Millwall’s win in Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round contest over Luton Town made news for reasons good and bad.
There was big drama around this one all along. Millwall participates in England’s second tier; Luton Town resides for now in England’s fifth tier, somewhere between a fully professional and an amateur team.
As such, many were keeping fingers crossed for yet another upset. Luton was striving to become the first non-league team – that is, a team not currently in one of England’s four Football League top tiers – to reach the FA Cup sixth round in 99 years. Queens Park Rangers was the last to do so, way back in 1914.
Luton made a little history along the way as the first non-league team to beat a club from England’s top division in FA Cup action in 24 years, getting by Norwich City in the fourth round last month.
But the dreams died as the bigger club won, with Millwall running out a comfortable 3-0 win, advancing into the final eight of England’s storied all-comers competition.
The bad memories?
There was trouble, although nothing like the violence around the previous meeting of these clubs, back during a very different time in the game, back in 1985. Police were prepared this time with a massive presence as a deterrent. Officers from six policing bodies combined to ensure security.
Good thing, too. Who knows how this might have spun out of control had police not be wisely apportioned.
As it was, police reported a “a short stand-off” between opposing fans and seven arrests following Saturday’s contest.