MILLWALL FC…..THE GIFT THAT KEEPS ON GIVING….LACK OF FAN SUPPORT THAT IS!

 

Yesterday Lewisham Police put out a tweet explaining that they had arrested a fan for theft of the matchball at Millwall FC v Sheffield United FC after it had been kicked into the stands out of play. According to the Police this was because of a complaint by Millwall FC. While I don’t intend to  comment in this case other than to say that it appears to be overkill, and sadly in its effort to justify the arrest Lewisham Police twitter feed ended up making some inappropriate comments including making fun of the fact a male had been arrested in front of his son with #Canwehaveourballback.  And that the Club is trying to turn around its media image and therefore the arrest was justified.

 

It’s a shame that the Club is more concerned about turning around this, so called, media image only when it suits it.  In February 2016 at the Millwall v Peterborough match there was some disorder, which the Club was quick to condone, and did not offer any support for those who were arrested.  What the Club has failed to add to its media image is that fact that the whole incident of disorder occurred because a Club steward lied about being assaulted.  Because of that lie, the police entered the stand, and the subsequent disorder occurred when the fans took exception to the police handling of the incident.  While I believe the police handling of the incident was overkill, it doesn’t detract from the fact that the cause of the incident, and of fans subsequently being criminalised (and some facing a football banning order) was a Club representative, who has been quietly removed from stewarding duties. As to why the steward was initially involved in the incident? Sadly, despite requests, the Club would not provide details on why the steward was initially involved with harassing a fan, but there is an indication that it was due to the fact that the fan was blocking the view of some of the more corporate members of the Club.

This isn’t the only incident of the Club failing to back its fans.  Last season, British Transport Police put out a very inappropriate tweet saying that any fans travelling to Coventry for Coventry City FC v Millwall FC and who did not have a ticket, would be dispersed from the City under police dispersal powers.  It was after my intervention with British Transport Police that they backtracked on this, but the Club remained silent and did not support the fans.

Clearly the Club is not trying to improve its media image with the fans, but with those who, to put it bluntly, don’t matter.  It’s the fans who matter and this lack of support, which is not just a Millwall FC problem shows that the fans are not being given the support they deserve.  If a Club won’t support fans when they are facing court due solely to the wrong actions of a Club steward, so in effect due to the wrongful actions of the Club itself, when will a club support its fans?

 

I’m not a Millwall FC fan so I can make this complaint without fear of repercussions of the Club.  I appreciate that genuine fans are placed in a very difficult position with football clubs these days, as the recent letters to Charlton FC fans have shown, complain about a club on social media and face your season ticket being removed.  In other words..criticise the Club and you will be punished.  Its a shame that Millwall FC didn’t see fit to make a complaint about their steward attempting to pervert the course of justice, making a false police complaint and wasting police time..but hey..that may have affected the Club media image, far better to blame the fans…

 

 

 

 

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About gurdena

Social Justice Lawyer, interested in all things contentious. Specialising in criminal law, and anything criminal justice related, also employment law. Door tenant at 1 Grays Inn Square chambers. Find out more at www.alisongurden.com

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