Football

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Millwall? FA Cup Edition

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Millwall? FA Cup Edition

Last night's match between Millwall and Everton at The Den was a humdinger, make no bones about it.

Five goals, a highly debatable equaliser and a winner at the death provided all the ingredients to the FA Cup dish that everyone wants to get a taste off - a fourth-round upset.

Watching the BBC coverage in the office last night, one couldn't help but think that the British broadcaster's camera technicians were having a fair bit of craic, too.

It was probably no great surprise to anyone with even the most base awareness of footballing-socio history in that part of South East London, that with each pan to the fervent home crowd came, almost without fail, the obligatory derogative gesture.  In fairness, there was a certain hilarity attached.

It goes without saying, Millwall are a throwback to a time before political correctness had taken it's suffocating hold. In many ways it's refreshing. Everyone loves a bit of nostalgia, don't they?

But reports this morning have surfaced that leave the inevitable cold-light-of-day uneasiness which engulfs more or less everytime the Lions make the news. Videos suggest that sections of the home support were engaged in racial chanting, to go along with clips, widely circulated on social media, of pre-game violence between the two sets of supporters. It's not an altogether new phenomenon inside, or in the streets that surround, the Bermondsey ground.

Universally it's accepted, it's not a very nice place to visit. Everton have not been the only Premier League team to fall there in recent years. Bournemouth, Watford and Leicester succumbed in the Lions run to the quarter-finals in 2017 - the latter humbled in the round of 16 whilst reigning Premier League champions. Without doubt, intimidation, inside and outside the confines of the white line, plays a central part in overcoming a softer breed of opposition.

And whilst, few of us will begrudge the smaller sides their FA Cup giant-killings, the line does need to be drawn somewhere.

The racial chanting. The slashed faces.  Even the cheeky sideways shaking fist gesture. Yes, they provide a dramatic subplot none-too-often seen in the whitewashed world of the Premier League, but, once all the nervous giggling and the "ahh, would you look at these boys" are over, a realisation sets in. It's 2019, and there are some things that just don't fly.

It's not to difficult to decipher where anti-discrimination charity, Kick It Out, fall down on the matter. In a statement released this morning comes a bemoaning at the continued failure of footballing authorities to deal with these incidents assertively.

The racist chanting heard from some Millwall supporters during yesterday's match is disgusting and typical of mass discriminatory chants that continue to go unpunished. Kick It Out wants to see the relevant authorities take swift, firm and decisive action against the perpetrators

Hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of fines issued to the club have done little to deter the troublemakers - why would they? Football banning orders can only go so far. The idea that a force trying to keep one eye on a stadium filled with 15,000 people, whilst the other scours the movements of a rake of toerags running around bars and train stations, is a bit far fetched surely.

Kick It Out are calling for more visible punishment.

Should Millwall be thrown out of the FA Cup? Well, yes. Of course they should. Illegality is becoming a central feature of every big fixture they have at home, almost as if the ante is upped with the prospect of their antics being streamed live.

They say the definition of lunacy is repeating the same action over and over and over again, in search of a different result. Anybody expecting anything different from the FA would be advised not to hold their breath.

SEE ALSO: 'A Lot More Scouts Are Coming Over Looking At Irish Players'

Aaron Strain

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