West Ham vs Millwall goes into lockdown
Published 22:00 03/02/12 By Mike Walters
Fortress Upton Park will go into lockdown as West Ham bid to prevent a repeat of the Carling Cup riot against Millwall.
Hundreds of police will be deployed for the Lions’ first excursion to the Boleyn Ground since the appalling scenes of August 25, 2009.
Amid the lunacy of pitch invasions, gates stormed by mobs without tickets and a stabbed ex-fireman left fighting for his life with a punctured lung, few remember West Ham’s 3-1 win after extra-time because it was secondary to the chaos.
Both clubs were fined by the FA, although Millwall’s penalty was revoked on appeal, and Lions manager Kenny Jackett privately confided the mayhem was the worst he had experienced after 32 years in football.
Although the reverse fixture, a goalless draw at the Den, passed off without major incident in September, police are taking no chances with their security blanket this time.
* Banning alcohol at the ground and the closure of pubs around Upton Park itself
* Reducing Millwall’s allocation to 1,400 tickets in the upper tier of the Sir Trevor Brooking Stand, with no Hammers fans within a 30-yard exclusion zone
* The police warning players to curb their goal celebrations
* And the appointment of experienced Premier League referee Mike Jones to boss the game.
Police hope the combination of an early kick-off, cold weather, live coverage on Sky and a beam-back to Lions fans at the Den will draw the sting from the fixture.
Both sides are aiming to bounce back after dispiriting midweek defeats. Championship leaders West Ham are in shock after a 5-1 drubbing at Ipswich, while Millwall are only one place above the drop zone after losing 2-0 at Watford.
Hammers manager Sam Allardyce, who is likely to hand debuts to deadline-day signings Nicky Maynard and Ricardo Vaz Te, said: “I wasn’t aware of any incidents at the last game – it was superbly planned and policed by everybody, and everything went according to plan.
"I just hope it goes the same way [today]. People have to be responsible for their actions including me as a manager, the players on the pitch and the supporters who come to watch.
“It will be live on TV and we’ll be portraying our football to people around the globe. We want to put on a good spectacle.”
Of the thrashing by Ipswich, former Lions defender Allardyce added: “Until then, our defensive record had been the basis of our success this season – we need to get over it and show everybody why we’re top of the table in a big derby game.”
Jackett, who could unveil £500,000 striker Andy Keogh and new German defender Lennard Sowah, said: “At 25, Andy has his best years ahead of him and he will be a good partner up front for Darius Henderson.”