We’ve seen it all before of course. Some daft little chavvy club from the back of beyond get all worked up, bless ’em, about the prospect of playing Yorkshire giants Leeds United – all that history of achievement, all that tradition and global support – and they bust a gut, strain every sinew and try their little hearts out. Backed by a flaky bunch of tribesmen from whatever godawful hole they represent, they raise themselves to twice-a-season heights. Thus charged with fervent and passionate determination, they do it – they beat Leeds United, aided by our favourites’ occasional ineptitude when it comes to facing determined yet tiny opposition. All very embarrassing. But we know we’ll be wryly amused by what invariably comes next.
The little club relish the glory of their hard-won victory. They can think of little else, and the praise of their manager and coaches, their fans and their big game hangers-on, washes over them like a warm ocean in which to bask under the sunshine of achievement. We beat Leeds, we did it – but God, we’re knackered. And there’s another game a few days down the line…
Reality bites. The little club’s little players and their greatly-reduced band of supporters – unwelcome anywhere outside of their own early 20th century ghetto – head off for the next fixture. There, wiped out, exhausted, nothing in the tank because they’ve given it all, they abjectly fail, surrendering meekly before the opposition they have no power to resist. They lose, heavily. The manager is disappointed, the fans have fallen heavily back to earth. They half-expected it anyway. But what the hell – they beat Leeds and what a performance THAT was. No wonder they’d nothing left.
I’ve seen it happen time and time again. This is what the name of Leeds United means. This is what the history behind the badge says to the teams we face nowadays. We’re a scalp, and they’ll give it all, 110 percent, Brian, anything so that they can beat us. It’s got to the stage now whereby, every time we lose to one of these comical yonner teams – and it happens far too often – I look for their next result. It’s amazing how often I can predict it: they’ll be knackered, they’ll get nothing there. It’s funny how often I’m right. Normally I’ll just shrug and think that we have to learn to deal with these adrenalin junkies when we play them instead of just softening them up for the next lot. But this time, there’s a thrill of satisfaction.
Because this time it’s poxy bloody Millwall. Horrible, repellent, disgusting Millwall, late of Cold Blow Lane and that smelly slagheap of a ground where the bricks used to fly and the home crowd rioted among themselves behind netting because their own fellow fans were all they could find to fight. Unpleasant, racist, evil Millwall, who moved from an old Den to a New one, made of Meccano, resplendent in tacky placky blue seats – and improved not a jot in the process. Sick, gloating, shameful Millwall who won’t let go of their pastime of celebrating violent death and taunting the bereaved extended family at every opportunity. Millwall, the stain on the game. They beat Leeds last Saturday and partied hearty. Then they went to Birmingham on Tuesday evening and got well and truly stuffed 4-0, having left all their blood sweat and tears in the mud and grass of the field where they played The Whites. I could have warned them it would happen. They possibly feel it was worth it, to beat Leeds United. It’s the price of fame, though of course, we’re “not famous any more”. Yeah, right. Anyhow, it’s back to reality for Millwall and their nauseating, cowardly fans. Suck it up.
The aftermath of the Leeds game in South Bermondsey has been predictable too. I published a blog on the morning of the match, alerted by the bile and gut-wrenching hatred on Twitter that the morons and the cretins were up for a party during the game. Very swiftly, I was inundated with threatening messages of hate and imbecility, mostly unfit to print. Some – a few – were from clearly educated people and even they reduced the issue to “well you lot have sung about Munich for years”. The more I argued that a minority did that, years ago and that it has now largely stopped, the more I kept getting the same refrain, in amongst all the vicious threats of retribution and violence: “Pot, kettle, black”. And these were the intelligent ones. Some posed as Leeds fans, pretending to condemn from within the offended support. Some tried to trick my address out of me. I had to change my blog settings, such was the tsunami of filth. All for complaining about the number of appalling tweets that morning and for predicting that the afternoon’s fixture would be infected by the usual, awful, gloating references to the murders in Istanbul.
And, lo – it came to pass. The police had promised to take action if, as in previous years, there was offensive chanting. They failed to keep that promise. The stewards stood idly by, bovine and uncaring, just as they had at Wembley last April when these animals fought each other during an FA Cup semi-final, heedless of crying children, drunk on bloodlust, savage and ignorant, reckless of consequences or what the civilised world might think. It happened against Leeds as we knew it would, the sick chanting, the salivating over violent death. But now Leeds supporters organised under a unifying banner are demanding some action.
The Leeds United Supporters Trust (LUST) have issued a statement summarising the events of the day at Millwall, and asking for witnesses as to the nature and extent of any offensive chanting, with any video captures particularly welcomed. LUST also intend to make representations to Millwall FC and to the Metropolitan Police. The message to those who behave in this appalling manner is: we will not stand idly by and let you get away with it. Pressure will be exerted on the relevant authorities to identify offenders and to deal with them to the full extent of the law. Clicking on this link will present a variety of options for responding to LUST’s call for help.
Naturally, I hope that LUST are successful in obtaining some action against the lowlife scum who perpetrate these obscenities on such a regular basis. But I shall not be living in hope, nor holding my breath. The casually indifferent attitude of police and matchday security staff alike speaks of an acceptance that this is just the way things are in the cesspool that houses these people. It’s not good enough – but it seems to be the case. Millwall FC and its fans evidently inhabit a grubby little bubble of the past, where the improvements in behaviour and in the attitudes of rival fans towards each other have failed to penetrate. It is tempting to say that I hope this will not remain the case, but I’m not entirely sure I mean it. It would be better, perhaps, for such a very backward lot to remain separated from proper football fans. Maybe the best thing of all would be just to get rid of Millwall FC altogether. After all, if you cut the head off the snake, you render it harmless. It seems to me that that’s the best way to go.