It was on this day in 1985 that the FA Cup Sixth Round tie between Luton Town and Millwall made international news. Sadly, the publicity had nothing to do with the game. It was the behaviour of the fans that took the limelight.
Before the match, there had been trouble out in the streets of Luton. All sorts of carnage being left around Kenilworth Road and a Football Special train was trashed by fans. Inside Luton’s ground, the away terrace had become dangerously overcrowded. The match wasn’t all-ticket and the Millwall fans weren’t happy. Some began climbing over the fences that surrounded the terrace and the police had a lot more to contend with.
Fans then ran onto the pitch from all sides of the ground, causing the game to be held up for 25 minutes. Millwall fans ripped out seats from the stand and threw them at police during running battles on the pitch.
The match finally restarted and Luton won the game 1-0. A knife was also thrown from the away terrace at Luton goalkeeper Les Sealey! This wasn’t the end of the trouble as fans went on the rampage once more after leaving the ground. In all, over 80 people were injured over the course of the evening, many of them police officers.
Luton Town took the unprecedented step of banning away fans from Kenilworth Road from the start of the following season. This ban lasted four years until it was finally lifted in 1989. The Football Association took a dim view of this decision to ban away fans and prevented the club from entering the League Cup in 1985/86.
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