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Rivals, The Offbeat Guide To The 92 League Clubs, is one of the best derby books available.

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 Atmosphere report

Millwall FC - West Ham United (4-1)
Nationwide League Division 1, 21 March 2004
Stadium : New Den
Attendance : 14.055

It's been a decade since I've been to see West Ham play at Millwall, and I hope it's another decade until I have to go again.

I rarely get nervous going to derbies, but on this occasion I have to admit that I was. The vehemence of the hatred both sets of fans feel for each other, magnified by the result, made it impossible to actually enjoy the game.

Games between West Ham and Millwall have been notoriously bad tempered since the bad old days of the 1970s, when hooliganism was a major problem in England. The fact that we hadn't played each other for ten years didn't lessen the almost unique (in London at least) sense of loathing the two sets
of supporters feel for each other.

This spilled over to the extent that the baiting by the home fans caused the West Ham fans to break up seats and
throw them at the Millwall fans, which led to police in riot gear and horses coming on to the edge of the pitch to stand between us and them, which is also something I'd never experienced at a football match before.

I've been to derby games, but never been caught up in a charge by my own fans towards the opposition. To some up the atmosphere in a single word, I would have to say simply that it was poisonous.

Report added : 06 April 2004
Report by : Phillip Barlow
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