Fans blame each other for violence at the Den

MILLWALL and Liverpool fans have blamed each other for the violence which marred the Carling Cup third-round tie at The New Den.

Lions supporters have denied that chants about the Hillsborough disaster sparked the violence which led to seats being ripped out in the visitors’ section and four supporters - three from Liverpool and one from Millwall - being ejected from the ground.

Millwall’s official supporters group insisted yesterday Liverpool fans must shoulder the blame for the trouble, which the FA said they will officially investigate.

Liverpool fans alleged the violence was caused by chants from home fans about the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, when 96 fans died before the FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest.

But Joe Broadfoot, a board member of the Lions’ Trust - Millwall’s official supporters club, said: “I did not hear any chanting about Hillsborough, and nor did anybody around me, so it has come as a bit of a surprise to hear Liverpool fans claiming this.”

Police put on riot gear to prevent Liverpool fans reaching the pitch, and a disabled supporter at the edge of the field was injured.

Broadfoot added: “They are making an excuse for the events that took place in their end of the ground. If there was chanting, why did the TV microphones not pick it up, and why did none of the security staff hear it?”

Liverpool fans alleged a section of Millwall supporters chanted “You should have all died at Hillsborough”.

The FA plan to speak to both clubs and police, as well as reviewing the report of referee Alan Wiley.

A spokesman said: “The key factor is to get as many details as we can, rather than setting an unrealistic dateline.”

Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis claimed in a statement his club was the innocent party in last night’s events.

Paphitis said: “The facts are that Liverpool fans clashed with riot police in the lower tier of the North Stand and appeared to be attempting to get at Millwall supporters.

“The suggestion is that they were provoked by chanting referring to the Hillsborough tragedy, but there was no chanting of this nature that was clearly audible to the majority of people in the ground.”

Paphitis claimed the presence of a Liverpool supporter in the West Stand caused the violence to begin.

He added: “We are not prepared to be the scapegoats once again after all the work we have undertaken to try to put our own house in order.”

Despite the comments, Millwall fans have been branded a “disgrace”.

Hillsborough Families Support Group spokesman Phil Hammond said: “They are a disgrace. How can people chant like that about the dead?

“There were people in the Liverpool end who still have terrible memories of what happened at Hillsborough.”

Liverpool fans also claim they were taunted about Ken Bigley, who was recently murdered in Iraq.

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