Millwall FC has vowed to crack down on their fans 'criminal element' after another weekend of football violence.
Riot police clashed with hundreds of Lion supporting hooligans who ripped up 50 seats hurling coins and bottles as missiles and smashing shop fronts at their away game to Hull City
12 people were arrested in the FA Cup forth round clash on Saturday. Millwall lost 2-0
Humberside Police are investigating how as many as 500 Millwall fans already known to be "high risk" potential trouble-makers were able to attend the game.
The incidents are a serious set back to the South Bermondsey club efforts to rehabilitate the New Den's rowdy image.
It harks back to the bad old days of the 80s where the club gained a fierce reputation for having unruly fans, including the play off game against Birmingham City in May 2002, which was described by the BBC as one of the worst cases of civil disorder seen in Great Britain in the recent past.
A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said that 47 policemen and 24 police horses were injured, and the Metropolitan Police considered suing Millwall after the events.
Hull say 'pay for damage'
Hull City plan to bill millwall for the damage to seats, toilets and refreshments stands. Paul Duffen, the home club's chairman, said:
"This kind of mindless hooliganism is an ugly throwback to a bygone era which most clubs have eradicated from their culture."
The Football Association is likely to launch an inquiry.
How the violence unfolded
Crowd trouble broke out in a corner of the North Stand where the away fans were closest to Hull supporters in the East Stand. They infiltrated the empty seated area designed to separate fans and reigned missiles on the home fans who responded in kind - leading police to believe the violence was organised/
In the second half, another incident was spotted in the other corner of the North Stand which was packed with hundreds of Millwall supporters.
Intelligence said that the match would be targeted by footie thugs leading to the doubling of officers a the ground. Chief Inspector Darren Downs, Humberside police's match commander, said that around 280 officers were assigned to crowd control duties.
"What was unusual was the outbreak of trouble inside the ground, since the introduction of closed-circuit television it has become rare. Once the video evidence has been studied, however, those involved can expect to find us knocking on their doors."
Determination to rid club of thugs
In a statement on the club’s website yesterday, Lions executive deputy chairman Heather Rabbatts said:
"I have already spoken to a number of genuine fans as well as my other directors, and we are as one in our determination to rid this club of the element that caused problems on Saturday.
"The reality of the situation is that we have a core of around four or five hundred travelling fans who follow the team up and down the country week-in week-out causing no problems whatsoever.
"These people will now be identified by other clubs and police forces as potential trouble makers and treated accordingly, whilst the real culprits will not be at Hereford on Tuesday night for example.
"We, at Millwall, will continue to take responsibility for doing everything in our power to rid ourselves of a criminal element which clearly sees big games involving our club as an opportunity to indulge in anti-social behaviour.
"Saying that these are not genuine Millwall fans is not ducking the issue because clearly those who support the team regularly know what damage incidents such as Saturday's do to the club and are as dismayed by and condemnatory of these events as the rest of us.
"What is even more vital now, is that everyone working in football wakes up to the fact that there is still an anti-social hooligan element in our society which continues to be attracted to football as a vehicle for their activities.
"While Millwall's name was again the one that hit the media headlines, so-called Hull City fans were also arrested on Saturday and there were problems at other games just as there have been during the course of the season.
"Football clubs and the football authorities have to redouble our efforts in working with police and other agencies to tackle what remains a major issue for all of us."