Sweet not expecting any crowd trouble as Town host Millwall

Town managing director Gary SweetTown managing director Gary Sweet
Town managing director Gary Sweet
Hatters managing director Gary Sweet isn’t anticipating any crowd problems during the FA Cup fifth round tie with Millwall on Saturday, writes Mike Simmonds.

It will be the first time Town have hosted the Lions in an FA Cup match at Kenilworth Road since 1985 which was ruined by one of the worst scenes of football hooliganism.

The two sides have met 27 times since then though and Sweet is confident there will be no repeat of the scenes witnessed on that black day.

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He said: “It was inevitable it was going to get that bit of highlight as it’s the first time we’ve played Millwall in the FA Cup since.

“In the media we do recall those moments from that era and I think we’ve moved on socially in this country. Two generations have gone since then.

“There’s a lot more regulations in football, football stadia are safer environments thankfully, it will be a safe environment on Saturday.

“I don’t think we welcome remembering 1985 as it is something we would rather forget, but we knew it was going to be raised and we’re happy to make sure people are aware we are handling it properly with our eyes wide open and are confident it will go smoothly.”

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On how the club are preparing to combat any trouble that should arise, Sweet, who confirmed there will be more police in operation on the day, continued: “It will be the same measures we would have for any other big game. I don’t really see this being any different to the Wolves game in terms of security operation because it’s the same number of people, the same number of away fans, every single supporter from Millwall is going to be a season ticket holder.

“We don’t see any reason why there is going to be any more of an atmosphere or more potential for danger than we had at the Wolves game, that went incredibly smoothly.

“There are of course other measures we are looking at around the stadium and outside that the police are fully aware of and we’re supportive of. Our eyes are wide open, let’s look at that and make sure that not just people in the stadium are safe, but others too.”

Millwall’s fans have recently been his by claims of racism after Sky Sports’ footage showed supporters abusing Leeds striker El Hadji Diouf.

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Lions chief executive Andy Ambler said: “Like all Millwall fans and football fans generally, we’re appalled by the footage we’ve seen.

“Clearly that behaviour is unacceptable in any football ground in the country.”

Again though, Sweet believe that all measures have been taken to ensure nothing of that manner will taint Town’s big day.

He added: “We’ve been in contact with Millwall daily, we’ve had an executive meeting with Millwall here and we get on with Millwall as two football clubs.

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“I know they’re working very, very hard to move that image and to get rid of what they seem to attract. Sometimes they take two steps forward and get hit by a dart in the back which pulls them back a little bit every so often which is a real shame.

“That’s an issue with Millwall to deal with. We thankfully do not have a racism issue at Luton Town Football Club.

“We’re quite proud of the fact that we’ve got quite a harmonious group of supporters, and I have no reason to believe that won’t be the case on Saturday.

“I think every person that walks in the ground from either side we know are regular supporters of either football club.

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“They’ll be looking to represent their football club and that’s why I don’t think they’ll be any specific issues. We’ve spoken about the issues, it’s a dynamic issue, but when it comes to 12.45 on Saturday, their focus of attention will be supporting the 11 out there.”

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