Saturday, February 16, 2013

Luton v. Millwall, without the hooligans


LUTON v. MILLWALL was the FA CUP tie I most wanted to watch this weekend.
I remember only too well the events of 13 March 1985, when, as an American learning to love English football, I was introduced to the game's dark side.
I remember the news reports: Millwall supporters in Luton for an FA Cup quarterfinal ran riot during a televised match. The south London club's supporters ripped out seats at Luton's Kenilworth Road ground before smashing shop windows and trains.
The British government announced HOOLIGANISM had become a crisis, wheeling out various schemes to stem the problem -- although most fell by the wayside.
Today's match at Kenilworth Road was decidedly tame by comparison, with Millwall running out 3-0 winners.
James Henry, Rob Hulse and Dany N'Guessan scored as the Championship side denied Luton's bid to become the first non-league side in 99 years to reach the FA Cup quarter-finals.
Heavy police presence marked today's match, but there was little sign of trouble. I enjoyed watching it on TV, while recalling those darker days.

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