We can give them the benefit of the doubt and accept the word of the Millwall fansite House of Fun that raising money to fly the “Avrim Grant: Millwall legend” banner above the ground as Wigan equalised to dump West Ham in the Championship really was “just a bit of friendly banter”. We had own own moments of friendly banter two seasons ago when, as we supposed, a nation rejoiced Toon Doon.
But what are we to make of Millwall supporters planning to head towards Upton Park on Sunday, when we play the Hammers in the last game of the season?
Someone with a more charitable outlook than mine may suggest that this, too, is an entirely innocent piece of fun. I am struggling to find any possible reason for making such a journey except to cause trouble.
We have already suffered collateral damage from West Ham’s shocking assault on fans’ pockets, with a £46 asking price justified on the grounds that the Hammers’ Premier survival looked at one stage as if it might depend on the outcome. Now we face being dragged into an outbreak of tedious aggression between rival neanderthals.
Does the Met know about these plans? It is a big thing to suggest interfering with the right to travel, but I would certainly lose no sleep if hoodlums from the Isle of Dogs and the other side of the river were physically prevented from getting anywhere near the Boleyn.
The information may be patchy. But this is from southern-based Sunderland supporters:
* My younger sister’s friends from Bermondsey say that they know lots of Millwall fans who are heading down to Upton Park on Sunday to have a party. I suggest that those going may need to take extra care lest Sunderland get caught up in it all.
* The match on Sunday is the only topic on Millwall fans minds at the moment … they are extremely excited about it. The phrase I heard from a mate is that they are planing to “Congratulate our Cockney Cousins on a Commendable Consignment to the Championship”.
People connected with Millwall, including supporters for whom “no one likes us, we don’t care” is no more than a neat, if slightly sad slogan summoning memories of seriously dark days for English football, sometimes complain about the stereotype reputation for mindless thuggishness attached to their club. Unless the anecdotal evidence is wrong, they risk having their cause set back a step or two on Sunday afternoon.