Are Millwall right to dispute charges over the violence at Upton Park?
The Violence that occurred at upton park took football back decades. Millwall does not see how it can control its fans at another club’s grounds but it is about creating a culture in the club where this kind of violence does not occur. Is Millwall right that they should bear no responsibility while away, or did the FA make the right decision that both sides are to blame.
Are Millwall right to dispute charges over the violence at Upton Park?Yes because... No because...
Millwall Should Be Punished
There is a long running history of problems between Millwall and West Ham, even to the extent that it has been glorified in films such as 'Football Factory'. Over recent years there have been attempts by the Millwall board to change the image around the club, but despite this when people go to The New Den there is always a feeling of something bubbling just under the surface.
When Millwall and West Ham were drawn together in the Carling Cup, it is my belief that there should have been a concerted effort by the Met Police to control the way that fans got to Upton Park. Yes, this may lead to the feeling that fans are being treated like animals, but when you see the sort of scenes that were witnessed outside the ground that day, and the atmosphere that existed inside the ground, then it is no more than some fans deserve. If the Met had controlled the flow of the majority of the Millwall fans, then there is an argument that the kind of scenes that happened outside Upton Park may never have taken place.
Whilst it is possible that the stabbing that took place, and the majority of fights were started by people who did not have tickets for the match, the fans were acting under the colours of both teams, and therefore both sides are punishable for the events that took place. With England looking towards hosting the World Cup in 2018, both West Ham and Millwall need to be shown to have been made an example of. This can only be done by punishing both clubs, and not letting a club like Millwall, who have a strong history of football related violence, getting away without charge. If the football world sees clubs like Millwall and West Ham getting punished for bringing the game into disrepute then the FA is sending out a clear zero tolerance message, which should be applauded.
Arguably West Ham should receive a stronger punishment, seeing as they were at home and failed to control their fans inside the stadium, but they should also be applauded for not letting the Millwall fans onto the pitch. If this had happened then we could be looking at a far worse situation. Both clubs need to be punished, but for Millwall to dispute the charges, and look for some remorse is quite frankly wrong. They need to be made an example of, and perhaps their fans will learn, one and for all, that football violence does not have any place in the modern game.