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Friday, 3 May, 2002, 10:23 GMT 11:23 UK
Millwall's hooligan ban threat
Mounted police guard the pitch after the final whistle of the Division One play-off semi-final
Millwall fans and the police battled after the game
Millwall president Reg Burr has promised to ban for life the hooligans who battled with police after Thursday's First Division play-off semi-final defeat by Birmingham.

Up to 50 police officers were injured after trouble erupted following Blues striker Stern John's last-minute winner at the New Den.


Anybody that misbehaves at Millwall is banned for life
Millwall president Reg Burr
John secured a 1-0 win which sent City to the final in Cardiff on the back of a 2-1 aggregate triumph.

But that was overshadowed by violence outside the ground which left six officers needing hospital treatment.

Police said disgruntled Millwall fans threw missiles, including bricks, paving stones, flares and fireworks.

But Burr, who is also a Lions director, has promised to crack down on the rioters.

He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I didn't see anything of what went on. I cannot comment on what happened outside the ground.

"Millwall continue to work continuously to improve the quality of the support they have and anybody that misbehaves at Millwall is banned for life.

"I can assure you we will do anything we can to identify any troublemakers and the appropriate action will be taken - we will ban them for life."

Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis added: "Millwall Football Club deeply regrets the appalling incidents that took place following the play-off match with Birmingham City.

"Once again, the thuggish element which sees football as a cover for their violent tendencies has sullied the name of football and Millwall."

Millwall sympathy

Meanwhile Birmingham chairman David Gold gave his backing to Millwall's efforts to clean up their reputation.

Gold warned that one incident should not tarnish the image of the game.


We've come a long way in the last 20 years when it was almost commonplace at every game
Blues chairman David Gold
He also told BBC Radio Five Live: "I know that Theo will be devastated. I know he is working very hard.

"Millwall sadly have this reputation. We must be very careful, you had 14,000 Millwall fans who were absolutely devastated who went home peacefully.

"We've come a long way in the last 20 years when it was almost commonplace at every game.

"I'm saddened by it but be careful we don't turn it into a major, major issue that football is tied to violence."

And Football League spokesman Ian Christon was another dismayed by the eruption of violence in Bermondsey and called for criminal proceedings to be taken against the perpetrators.

He said: "These were disgraceful scenes and nobody wants to see that connected with football.

"We hope the police press charges against the people involved and the courts take action to ban these people from football grounds."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Millwall president Reg Burr
"We will ban troublemakers for life"
Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis
"I don't want these people anywhere near football full-stop "
 VOTE RESULTS
Who will reach the Premiership?

Birmingham
 65.09% 

Norwich
 34.90% 

5697 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Division One

Division Two

Division Three

SPORTS TALK
See also:

03 May 02 | Millwall
11 Jan 02 | Millwall
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