Millwall Boss Holloway Must Apologise After Rotherham Riot – by Rob Atkinson

Holloway - looking the other way

Holloway – looking the other way

Life, Leeds United, the Universe & Everything has often in the past railed against the casual attitude of the football authorities towards the lunatic fringe of Millwall fans, a band who seemingly act as they please with little or no fear of official sanction. At various times, the FA, the Football League, police forces around the country and apologists within Millwall FC itself have leant over backwards to excuse those loveable, chirpy cockneys for the mayhem, violence and misery they routinely inflict on defenceless and innocent match-going fans of other clubs – even, on one infamous occasion, involving children wearing their own colours at Wembley as the ‘Wall fans turned on each other during their semi-final defeat. Today, yet again, this blog finds itself totally vindicated by events in its view of Millwall FC and those who follow that club.

Now, after the latest disgusting exhibition of uncivilised brutality at Rotherham United‘s New York Stadium on Saturday, we hear that “the guilty ones will be caught”. Well, it’s way past time that they were. This is not, after all, a secret problem; everyone knows that the London club has far more than its fair share of thugs. And yet as recently as a couple of weeks ago, after another defeat at Leeds United, Millwall’s manager Ian Holloway was raging about the travel restrictions that kept the away following down on that occasion, complaining that this contributed towards his team being beaten and insisting the Millwall fans were reformed, reinvented, just the type of people you’d want to see your daughter bring home when the vicar’s round for tea, more or less.

The blind stupidity of such a claim has been adequately demonstrated, yet again and at the usual human cost, at Rotherham. Which begs the question: will Holloway now apologise for his ludicrous remarks after the Leeds game? Will he, in fact, reiterate the entirely more sensible position he espoused after the opening day fixture, when Millwall fans disgraced themselves by their habitual references to murders in Turkey? On that occasion, Holloway vented his disgust at the Millwall hate mob; his position since then appears to have been revised – but not in a good way. First there was his ridiculous rant in the press after the Leeds United loss – and after Rotherham? Well, he said he “hadn’t seen it”. Selective blindness, Mr. Holloway? Most convincing, I don’t think. Monsieur Wenger does it rather better, as he does most things compared to you.

It does rather make you wonder whether Holloway had cause after that opening game to regret lambasting his own fans. His volte face since then suggests that he may have come under pressure to lay off the criticism of the Millwall support, who are after all a group of people accustomed to attacking others both verbally and physically, and yet curiously sensitive to any hint of criticism directed against them. There is some speculation today about whether Holloway has “lost the Millwall fans”. If he has managed to do that – could he perhaps teach the rest of us the trick?

I know how those fans simply can’t abide any criticism from personal experience; after previous articles I’ve written to have a go at the least civilised group of supporters in the UK, I’ve had my Twitter feed clogged with hateful bile, venom directed at my family, earnest attempts to find my home address with encouragement from the sidelines to pay me a visit and “sort me out” – all that kind of childish, playground rubbish. And of course they’re always ready with a leer and a Galatasaray top or a Turkish flag, to have a laugh about the murder of two Leeds fans in Istanbul and pose for a malicious photo opportunity – all in impeccable taste and good clean fun, of course. Just today, I’ve had them attempting to poke fun at my Dad’s death – it’s par for the course with that lot, and it just goes in the spam bin. But it’s funny how it doesn’t happen with any other club’s fans – only Man U come anywhere near – and contrary to their paranoid and egotistical belief, I do have a go at other clubs from time to time.

For dishing it out and yet being completely unable to take it – and only for that – Millwall fans must be the top firm in the country. Their unwillingness to travel to Leeds in numbers, mumbling pathetic excuses about travel restrictions, tells its own tale of keyboard warriors who shy away from any actual old-fashioned confrontations with one of the more notorious northern sets of fans. They evidently felt a lot braver going to Rotherham, where the victims of these big brave lads included at least one female steward.

All in all, it’s not a very impressive picture and, despite the bewildered ravings of the manager, there is absolutely no sign of improvement. As long as there are soft targets, with almost zero chance of any real resistance, the Millwall troops will be up for it; it’s only when there is some inconvenience or danger involved that they stay nice and safe at home. Holloway, in his more recent comments, would have you believe that they are a much-maligned lot and should be given a break. But that kind of talk can be dangerous; it can motivate self-righteous and yet violently-inclined people to take the next safe opportunity to demonstrate that, yes – they see themselves as having been victims of an injustice, and that they’re going to wreak havoc in revenge.

And another thing: could the Holloway rant also have had the effect of persuading South Yorkshire Police to take a less restrictive line than their West Yorkshire Police colleagues had followed for the Leeds game? Certainly, the Millwall fans were far more numerous at the New York Stadium than they had been at Elland Road. That made for a tinderbox atmosphere; the violence and hatred only really became extreme when Rotherham scored their 85th minute winner, but it seems that it was bubbling under all afternoon.

It’s also a fact that Rotherham and the local Police did have intelligence that trouble could be expected; a Rotherham United club statement read, in part:

“We were aware that a section of Millwall supporters were planning on attending this game intent on causing disorder. Contingency plans were in place to deal with this outcome with extra stewarding and Police resources in place to deal with the anticipated threat. Despite the extra resources deployed this group made numerous attempts to seek disorder throughout the afternoon resulting in the despicable scenes towards the end of the match.” 

So, why wasn’t more done to control the movements and travel arrangements of the visiting support? The events of the afternoon can surely have come as no surprise to anybody connected with either club, the Police, this blog – anybody at all, with the possible exception of the naive and credulous Mr Holloway.

It’s high time that this persistent problem was stamped out. The FA and the Football League have virtually unlimited powers to act against a club with a troublesome support, as we at Leeds have learned ourselves in the past for far smaller transgressions. Millwall are a little club who create problems out of all proportion to their size and standing in the game. That much is self-evident. So how many more times must their “fans” be allowed to besmirch the name of their club, their city and football in general, before something is done? Answers on a postcard, please.

Something needs to happen, and soon. It’s only a matter of time before this sort of thing costs a life, maybe more than one. No football club is worth the spilling of one single drop of blood, and it’s way overdue that Millwall FC realised its own continued existence is far less important than the safety and security of every single man, woman and child who attends a fixture involving it. But the first person who needs to apologise, publicly and profusely, on a charge of making light of a real problem and offering hope and succour to a band of degraded thugs, is Millwall manager Ian Holloway. That could conceivably start off a process whereby the problem might be acknowledged and addressed.

Defeat at Rotherham left Millwall six points away from possible Championship safety, a gulf that this blog earnestly hopes they will not bridge. That’s not in any spirit of wishing them onto League One; after all that division has done nothing lately to upset me. But the bigger sphere of the Championship has earned a rest from what comes along with Millwall, and it would be a happy day that sees their relegation confirmed. That currently looks more likely than not to happen; watch out for a celebratory blog post as and when.

Shame on Millwall FC, shame on their fans, shame, most acutely and deservedly, on Ian Holloway, a man who spoke long before he thought two weeks ago, and who surely must be regretting that now. Shame is the watchword where the Lions are concerned.

When you’re gone, you will not be missed.

24 responses to “Millwall Boss Holloway Must Apologise After Rotherham Riot – by Rob Atkinson

  1. Enjoy in league one…cockney retards.


  2. whiteshotgun

    so Millwall fans fought each other I heard today, they were probably planning to fight Rotherham but 4 the fans they took wasn’t enough………………. someone asked me the other day what time did Millwall kick off, I told em every 10 minutes …… once scum always scum idjits


  3. The main problem is that the Millwall Board of Directors turn a blind eye to their fans ‘problems’
    The FL are too busy hunting Massimo, to take firm action!!!


  4. Yet another good blog Rob . This is exactly why the millwall scum had restrictions on their ”supporters” . I’m not saying we are perfect cos all clubs have their idiots but when you consider we take between 2.000 and 7.000 (ticket allocation dependent) with very little aggro just goes to show how far we’ve come and how much they’re stuck in the 80’s and makes me proud to be a Leeds fan more than ever . Big miss next season they certainly won’t be . Bye bye !!! We’ll never play you again…..M.O.T


  5. Excellent post as always Rob!

    As soon as I heard about these idiots causing problems my first thought was that Mr Holloway must be indulging in a big slice of post-game humble pie…but then as you said, he’s probably too naive to realise anything is wrong.


  6. Normally I hate generalising about fans and get somewhat heated when people pick on Leeds fans but Millwall is the most hateful ground in the country to visit and the excesses of Millwall fans speak for themselves. It begs the question whether those Millwall fans who don’t actually participate in causing alarm and distress to others are all too ready to excuse and support those who do. Are there any decent Millwall supporters out there? Show yourselves please!


  7. Leeds fans are proud of their own perceived hardness (its even alluded to in this very article), so criticism from them is somehow less damning. No credibility when it comes to issueing rebukes to any other support. . Are there idiots who follow Millwall? Of course there are. But somehow lectures from leeds fans hold little credibility. Its akin to rangers fans slating chelsea for the Paris racist incident.


    • I’ve never quite got this defence. It’s as if you’re saying, however awful and thuggish the Millwall fans are, if you support a club that has any kind of history at all, you’re debarred from criticising them. It doesn’t wash, I’m afraid – and the fact that people keep falling back on it shows how little defence there really is for the way the Millwall thugs carry on.


      • Rob, you make some valid and fair points. But Leeds fans, even in this debate allude to a perverse pride in their own perceived hardness. The suggestion that Millwall fans are scared of travelling to Leeds, truth is the obstacles put in their path are ludicrous, a throwback to Thatchers notion of banning away fans. Millwalls image is not good, and sadly that lends itself to a couple of things, scrutiny unlike any other club and an impression that there is trouble at every Millwall game, and unfortunately a belief among sections of the support that they have to live up to this image. no doubt there are distasteful chants and that’s wrong, but every club has chants that can be deemed offensive. Munich type stuff, building bonfires to burn people etc. Anyway this is a decent debate, generally and I appreciate you showing posts that disagree with your views.


      • In whatever context I portray the Millwall transgressions, you must surely appreciate that it’s just to provide some colour for the piece. It’s not to shift the focus – and anyone looking at what’s happened has to look at it in isolation. In other words, there’s no sense in arguing that the perception of Millwall’s latest disgrace, or the one before that, or the one before that, ad infinitum, should be at all affected by whatever any other club’s followers might have done. That’s a separate matter for another day.


    • Mr Rearguard

      The Paris racist incident was a staged event….it simply didn’t happen. All played out by actors. If anything appears in the Daily Fail/bbc/sky news etc you know it’s all bulldung with an agenda behind.


      • Oh I know all about how the media spins events and whips people into a frenzy. Lots of minorities have paid a price for such spin down through the years. As for the Paris event being an was Rotheram, just got a few more actors involved.


      • I’m deeply cynical – but there’s a limit. These things sadly DO happen.


  8. Pete Woodthorpe

    Ian Holloway was talking out of turn about how the Millwall fans were treated at LEEDS because he doesn’t know the full history of how those fans have behaved at Elland Road over the last 25 years. If he did know the history he would have kept quiet, I hope, as once again the Millwall fans showed at Rotherham that they can’t be trusted


    • considering how it all kicked off when they played bradford earlier in the season, can’t blame the west yorks plod for restricting them visiting Leeds


  9. Interesting.
    Once again you mention Millwall being scared, you know their not.

    Ask your original service crew how they got on at New Cross.

    Or 1985 a coach load in your end?

    1988/89 under the underpass?

    The worst part is Millwall looked after Leeds in one incident and, you clearly know nothing about it:

    You trade on Leeds hooligans, but know nothing about it.

    Own up you are a librarian


    • I wish I was after reading that drivel.


    • The service crew are long gone, thank God, as are the mindless crews that attached themselves to each and every club. I don’t remember the Millwall lot being any more scary than any other crew, in fact I can’t remember playing Millwall. It does seem that some London clubs – Millwall, Chelsea and West Ham – don’t seem to have moved on from the bad old days when families just couldn’t go to football. Just referring to Galatasaray marks you out as ignorant retards – any life lost because of football is pointless and something to mourn, not celebrate


    • Leeds love the thought of us fearing them,they are quick to forget why the ticket restrictions are placed on us at elland road. Rob got it wrong,THEY are the keyboard warriors


    • oldcomrade

      Its 2015 spunknik, move on, and grow up.


  10. May i remind everyone of the two odious micro celebrities and millwall supporters who were put on this earth for no other purpose than to annoy? The two being danny baker and rod liddle. Firstly,the obtrusive baker and why would his name be in the little black book of contacts belonging to convicted paedophile jeffrey epstein? Secondly,rod liddle the racist bastard who demanded that all muslims should be held to account for the Charlie Hebdo shootings. Except there weren’t any shootings and rod liddle knew damn well there weren’t. Don’t believe me? Why was Israeli tv there filming as this latest false flag occurred? Now that decrepid old hag theresa may has gave a grave warning of such an attack in this country soon. Watch out for more “anti terror” laws (or dissipation of human and civil rights). I’d recommend the Global research and Truthseeker sites to all intelligent LUFC supporters.


  11. Denise Hayes

    Neil – You ask for decent Millwall Fans to come out well here goes. I am a ST holder at Millwall, we go to games as a family and when kids were younger we have taken part in all sorts of family activities the club offers, including kids being mascots at away games. I do not condone the actions of what is a monitory, and I know the fans who sit around feel the same. What doesn’t make the news is the amount of fans who get arrested, prosecuted and banned…despite belief this does happen.
    In my own personal experience this has happened to innocent people too. Cases of mistaken identity in the crowd by police/tv cameras ( another story).
    If you have been to The Den in the last couple of years you will know it’s not the fortress it once was the poor quality of football has driven many ‘football’ fans away.
    Being a London club our youngsters follow their peers and support the likes of Chelsea & Arsenal so our fan base doesn’t appear to be growing as we would like.
    It’s not an excuse for their behaviour but fans are currently disgruntled due to our position in the league, a clown of a manager and a board that don’t seem to care it’s not a personal attack on opposing teams. However, you are right it does not give fans the right to riot but let’s be clear Saturday was a about some mesh ripping, chanting and singing to opposing fans and (compared to many games I could mention) a small number of incidents outside the ground. I have witnessed events such as these over the years week in week out by both Millwall and opposing fans. The only reason this week is making big news is because it wasn’t Millwall fans kicking a Black Man off of a train in Paris! The media needed to ensure that at some point they had to reference Millwall into whatever disgusting behaviour is going on at other clubs.
    Football carries with it much banter it is a platform where after a stressful week at work many can let off steam by shouting and singing without anyone taking any notice and let’s be honest most of us live in the real world and know that week in week out this turns into small (and I mean small) pockets of trouble at EVERY game.
    All I ask is that when writing these articles about our own morons that you remember there are many more decent fans following a club we love, spending hundreds of pounds on disappointing results only to the be tarred with a rather sticky brush!………it’s tedious!


  12. good shout Denise, Unfortunately Millwall get tarnished by the mindless minority who revel in a reputation that in all honesty the younger lot have been living off since the turn of the century and pose about as much a threat as a bag of Sweets. I have a degree of sympathy with Millwall but the minority seem to revel in the past and for some reason steadfastly refuse to let it go. Ive seen far far worse than what happened against Rotherham but its blasted out of all proportion because it’s Millwall and I think that’s where the problem lies, because the media won’t let it go it provides fuel for the minority to glorify in it and on it goes. The decent fans of the club rarely get their voices heard because of this and from an outsiders view on this, there clearly are some decent fans of the club, Denise and her family good examples of this. Millwall also clearly have a overwhelming minority who are f……..g up the game for the rest and I really do feel for the decent families who support the Lions as it must be upsetting for them to be tarred with the same brush as the scum who attach themselves to the club. Their hierarchy continually denying any wrongdoing isn’t doing them any favours either mind it must be said.


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