Friday, August 25, 2017

25 August 2009 - It's Like The Seventies All Over Again

On 25 August 2009, violence marred a match between West Ham and Millwall in their first meeting for over four years.

Separated by only five miles and the River Thames, the two London teams have a longstanding rivalry that dates back to their first meeting in 1897 (when West Ham were still known as Thames Ironworks). Their respective supporter groups have a history of clashes, including an outbreak of fighting at the 1972 testimonial for Harry Cripps, who had played for both teams, and a 1976 clash at New Cross Station that resulted in the death of Millwall supporter Ian Pratt, who fell under a train.

Before the 2009 meeting, the two teams had last played each other in April 2004, the sixth match in an unbeaten run for Millwall that stretched back to November 1992. Then the League Cup paired them for a second-round meeting at West Ham's Upton Park.

Neil Harris gave the visitors a 26th-minute lead, which they held for most of the match. But West Ham's Junior Stanislas equalized in the 87th minute, sending the home supporters into a frenzy and sparking a pitch invasion. In extra time, Stanislas scored again, this time from the penalty spot in the 98th minute, resulting in another invasion. Zavon Hines added a third for West Ham in the 100th minute to set the final margin at 3-1.

Fighting broke out both inside and outside the stadium, with at least twenty people getting injured and a 44-year old Millwall fan going to the hospital with a stab wound. Supporters clashed with each other and the police clashed for several hours, resulting in several arrests.

Afterward, the Football Association found West Ham guilty of failing to restrain their supporters and fined the club £115,000.

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