A truly ugly night out in the family enclosure
The following is an article picked up by The Observer from the Football 365 web site and published in an edited format. The Articles credibility has been ripped to shreds by the people at the game but the Observer still published it....

 A truly ugly night out in the family enclosure

Sunday December 9, 2001 The Observer

Hooliganism is a thing of the past... football's more family-friendly nowadays... you don't hear the racial abuse of the 1970s and 1980s. Or so they say. But some of the myths about modern football crowds just don't stand up to scrutiny in this shocking account of what happened at Millwall's game against Manchester City in London on Tuesday night. Away fans were banned because of trouble at a recent fixture, but one London-based City fan - a journalist who wishes to remain anonymous - bought tickets from Millwall and went along with a young relative and a friend.

An account of his ugly night out appeared on the web and led to a stream of responses, most of them from Millwall fans denying his version of events and saying: 'It's just as bad up north.' Observer Sport has no reason to disbelieve him - and makes no apologies for publishing a thoroughly offensive report on a bunch of thoroughly offensive people.

"We took our seats at The New Den about five minutes before kick-off. We heaved a sigh of relief as we looked around and saw a collection of relatively normal people... until the teams ran out.

'Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo,' screamed the white twentysomething male next to me while jumping up and down imitating a monkey. On this occasion there were no black players in the Millwall team so it was clear where the abuse was directed.

'Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo,' screamed all his mates around us. 'Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo,' chanted approximately half the crowd.Their target? Shaun Goater, who had the misfortune to be closest to the touchline.

'F*** off you northern monkey! Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo.'

'F*** off you stunted coon! Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo,' they screamed at Shaun Wright Phillips.

'F*** off Paki!' was the welcome for Ali Benarbia the first time he touched the ball.

'F*** off you fat Jew!' was the inevitable insult hurled regularly at Eyal Berkovic.

'No one likes us, No one likes us No one likes us We don't care We are Millwall, Super Millwall...'

And on and on it went.

City, not unreasonably, were apprehensive in the opening minutes of the game. However, they soon settled down.

'The coon's in the box! The f***ing coon's in the box! Oo, oo, oo, oo! Oh f*** he's scored.' Shaun Goater silenced the racists for a few minutes with a well-taken goal from a sublime cross from the 'stunted coon' Shaun Wright Phillips. On Tuesday Goater had said: 'I'm sure we have the experience to handle the situation and come away with the points. The match at Millwall three years ago was the most frightening I have been involved in during my footballing career.' How they must have enjoyed that one.

The racist ranting continued throughout the first half and just as it looked as if we were going to have a quiet, celebratory half-time cup of tea, Millwall equalised.

'F*** off Keegan, F*** off Keegan, No one likes us, We don't care We are Millwall Super Millwall...

'By now we'd had enough and asked to move into the Family Stand for the second half. 'It's just as bad in there,' said the steward. And she was right. I've been going to football for 40 years, barely missing a game home or away, and this is the worst experience I've ever had.

'Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo,' screamed the six- year-old girl in front of us, seated a few yards away from a sign that read: 'Racist abuse will not be tolerated and may lead to prosecution.'

'Stop it. You can't do that,' her father said.

'Why not?' she asked. 'Everybody else is doing it. Tell them to stop. Oo, oo, oo, oo, oo.' It depressingly went on and on.

City were attacking the goal in front of the empty 'away end' and by now they were so much on top it was hard not to comment. Huckerby scored. There was absolute silence - eerie and terrifying. The players celebrated by standing on the deadball line and applauding the empty stand, a tribute to the fans who weren't allowed in to watch this impressive performance.

Ten minutes to go and the abuse had levelled out to a desultory booing of all City's players. Suddenly Millwall were back in the game, scoring a penalty after Danny Tiatto handled the ball: 2-2. Seven minutes to go and although we wanted to win we were beginning to think a draw might be the safest option.

Then a chorus of monkey noises alerted us to the fact that Shaun Wright Phillips was in sight of goal. Bang! The ball hit the back of the net with such force you could hear it. The three of us suppressed our delight when suddenly we heard 'YESSSS...C'mon City!' from an executive box directly behind us. Unfortunately everyone around us heard it, too, and within seconds the box was under siege from the dads and mums and sons and daughters who make up the numbers in Millwall's 'Family Enclosure'.

Thankfully the stewards got there first and stopped 40 or so sub-humans from getting into the box for a free corporate evening out (with bonus fighting).

Finally, after what seemed like hours, the whistle went for the end of the game and we were able to escape. After the inevitable train delay for 30 minutes we got back to the car. 'YESSSS. WE WON!'

The relief all round was tangible. At last we could speak without fear."

PS: The Millwall fans' responses to the version of this report that ran online (football365.com) are incredible. Most admit there is racism at the ground but try to counterbalance it by saying 'but we're not all like that'. I was in Turin when the Italians abused Emile Heskey last year and the FA strongly and rightly condemned it. Why are they always silent on Millwall?


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