Liverpool, QPR, Tottenham, Norwich out, Chelsea draw, Arsenal/Blackburn and remembering G Graham at Millwall

By Tony Attwood

Context is important.  Something that appears trivial at one level might appear monumental at another.  Everything always  depends on context.

So let us consider the context of the FA Cup this Sunday night.

  • Oldham 3 Liverpool 2
  • Leeds Untidy 2 Tottenham Hotspur 1
  • Brentford 2 Chelsea 2
  • Queens Park Harry 2 MK Dons 4
  • Norwich City 0 Luton Town 1
  • Even St Mirren 3 Celtic 2

And let us consider the very half-hearted comments on Arsenal’s much changed team’s win at Brighton (although to be fair ITV called it the match of the round for excitement).

But naturally negative comments about how Arsenal had to bring on the first team regulars to secure the win abound – but the fact is we won, where Liverpool, Tottenham, Chelsea, QPR and Norwich did not win.

Yes our last goal was deflected – and that was the cause of a lot more negative media commentary – but I seem to recall a Liverpool goal getting a deflection as they attempted to avoid defeat, and that goal was praised.

Of course we have won nothing yet, but we are in the 5th round, and have an interesting and potentially exciting game against Blackburn Rovers.

The league table (giving games played, goal difference and points) shows Blackburn in 15th in their league with a goal difference of +1.  A winnable game.

Cardiff 28 20 60
Leicester 28 26 50
Hull 28 8 50
Watford 28 19 49
Crystal Palace 28 15 48
Middlesbrough 28 8 47
Brighton 28 10 42
Burnley 29 2 42
Millwall 28 2 41
Nottm Forest 29 -1 41
Leeds United 28 -5 41
Charlton 29 -1 39
Derby 28 1 38
Blackpool 29 4 37
Blackburn 28 1 37
Bolton 28 -1 34

We will of course comment more on Arsenal v Blackburn in the future, but for now I’d like to move on to another game: Luton v Millwall.  This is interesting in the FA Cup since those of us with a historical memory will recall 13 March 1985.  This was a memorable match because Millwall Bushwackers were well known to be interested in fighting at matches, while Luton Town were followed by the  MIGs.  It proved to be fiery.

Luton Town administrators were requested by Millwall to make the Wednesday night match an all-ticket game, but Luton Town, seemingly anxious to maximise the revenue, refused.

A large away following, which Millwall always had, and which was often more than the number attending home games, attended the area.  Anyone who went to Luton Town’s ground at the time will know it was a really awful dump, with utterly insanitary toilet facilities, and the ground hemmed in by terraced housing and small streets.

When Millwall fans ran onto the pitch towards the Luton fans there will nothing the totally outwitted forces of law and order could do.

The Millwall manager at the time, George Graham, pleaded with his fans to go back to their terracing, and having appeared on the touchline personally, they followed his request.  Fighting continued throughout.

Following the game, two opinions were expressed.  One came from the Ipswich Town manager Bobby Robson was that “[the police] should have turned the flamethrowers on [the fans]”.  Such views, which owe more to the Third Reich than a democracy, revealed something of the man.  Chelsea chairman Ken Bates stated that he intended to erect electric fences at Stamford Bridge.  This comment told us nothing we didn’t know.   If he ever tried to do this, the police and local authorities certainly stopped such manic responses and Stamford Bridge remained free of a death wall.

The Luton Town chairman, Conservative MP David Evans, stated that he would never allow his club to play Millwall again, ignoring the fact that it was Luton who had utterly failed to the reasonable request from George Graham’s team that the game should be all ticket, and that such a refusal was contrary to the rules of the League and the FA.  (Neither organisation took the local fellow seriously, and the matter was let slip).   Evans did however impose a ban on away support from the start of the next season, and the country’s first full-scale membership only club was initiated.

M Thatcher, a politician of often fanatical and extreme right wing views (who decision to liberate the banking sector of the British economy resulted in the current recession), set up a “Football Hooliganism War Cabinet”, which stated that similar membership schemes would have to be adopted by all clubs nationwide.  Again the fact that Luton had singularly failed to take the basic precaution of making this an all-ticket match, was ignored.

One presumes that Nick Owen, the current Luton chair, will not fulfil the wishes of David Evans, and refuse to play the game.

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48 Replies to “Liverpool, QPR, Tottenham, Norwich out, Chelsea draw, Arsenal/Blackburn and remembering G Graham at Millwall”

  1. A sober historical reflection might consider how far the right-wing establishment attitude to football supporters expressed by Thatcher on this occasion sowed the seeds of the Hillsborough tragedy and the subsequent injustices which have only recently been acknowledged.

  2. A very interesting take and you certainly know your hooligans! Luton millwall is a scary fixture hope all precautions are taken this time. Remember that game well it was not just millwall but much of the London branch of the national front, lutons ground is in a predominantly Asian are . And yes thatcher used that game and others for an anti football agenda would love to know that govts full role over hillsborough

  3. [I’m not on some kind of posting frenzy, just badly organised. sorry all]

    Thanks for the history Tony – I hope that ‘they who need to’ do learn from it.

    I never knew that about Bobby Robson. I had always remembered him fondly for Ipswich’s attractiv football late ’70’s [despite being at a couple of 1-4 defeats to them]. I’ll think of him differently now.

  4. You’re right there Kampala, when we lost to Bradford in the inferior CC it felt as if we had been relegated the way it was being talked about.

  5. So far on this post and site, Margaret Thatcher has impliedly been responsible for the present economic malaise, the Hillsborough disaster and the removal of milk in schools.
    What else can these closet Socialists dig up?

  6. Live Luton v Millwall 13 March 1985:
    Peter Jones: there’s a hooligan coming towards me…oh Martin Chivers has seen him off! (repeat post from some months ago)
    So it wasn’t just the Millwall charging from one end to the other throwing the seats etc must have been everywhere in the ground…seem to recall Millwall turning up at mid -afternoon and the trouble starting then. it was strange to see games on TV with no away fans at Luton.
    You’re right Matt;(the list is endless)… grrr
    Poor Luton, I’m sure it was the last team they wanted to play after a great game at Norwich!

  7. @Sammy the snake

    Pre Hillsborough (and the subsequent Taylor report) most games were played whereby you did not need a ticket to get in, you could just turn up and pay at the turnstiles. All ticket matches were seen as safer as you could limit the amount of tickets sold. Meaning no over crowding.

    All ticket matches also helped segregation of fans, as what used to happen was some fans would turn up and go in to the opposing supporters entrance so that they could start trouble. This would not have prevented the Millwall fans invading the pitch and running to the Luton fans, but as stated above all ticket matches were seen as the safer option

    I can recall some years ago, being in a night club on New Years Eve and talking to friends, we decided that we would drive to watch Arsenal away to Man C the next day (think we won 2-0). At that time we knew that we could just turn up at the ground, pay our money and get in, something that we would not be able to do today.

  8. Thatcher used the police as her private army to wreck the miner’s strike. There you go Nicky.

  9. Rupert,

    The miners strike was flawed from the start as they were led by a socialist, who called the un-ballotted strike in the spring having seen the govt stockpile coal.

  10. Very true Rupert, one of the worst offending police units during the miners strike was South Yorks….the police unit that at the time and for many years after were let off the hook over Hillsborough…South Yorks

    Then there was the Falklands, and the complete ignoring of a US and I think Peruvian peace plan which may have stopped the whole thing…not saying she was completely wrong in this conflict, but jaw jaw as opposed to war war and all that. Then, there was using the SAS to storm a prison riot that could have easily been controlled by more regular units of police…but made good headlines I guess!

  11. Mandy

    Remind me which policeman threw the lump of rock off the bridge in Wales that killed a taxi driver going to work?

  12. Still illegal to drink alcohol on public transport whilst travelling to a football match (not Cricket or Rugby). Still illegal to drink alcohol in site of the playing surface at a football match (not Cricket or Rugby).

    Anyway two more of Mrs Ts legacies above.

    @ Andrew Ryan
    A good point made, but the strike did not make all miners bad as am sure not all Police were either. There was however a very uneasy feeling in that part of the world and having traveled their a few times to Hillsborough one did get the feeling that some Policemen relished the excuse for trouble. I do also think that a lot of trouble at grounds (but not all) was caused / instigated by the Police. In general they were awful, on reflection i think the fact that football clubs were picking up the tab for the overtime it was in their interest for there to be trouble.

  13. Still illegal to drink alcohol on public transport whilst travelling to a football match (not Cricket or Rugby). Still illegal to drink alcohol in site of the playing surface at a football match (not Cricket or Rugby).

    Anyway two more of Mrs Ts legacies above.

    @ Andrew Ryan
    A good point made, but the strike did not make all miners bad as am sure not all Police were either. There was however a very uneasy feeling in that part of the world and having traveled their a few times to Hillsborough one did get the feeling that some Policemen relished the excuse for trouble. I do also think that a lot of trouble at grounds (but not all) was caused / instigated by the Police. In general they were awful, on reflection i think the fact that football clubs were picking up the tab for the overtime it was in their interest for there to be trouble.

  14. Ian,

    Unless I’m mistaken neither Cricket nor Rugby matches have been subjected to the hooliganism prevalent at football during the 70s – early 90s.

    Agree that the police on some occasions did start trouble, as I have witnessed it at games, but the majority of trouble in that period was spectator orientated, despite your
    astute overtime comment.

    Are you sure that those two policies were Mrs Thatcher’s and not Major’s?

    I was a student during the miners strike and had the misfortune to be in contact with miners who were staying with Politically Correct students, presumably to further their “class consciousness”. I didn’t know who was more obnoxious at the time: the workshy Culturally Marxist students or the miners with their bizarre 19th century views.

    However, I know who is most obnoxious now and, as the miners are few and far between, it is Cultural Marxists.

  15. Hillsborough was the excuse Thatcher was looking for, the real problem for her was Derek Hatton (yes I know his faulty record) who dared take her on, gloated about it and she reduced Liverpool to a wreck in revenge.Go ask the Scousers…then go and have a chat with the Welsh, a mate of mines Father was an inspector of those mines and he said that was nothing wrong with them, except Thatcher wanted to ship in all industrial imports dirt cheap from elsewhere.Then ask the Scots what they think of Thatcher, every political experiment was dumped on them first.What about Pinochet? Supporting S.Africa? Destroy trade unions.She even paved the way for Blair/Brown and the on going legacy of them…New Labour they may be in name, but they were Thatcherites.
    The only good thing about Thatcher was the counter culture it produced, especially music. Thats if you didn’t agree with her.
    Thatcher reminds me of Man U and Spurs mixed up together with Stoke and Leeds Utd c 1972.

  16. @Rupert Cook,
    I happen to know that Margaret Thatcher wasn’t against the miners as such. She just couldn’t stand Scargill’s hairstyle.

  17. @Mandy Dodd,
    Margaret Thatcher had what many of our politicians don’t have,namely, BOTTLE.
    We could do with her sort today, facing up to (1) the bully boys in Brussels,(2) the idiot who wants an independent Scotland and (3)the pinkos who have opened the borders of our small land in an seemingly uncontrollable way.

  18. @nicky
    Good to see someone on this site with abit of commonsense.

    @Kenneth “a Dance to the Music of Time: A Powell “, you’ll find that Major closed far more mines than Mrs Thatcher.

  19. What are you talking about Andrew? Ive been a Labour MP since 1945, with good connections to eastern Europe.I can assure you that I would never shut a mine. Are you sure that Scorpio Mortlock hasn’t been telling you somekind of Thatcherite slander?
    I also finished my army career as a full Colonel!

  20. Andrew Ryan, fair point, but those guys who killed the cab driver were tried in court, shame they only got manslaughter and not murder. I am not aware of police murdering anyone during those strikes, but from the footage I have seen, maybe more through luck than design. The fact is, those killers were held to account, as far as I know the police were not. The police should be impartial and be there to protect law and order by means of law and order, SOME of those police were clearly doing no such thing. Yes I know there were militants thugs and lunatics on those strikes who had never seen a dock, mine or printing works but police should have been above what they sometimes did. Back to hillsbourough, neither the police nor thatcher set out for those tragic events, but some sure as hell helped to suppress the truth, they even got the pathologist in on their act, I would love to know how far up that went, I can guess. They got the Sun as well, but that was the easy bit. The fact is, the establishment were not accountable during those dark days, SOME of the police, some of the gvt, even the BBC were failing to protect kids from a guy who had OBE after his name. BTW I am not anti the police, just citing incidents from those days, I happen to think they were pooly led from the top. Nicky, she may have had bottle and yes by all means stand up to Europe on some things, borders may be one of them, human rights acts may for some be another but the fact remains we are in a mutually beneficial trading block and those countries are our closest allies. Thatcher, left unchecked would have gone too far and damaged us, as even the right of the tory party realised well before the end. Sorry, going way off topic

  21. @Mandy Dodd,
    While I agree with much of what you feel, I can’t help saying that the Argies would still be in Port Stanley had it not been for Margaret Thatcher. Her resolution, despite much anti feeling from folk who should have been supporting her, meant in the end that free people regained their freedom.
    If only she was in good health and on the Arsenal Board!

  22. If the Scots want to be independent, let them have a vote. What’s the problem?

    Pinkos opening up borders! I feel like I’ve gone back thirty years. Must get out to a Red Wedge gig.

  23. They may well still be there nicky, and once the Argentinians landed, the government had no choice, but I am not convinced all options were fully explored to avoid conflict….but that does not always work as history tells us. Still, as you say, the free were kept free, and that situation did help get rid of a rather unpleasant dictator in Argentina. Just hope future conflict can be avoided…..not that I am sure we could assemble such a task force any more

  24. @Rupert
    According to psephologists Red Wedge were the Tories greatest weapon; inducing mass boredom with their pro Kinnock Braggian dirges.

    How many 1980s miners would want their children or grand children to go down mines today?

    Very good, I recall the TV adaption was excellent. He really was slimy.

  25. @Andrew Ryan, Mr.Bragg is a fine singer songwriter and has more integrity than probably any politician, whatever hue they maybe.

    And the Redskins were hardly boring.

    We only have to see what the glorious Tories are doing now to realize they haven’t changed.

    I don’t think miners enjoyed going down the mines back then. A horrible job but families had to be fed.

  26. Rupert,

    The way I see the current shower is that they have to deal with the unprecedented amount of excrement that the last utterly appalling shower left, and in trying to clear up the mess there is bound to be some of it hitting walls while trying to sort it out.

    Can’t agree about Billy on the song front. Never heard of the Redskins.

  27. The Redskins didn’t participate on the Red Wedge tour, (they were too Red),-but all the bands who did support RW wrote many good songs at some point during their careers.And Bragg’s first three albums are a touch of class.New Labour werent Labour, they were Tories.
    love Red Ken. x

  28. Kenneth,

    Maybe if you are a trot or tankie to begin with then Blair and Brown would seem to be conservative. From where I am they were very much to the ruinous left that always knackers the country when given power. Unfortunately the country voted for an extended 3 parter between 1997 and 2010, which climaxed in Labour’s speciality of financial meltdown.

  29. And of course the world recession caused by the US banks had nothing to do with the country’s present financial problems.

    When it was all going well I never heard the Tories heckling Labour about the mismanagement of the financial square mile. No they were quite happy to wallow in the capitalist trough when it was overflowing with filthy lucre. Bloody hypocrites.

  30. @Kenneth, Billy released wrote some cracking songs, most of his stuff is worth a listen.

    Yeh the Redskins were just too radical. Too much sloganizing in their songs but great fiery tunes.

    And New Labour are nothing but turquoise Tories.

  31. @Mandy

    Talking of task forces …

    We seem to be assembling one to re-conquer Africa.

    Also, Argentina is not the only country in South America to be concerned at a powerful British naval force stationed off the coast of their continent.

    When it comes to gunboat diplomacy, Britain has form.

  32. Rupert,
    For someone so adept at winding up the pro-Wengerites on this site, I found your political response abit flat and predicatable, but keep on winding them up – maybe someday they’ll realise that Arsenal is Arsenal, not Arsene is Arsenal.

    Be interested if you know where the phrase Gunboat diplomacy originated from.

  33. @Rupert

    British troops are now in Mali. Let’s see what happens next.


    I’ll research the expression gunboat diplomacy.

  34. @Andrew

    I recommend Wikipedia. It’s too long to reproduce but it gives a full historical review of gunboat diplomacy.

  35. Pat,

    I always thought it came about from the Don Pacifico incident in 1850 under the excellent stewardship of Lord Palmerston.

    I don’t trust wikipedia at all and the above is from memory. Wiki has so many errors in it it’s not viable especially for early Arsenal history.

  36. Andrew,

    I’ve just read wikipedia on the Don Pacifico incident which I didn’t know about before and which is mentioned in the wikipedia definition of gunboat diplomacy.

    While it looks as if Don Pacifico was indeed badly treated, I can’t help thinking Palmerston’s motive for intervention was somewhat wider than defence of an individual. Just as I don’t think Britain’s underlying interest in the Falklands is the protection of the rights of the Falkland islanders. The Falklands are in a useful strategic position. And then there’s possible oil.

    Having re-read the wikipedia entry on gunboat diplomacy I find it a useful summary. But you may well not agree.

  37. Andrew Ryan, it was…is a well paid job, who are we to decide who will do what to provide for a family? What is wrong with working a mine? not everyone wants to be or can be a lawyer, accountant, nurse, teacher or footballer. Just hope people in mining areas have other alternatives……yes Pat, certainly seems to be kicking off in the new front that is North Africa, I have only a superficial knowledge of the geopolitical situation there, and despite being no great admirer of the coalition, I assume they must have their reasons for getting involved there. Rupert, can only agree with you on both new labour and billy Bragg. His integrity survives an era where most of the self proclaimed socialists became anything but, I have more respect for dyed in the wool Tories that I would for some sell outs from that era. We all get older, comfortable and middle class….but some of that lot and their establishment desires, their charity work with the aim of self promoting……a truly depressing bunch

  38. John,
    Then there is no hope for you on both counts. However you could redeem youself by taking a look at the excellent Woolwich Arsenal history books I have recently read. Both the general club history and more academic crowd study are really interesting. Also Tony wrote a good novel about 1910.

    I agree all current politicians are b******s(except those rare ones like Boris who don’t slavishly follow the party line).
    There is such a disconnect between the elite politican class as compared with the “wo/man on the street” whether we are left, right or indifferent. Most people are utterly fed up with the lack of straight talking. I used to loathe Livingston but hearing him on LBC without party constraints means he does on rare occasions talk sense particulalry about bankers.

    All countries carry out policies that are useful for their own country, Lord Palmerston, a fascinating character, could do this with inpunity as this was during the early period of the height of the British Empire.

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