The name Millwall is known throughout Britain as a social plague. Their football hooliganism is referenced throughout Europe as the English Disease (Millwall History Files (MHF)). The very first recorded riot that Millwall took place in was during March 1966. Millwall fans stormed the field several times and were warned that if done again, the game would be abandoned. This only stoked their fire. They continued to storm the field and eventually sat down in the middle of the pitch to see if the officials would really cancel the game (MHF). Eventually, the Millwall manager, Billy Gray, took the microphone to urge the “hotheads” to act as the better team that day and leave the field (MHF). This was the first taste of football hooliganism for Millwall fans. The following game, there were smoke bombs thrown at the Cold Blow Lane end of the ground at the Den (MHF). This was only the beginning of the riot outbreaks started by Millwall fans and it certainly was not the end of them either.
The first major riot that stands out in history is one from 1978 when Millwall played Ipswich Town in an FA Cup match at The Den (Football Hooligans Ultra (FHU)). This uprising led to a full scale riot before the match even started. Fighting had broken out around the stadium. There were also several coach buses carrying Ipswich fans to the match which came under heavy fire as Millwall fans threw rocks and bricks into the side of the buses (FHU). This atmosphere was eventually carried onto the terraces and spilled out into the pitch. Everyone had their weapon of choice, ranging from bats and iron bars to knives and bottles (FHU). Anything that these men could get their hands on was used as a weapon that day. The consequence, having the pitch closed for two weeks and barred from hosting FA Cup matches for two years (FHU).
The second large riot came in 1985 when Millwall played away to Luton Town in the FA Cup. The match only last 14 minutes before it was suspended by the officials (FHU). The game was halted for 25 minutes as officials tried to control the overspill from the terraces onto the pitch (FHU). The game was finally finished and all hell broke loose between the fans. Millwall’s fans went wild. At one point, they ripped up over 700 seats and used them as missiles (FHU). By the end of the riot, 81 people were taken to the hospital with injuries, 31 of which were policemen. Millwall was fined £7,500 following this day for their role in the bloodbath (FHU). Below is a link of coverage that was shown on British television from that day.
The most recent riot was in 2002 where Millwall played Birmingham City in a playoff semifinal at The New Den. Millwall lost the match and didn’t exactly like losing (FHU). The streets were consumed with the riot as the Bushwacker’s fought a running battle with the police. Supporters threw bricks, rocks, and fireworks that day (FHU). 45 police officers were injured in the one hour that it took to get the rioters under control (FHU). Around 900+ fans took place that day as buildings around the ground were damaged. Two cars were torched even (FHU). But out of all those people, the police only made seven arrests (FHU). Even experienced officers on duty that night said they had never seen anything like it.