A miskick from
Millwall's black player Barry Hayles was met with some disturbing
jeers. "You f****** animal!" shouted someone to the top
left of me.
later I could I distinctly hear monkey-grunting noises on the
stand above me. The mood was beginning to grow ugly.
As the first
half drew to a close, the temperature rose. I could hardly believe
my ears as I heard staccato chants that took a few moments to
heil. Sieg heil." (German for "hail victory") was
being chanted by some fans and it was increasing in volume.
I even spotted
some figures, thankfully far away, throwing, Nazi salutes.
A fan behind
me, with his family in tow, embarrassingly avoided eye contact.
racists," he said to his wife and children, making sure that
I could hear.
editor of New Nation, I have covered my share of football matches
at Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Crystal Palace and elsewhere. But
I have never known anything as sinister as the chants coming from
the small section above me.
half-time interval, things got even worse. One black steward had a
number of missiles thrown in his direction. But after making
several complaints, he obviously decided to just ignore the cans
and plastic bottles that were being caught in safety netting in
front of him.
from the home crowd were now mostly of the familiar:
referee's a w*****" nature. But when a black player went down
injured the down injured the "Sieg heil" chants started
again and my mood turned sour.
A few fans
nearby, noticing my discomfort, laughed. But on the whole, the
majority just ignored it.
front of me were two official placards that read: "Lions
Against Racism - Kick It Out" and: "The Lions Have Pride
words appeared to be lost on the ignorant minority of fans, mainly
on the stand above me, who routinely jeered black players from
both sides. They only seemed pleased with anything black when
Millwall's Paul Ifill scored in the 78th minute.
on display on this windy afternoon was exciting. But there was a
vicious undercurrent that became more prominent in the second
half. And as hard as I tried, I couldn't feel a part of the
victory celebrations going on all around me as Millwall cruised
to a 2-0 win.
Sat in a row
all by myself, I felt alone but grateful that I had used my better
judgment and not got a ticket in the upper stand. After the final
whistle, the Photographer who accompanied me
said he'd seen the same section on the stand above me unfurl a
racist banner, and I made my way out as quickly as I
stadium there was heavy police presence.
I had intended
to go for a drink nearby to test the atmosphere in the pub
afterwards. But after
what I had just experienced I decided to give it a miss.
likes us. We don't care," is the Millwall fans' anthem.
the FA finally takes action against their minority of hardcore
racist fans, they can start singing a new tune.