Strict Leeds v Millwall ticket restrictions have made fixture non-event for Lions fans (From News Shopper)
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Strict Leeds v Millwall ticket restrictions have made fixture non-event for Lions fans
2:52pm Tuesday 26th February 2013 in Sport
LIONS columnist MATT LITTLE believes continued strict ticket restrictions being imposed by the police on Leeds v Millwall fixtures at Elland Road are killing the atmosphere at what should be a great spectator event for both sets of fans.
KENNY Jackett once again proved why the vast majority of Millwall fans stick by him even in our darkest moments.
And they don't come much darker than getting hammered 5-1 at home by the division’s bottom club fast on the heels of losing the previous four games.
I called that hammering at the hands of Peterborough United seven days ago cowardly and pathetic, but with the belief the manager would have privately thought the same.
Indeed, the changes were rung and the team came out fighting, returning home from the frozen wastelands of Middlesbrough not with just a respectable point but all three.
The man himself even took the time to comment on this in his post-match interview, cutely observing most teams usually stop a run of form like we’ve suffered with a well drilled 0-0 draw, especially after a tonking, not with a win away to a promotion chasing side.
I like to think that was Jackett's way of saying 'Hey, I'm still the man', but in his characteristically modest way, as it must have been a tough few weeks for him.
Yes, Middlesbrough are out-of-sorts at the moment too, but they still have a great record at home and are a good side if you let them play.
Yet up until they pulled a goal back it must have been extremely boring viewing for the very few neutrals watching on Sky as we looked very comfortable.
The most exciting part of the match was the very last minute when the home team thought they’d saved the game with an injury time equaliser.
But with an amazingly un-Millwall like bit of luck, the linesman actually spotted the goal scorer was offside when the ball was played.
This upset the Middlesbrough players who felt a Millwall player touched the ball in, but if you can't be deemed to be interfering with play a yard or so from the goal-line then when can you?
This logic didn't enter the mind of Nick Bailey who decided to push Alan Dunne in the face, which sparked a bit of handbags that David Forde was only too happy to get involved in.
I smiled and thought to myself that's why we won't go down and that's why you can always expect a reaction from us under Jackett because he holds a lot of stock in having Millwall type players in the team.
And while both Forde and Dunne have had their ups and downs, they are very much Millwall through and through and they'll never hide away.
James Henry, Jimmy Abdou and Danny Shittu were also their usual committed selves, as was John Marquis.
The senior players who were dropped for this match will hopefully have used their time on the bench to think about that.
We will need that kind of never-say-die attitude for our next game up at Elland Road when we face an erratic Leeds United team, especially as the players will pretty much be on their own up there thanks to the West Yorkshire Police.
Once again Millwall fans are being singled out for special treatment by the Yorkshire force, with the game moved to a 12.30pm kick-off and away fans having to pick up their tickets via a motorway service station.
I know non-Millwall fans will baulk at the idea of me suggesting we are being unfairly treated, but all I will say is how come the West Yorkshire Police can handle 3,000 Manchester United, Spurs and Chelsea fans for midweek fixtures but not little old us at weekends?
When we played up there without all these restrictions we took a modest 1,500 fans.
Hardly the barbarians at the gates, is it?
Ok, there was a bit of trouble, but even that felt like it was orchestrated by deliberate poor policing.
It could have easily been prevented by perhaps not letting all the fans out together after ex-Leeds player Jody Morris scored a controversial late equaliser from the penalty spot and then ran the entire length of the pitch to wind the home fans up.
However, even then the trouble was minor compared to the issues which arise when Leeds play bitter rivals Manchester United.
Whatever the reasoning is, it has in effect made this fixture a virtual non-event for all but the most dedicated /sado masochist of Millwall fans.
Which is a shame because Millwall v Leeds United games at The Den always have a special big match feel to them, all the more so for having a vociferous away support in the ground, although I believe we should allow even more Leeds fans to come.
I'll be keeping up-to-date via the internet and that weird BBC take on Sky's Soccer Saturday format, but with a heavy heart that we’ve been reduced to this.
Talking of heavy hearts, I couldn't believe the absolute circus West Ham United made of their tribute for the 20th anniversary of Bobby Moore's passing.
I believe that he is the one player who transcends our bitter rivalry, well the only one that comes close at least, and I have no problem with the 'appy 'ammers wanting to show some kind of tribute to their former player.
But I hope Tottenham's last minute winner made them sober enough to feel just a little bit uncomfortable about their club’s retrospective respect for England’s World Cup winning captain.
As an aside, I genuinely spent last night throwing up in the toilet - I'm pretty sure it was down to some dodgy pepperoni on my pizza, but it's hard to be completely sure.
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