- Metropolitan Police plan heavy presence as Chelsea under-18s travel to Millwall
- The rivals have not met at The Den since a series of clashes in January 1995.
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A heavy police presence will accompany Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup quarter-final match on Wednesday night as they travel to Millwall, reigniting a fierce rivalry that comes with a history of violence.
It is believed to be the first time since January 1995 that a Chelsea team has traveled to The Den. That match, a goalless draw in the FA Cup, was used by mounted police to separate hooligans inside the stadium before a replay at Stamford Bridge led to even more extraordinary clashes.
This rivalry was depicted in the 2004 film The Football Factory and, although the threat of hooliganism in English football has diminished over time, the Metropolitan Police say they have a plan for this fixture between the clubs’ under-18 teams.
The Met declined to reveal details when asked on Tuesday, although thousands of fans are expected to flock to The Den, which seats 20,000. Chelsea received a visiting allowance in 1956 at a cost of £5 per adult and £1 for under-16s.
These two teams also met in the FA Youth Cup quarter-finals in 2020 at Stamford Bridge, although capacity for that match was limited to 2,700 in the hope of reducing the risk of crowd trouble.
The Metropolitan Police plans their presence when Chelsea visit Millwall in the Youth Cup
The Chelsea under-18 coach warned his young players to expect a hostile welcome.
It is the first time a Chelsea team has traveled to Millwall’s The Den since January 1995.
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Millwall formally complained about that stance at the time, and it appears no restrictions were placed on this Wednesday night clash at The Den.
Chelsea Under 18s coach Hassan Sulaiman warned his young players to expect a hostile welcome, saying on Tuesday: “We always talk about development and this is it – this is what you need to get to where you want to be.”
“They’re not playing in front of 60,000 fans yet, but in a couple of years some of them will.” So no matter how many fans show up, the guys have to be prepared for a hostile environment and have to make sure they are ready to perform. I’m sure they will be.