Millwall have closed a section of The Den after racism and violence at FA Cup game against Everton, reveals CEO Steve Kavanagh

6 Feb

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh has told talkSPORT the club have closed a section of The Den in a bid to rid the club of problematic supporters.

The Championship club have also increased the number of stewards and police presence in the ground, following the sorry events which marred their FA Cup win over Everton.

The Lions claimed one of their biggest results in recent years with a 3-2 fourth round victory over the Premier League side, thanks to Murray Wallace’s dramatic injury-time winner.

But the win was tainted by two incidents involving their fans, which Kavanagh said left the Millwall hierarchy ‘disgusted and very upset’.

There was a mass brawl away from the stadium before kick-off, during which an Everton fan was slashed across the face with a knife, while a small group of supporters also allegedly directed racially abusive chanting towards the visiting supporters during the game.

The events have been another blot on the club’s already dreadful reputation for fan violence, one which goes back decades.

And Kavanagh told talkSPORT host Jim White that the club are working hard to change their image once and for all.

“We have got together to put a raft of measures in place to make sure we try to rid this club of any of these tags, and anyone who wants to commit racism or any form of hate – they’re just not welcome at Millwall,” said the CEO on Wednesday.

“We have shut the top section of block 17, 18 and 19, we’ve put extra stewarding in that area which will stay until the end of the season at least and police spotters will be up there to make sure the area is controlled.

“We are not being the fun police.

“We are making sure people don’t go over the line and that it’s an environment where people can enjoy the game, celebrate football and do it properly.

“It’s important to us to try and rid this image.”

More to follow…

Millwall v Everton: Lions’ CEO Steve Kavanagh responds to suggestions the club should change its name to fix bad reputation

28 Jan

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh has shut down suggestions the Lions should be re-branded in an attempt to stop the negative connotations connected with the club.

Kavanagh joined talkSPORT on Monday to respond to the ugly incidents of violence and racism which marred Millwall’s stunning FA Cup victory over Everton on Saturday.

Fans clash outside Surrey Quays Station in London ahead of the game

An Everton fan was slashed across the face with a knife during a mass brawl away from the stadium before kick-off, while a small group of Lions supporters also allegedly directed racially abusive chanting towards the visiting supporters during the game.

The shocking scenes have been condemned by Millwall, who say the fans involved ‘are not welcome’ at the club and anyone found guilty will be banned for life.

But talkSPORT producer, lifelong Millwall fan and host of Lions podcast ‘No One Likes Us Talkin’, Joe Amphlett, believes the club should take a more radical approach to fix the club’s reputation…

But Kavanagh insists that is not a road Millwall will be going down.

“They won’t be doing that,” he told talkSPORT host Jim White.

“It’s just not a proportionate response to what has happened here. We need a bit of proportionality about what has gone on here.

“We need to continue to work and redouble our efforts to stop it from happening. We’re already working on a new CCTV system.

“Yes, some people ran onto the pitch, but two years ago we scored an injury time winner against Leicester and hundreds of people ran onto the pitch.

“On Saturday there was only a few people on the pitch – why? Because we have put different measures in place, we have changed and we have learned.

Millwall’s defeat of Everton will go down in the club’s history – but the win was marred by the shocking scenes of violence and racist chanting

“Let’s make this clear, anyone who had done this is not welcome at the club – we don’t want them here, and the fans are coming out now saying they don’t want this in their ground.

“The vast majority of the fans are fantastic people, they’re proud of their club and they create an unbelievable atmosphere. They don’t want to cross that line, but there are a few uneducated people who don’t understand.

“And let’s actually separate ‘the club’ and ‘these people’. The club don’t want this. We are disgusted by this, we’re upset about this and we’re not happy.

“The people and good honest fans weren’t doing this, this is a small pocket of people. Let’s remember the other fans. They deserve credit.”

“This is a very, very small minority, the majority of fans were absolutely fantastic on Saturday and created an atmosphere and helped create a result the FA should be proud of for the competition, and yet we’re giving these idiots the oxygen after what they did, and that’s just crazy.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh IN FULL

Millwall violence: Idiot fans ‘are not welcome’ at the club after ‘disgusting’ FA Cup scenes, says CEO Steve Kavanagh – Full interview

28 Jan

Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh has told talkSPORT the fans involved in Saturday’s ugly scenes of violence and racism are ‘in the minority’ and ‘are not welcome’ at the club.

The Lions claimed one of the biggest scalps of the FA Cup fourth round as they beat Premier League Everton 3-2 at The Den thanks to a dramatic injury-time winner from Murray Wallace.

But the sensational result for the Championship side has been soured by two incidents involving their fans, which Kavanagh says has left club chiefs ‘disgusted and very upset’.

There was a mass brawl away from the stadium before kick-off, during which an Everton fan was slashed across the face with a knife, while a small group of supporters also allegedly directed racially abusive chanting towards the visiting supporters during the game.

Millwall’s defeat of Everton will go down in the club’s history – but will be forever marred by the shocking scenes of violence and racist chanting

talkSPORT pundit Tony Cascarino admitted he was ’embarrassed’ to be a Millwall supporter after the deplorable scenes, and urged the club to ‘get rid’ of the small pocket of trouble-making fans who appear to want to ensure the club’s reputation remains one of the poorest in world football.

Kavanagh joined host Jim White on Monday to give an official response to the incidents, and confirmed the club are ‘working hard’ to identify those involved and will dish out life bans to those found guilty.

And he also urged people not to tar the club and the majority of their well-behaved fans with the same brush as the yobs who are constantly dragging the Millwall name through the mud.

“Let’s make this clear, anyone who had done this is not welcome at the club – we don’t want them here,” said Kavanagh in an exclusive interview.

“Let’s actually separate ‘the club’ and ‘these people’. The club don’t want this. We are disgusted by this, we’re upset about this and we’re not happy.

“The people and good honest fans weren’t doing this, this is a small pocket of people. Let’s remember the other fans. They deserve credit.

“This is a very, very small minority, the majority of fans were absolutely fantastic on Saturday and created an atmosphere and helped create a result the FA should be proud of for the competition, and yet we’re giving these idiots the oxygen after what they did, and that’s just crazy.

“If we can get these people, we’ll ban them, we’ll deal with them. We’ll do whatever we can do.

“I’ve had staff in yesterday going through CCTV and we’re already working hard on that. If we can identify them, we’ve made it clear those people will be banned for life. We’ve already today banned two people for discriminatory behaviour from a few weeks ago. They’re gone, banned for life and have been handed to the police.

“The fans are coming out now saying they don’t want this in their ground. The vast majority of the fans are fantastic people, they’re proud of their club and they create an unbelievable atmosphere. They don’t want to cross that line, but there are a few uneducated people who don’t understand.

“And let’s be straight, this isn’t just a Millwall issue, Chelsea have had a lot of issues recently, and there was a banana thrown [by a Tottenham fan] recently.

Arsenal forward Aubameyang looks into the crowd in disbelief after seeing the banana land close to him back in December

“This is a society issue, and I’m not taking us out of that, but we all need to work together to rid these people that feel racism is OK, when it’s not. It’s not acceptable behaviour.

“It’s not my job to try and educate society, but it is my job to make sure those people know they are not welcome at this club.

“The club do not want these fans and we are really upset about it. We should have had a great weekend after such a fantastic result, and the majority of the fans were brilliant that day.”

Kavanagh also argued against calls to have Millwall thrown out of the fifth round draw, saying doing so would be unfair to the majority of fans who are a credit to their club and who created an amazing atmosphere at The Den against Everton.

There have been calls to throw Millwall out of the FA Cup

He added: “Why would you punish the club? Why would you punish everyone? Why would you punish the genuine fans who behave themselves? It’s a very antiquated way of looking at things in my view.

“This hasn’t just happened on Saturday at Millwall, this happens up and country. This does happen. If we want to put our heads in the sand and pretend this doesn’t happen… and what are we going to do, shut every ground or chuck everyone out of the cup when a small group of people… are we going to let 30 people win in that way?

“That’s not going to change anything. Let’s be sensible.”

Listen to talkSPORT’s interview with Millwall chief executive Steve Kavanagh IN FULL above