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Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 October, 2004, 15:26 GMT 16:26 UK
Millwall denies 'disaster taunts'
Trouble at Millwall v Liverpool
Riot police were called in when the fans clashed
Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis has denied claims that chants about the Hillsborough tragedy sparked a fight with Liverpool supporters.

Liverpool fans claimed the taunts prompted fighting during the Carling Cup tie at the New Den on Tuesday.

But Mr Paphitis said: "There was no chanting of this nature."

He added CCTV footage showed the catalyst was a Liverpool fan attacking a Millwall fan in the west stand which led to a fracas breaking out.

It is claimed that the Millwall fans shouted "You should have all died at Hillsborough" to the away fans.

However, Mr Paphitis said: "The facts of the matter are that Liverpool fans clashed with riot police in the lower tier of the north stand and appeared to be attempting to get at Millwall supporters."

"We have no desire to deflect blame on to Liverpool, who are a great club with a majority of magnificent supporters.

FA investigating

"However, we are not prepared to be the scapegoats once again after all the work we have undertaken to try to put our own house in order."

A total of 96 supporters died after they were crushed at Sheffield's Hillsborough stadium during the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest in April 1989.

It is claimed the Millwall fans also chanted "There's only one Boris Johnson", at Tuesday's match, in reference to the Conservative MP and editor of the Spectator magazine.

No-one minds a bit of banter, but to insult the dead is crossing the line of what's acceptable
Les Lawson
Official Liverpool Supporters' Group
He apologised last week for publishing derogatory comments about Liverpudlians, claiming they were "wallowing" in their "victim status".

The FA says it is to investigate the trouble at the match.

Phil Hammond, chairman of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said it would have been difficult to turn the other cheek.

He added: "It is sickening to use something which took 96 lives as a way of winding people up.

"The Liverpool fans shouldn't have reacted in the way they did, but it is easy to say that when you are not there.

Disabled fan injured

"People in that crowd last night may well have been at Hillsborough or lost loved ones there, so it is understandable if they find it difficult to turn the other cheek."

Seats were thrown from the upper tier of the stand containing Liverpool supporters, while fans in the lower tier of the away end rushed towards their Millwall counterparts and riot police were required to quell the disturbance.

A disabled fan was injured at the perimeter of the pitch as supporters in the Liverpool end poured forward.

Two fans from each side were ejected from the ground.

'Crossed the line'

Les Lawson, of the Official Liverpool Supporters' Group, claimed the Millwall fans had "crossed the line of acceptable banter".

He added: "No-one minds a bit of banter, but to insult the dead is crossing the line of what's acceptable."

But Joe Broadfoot of the unofficial Millwall fans' group The Lions Trust denied there had been any chants.

He said: "I did not hear a single chant about Hillsborough or Boris Johnson.

"I've spoken to friends who were sat at various places around the ground and they didn't hear anything like that either."

Liverpool went on to beat Millwall 3-0.




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SEE ALSO:
FA set to probe New Den trouble
27 Oct 04 |  Millwall
Boris sorry for Scouse stereotype
19 Oct 04 |  Politics
Service marks Hillsborough deaths
15 Apr 04 |  Merseyside
Howard slams MP's Bigley article
15 Oct 04 |  Merseyside


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