Millwall Football Club statement following arrests as violence erupts between Birmingham City and Millwall fans
Millwall Football Club have issued a statement after five people were arrested when fights broke out in the city following yesterday’s match between Birmingham City and the London club. West Midlands Police have warned further arrests will be made.
The force said bricks, bottles and other objects had been used as weapons in hotspots around Digbeth and other areas between the stadium and New Street station.
Millwall Football Club has now issued a statement on the violence. The club said: “The club is assisting the police and other authorities in their investigation into the disorder involving the two groups of supporters after the end of Saturday’s match. Anyone found guilty of such offenses will receive an indefinite ban from matches at home and away.”
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BirminghamLive has approached Birmingham City Football Club for a statement.
Before the start of the match, a 60-year-old Millwall fan was seriously injured in an attack in front of his family near St Andrews Stadium. West Midlands Police immediately launched an investigation following the attack in Cattell Road at around 3pm yesterday (Saturday April 23).
A 30-year-old man from Smethwick was arrested shortly after in connection with the incident and taken into custody.
The victim, a Millwall Football Club fan, remains in hospital. Police said it is believed the man, from London, was with his family and had just arrived at St Andrews ahead of the Millwall game when he was assaulted.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson added that the motive for the attack was unknown. Investigations have already seen CCTV in the area examined and forensic examinations are taking place. Officers are supporting the man’s family. The spokesperson added that the force was working closely with the two football clubs.
West Midlands Police said officers had to use their shields and fire their batons while wearing their public order helmets to control crowds in chilling scenes after the game. Five men have been arrested on suspicion of a variety of offenses including non-recent offenses at football matches, racism, violent disorder and public order offences.
Police have urged anyone involved to go to their local police station to speak to officers as they have warned further arrests will be made while CCTV is reviewed.
Around 150 seats inside St Andrew’s Stadium were also vandalized during the game. This is also under study.
A West Midlands Police spokesperson said: “We have arrested five people after fighting in Birmingham today (Saturday April 23) following the Birmingham City v Millwall game. We had a large operation in place to the match, but incidents broke out in a large area of the city.
“The level of violence – which our officers have put themselves in the middle of to protect people – has required some of our officers to wear public order helmets, use shields and draw their batons, while continually warning people We understand how the scene may have frightened people who had nothing to do with the violence.
“Our Football Police Unit and CID Force detectives have opened a joint investigation. They are working closely with football clubs and supporter groups.
“Further arrests will take place in the coming weeks which means anyone involved should go to their local police station immediately to explain what happened. Witnesses have been interviewed and CCTV is being reviewed alongside images published online.”
Chief Superintendent Ian Parnell (pictured), said: ‘It is important to remember that despite the disruption of these incidents and the fear they caused to others, the behavior of these people represented a minority. The violent behavior was unacceptable and we will do everything possible to find those responsible so that they can be punished appropriately by the courts.
“We are always pushing for the maximum penalty and we are supported by the clubs in this. Most fans just want to enjoy the game but a minority today spoiled the majority. In addition to the impact of criminal convictions on jobs, future careers, travel rights and more, those convicted of football-related crimes risk a lifetime ban from all matches.
“There was a big operation in place for the three games today. Officers across the West Midlands have been called in to help, supported by dog units, drone teams and others, and have days off cancelled. The clubs have each been involved in creating and supporting these plans.
“Our preparations have enabled us to successfully stop many incidents before they start and most people will never know about it. The security plans and the bravery of our officers have also enabled us to quickly regain control in the multiple sporadic locations covering a large area where people intended to resort to violence.
Three men were arrested during the Walsall FC game against Port Vale FC. Two of them were detained for a short period to prevent a violation of public order while the third was arrested on suspicion of having raised fears of violence. No incidents were reported during the game between West Bromwich Albion and Coventry City.
Police have asked anyone involved in any of the incidents to contact them via live chat on their website. Alternatively, people can call the Crime Stoppers charity anonymously on 0800 555 111.