalries notably with Palace and it was an intense atmosphere….

Is Charlton’s rivalry with Millwall as intense? Charlton travel lightly at the best of times, will their allocation be even smaller at the Den?

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