Over the past few weeks the Trust have been in discussion with Millwall FC, British Transport Police, Met Police and the Millwall Supporters Trust in advance of our forthcoming away fixture following the seemingly avoidable events at the fixture over previous seasons. We are pleased to report that there has been progress between all parties involved in anticipation for our opening day fixture on Saturday 9th August, 3.00pm K.O..
Last season saw congestion and 'kettling' of our fans at London Bridge station, leading to many fans being bitten by Police Dogs. There has also been unacceptable chanting about the tragedy in Istanbul. The purpose of these discussions is to try to improve the match day experience of everyone attending, from both clubs.
The outcome of the discussion is as follows;
The station is still having a major overhaul and is still causing problems for passengers in general. There will be a Police presence at Kings Cross and London Bridge. British Transport Police (BTP) said the majority of pubs around London Bridge are welcoming of away fans.
The Trust asked about dog deployment, BTP said they would use all tactics depending on the scenario. We have stressed that we hope they consider their tactic in using this method of 'control' very carefully beforehand this year, especially when considering recent history.
The Trust also pointed out the 'kettling' onto one tiny platform last year causing frustration and pushing from the back causing surges and disorder as those at the front got bitten. The Trust have, therefore, agreed to assist with communication on the day in working with the BTP Match Commander using both LUST's and BTP's twitter accounts to communicate updates as they happen throughout the day. We encourage all supporters travelling on the day to watch for announcements to facilitate safe movement before and after the match.
We encourage all travelling support to consider that QPR, Spurs and West Ham all at home playing in pre-season friendlies on the same day so there could be cross over at Kings Cross.
The Club stated the biggest issue last year was flares by Leeds fans leading to two arrests and banning orders. The Trust asked for the Club to discourage fans from using Istanbul chants and for their ground staff and the Met to be proactive to prevent this from re-occurring.
The Trust will contact the Club before the match for updates which will be passed on through our social media.
Alcohol will be served up to kick off.
Parking around the ground is poor and it is recommended that anything on display indicating the vehicle belongs to Leeds fans is removed.
They have spoken to the Crown Prosecution Service regarding the chants. The advice given is it is not an offence. The Trust view is that any scenario must be examined in context, such as manner of behaviour, whether any other actions are involved rather than simply the words used.
The CPS did accept that throat slitting gestures and stabbing gestures are arrestable and 2 fans were arrested for this last year. The Met will try to get something in the programme notes regarding these chants. The Met were approachable and gave feedback that the call was of benefit.
The Millwall Trust were very approachable and gave assurances that they could get messages out to their members and are genuinely supportive of our work.
We are pleased to have been able to have these discussions and will continue to seek opportunities with other Clubs in the future during the 2014/15 season.
Our 'Away Days' section will be updated shortly with a guide for travel to the game.
Fans are reminded to use the 'Ask Steve' section on the Trust website to report any incidents before during and after the game.