A former Millwall hooligan has revealed the club with the “hardest firm” he ever confronted. “Ginger Bob” was a leader of the notorious hooligan gang Millwall Bushwackers in the 1970s and 80s.
“Ginger Bob”, who joined the Bushwackers when he was 15, shared his memories of football hooliganism on the podcast James English’s Anything Goes.
He pointed to the one club which in his opinion had the “toughest firm” he ever faced.
The ex-hooligan said: “I’ve got to give it to Cardiff City. Cardiff had an around three to four thousand strong firm, while Millwall, with around 300, had nowhere to run.
“My mates thought they were going to die. The best row I had ever seen was on March 18, 1976.”
“Ginger Bob” explained how 300 Millwall Bushwackers faced 2,000 City hooligans.
He recalled: “Some of our people were getting stabbed. One of my friends got captured by Cardiff and he was being beaten to death… so I’ve gone back into Cardiff’s firm and pulled him along the floor.”
Thanks to an adrenaline rush, “Ginger Bob” managed to get his pal away from danger.
He said: “When we got back to the station Cardiff’s firm and the police were all laughing.”
Officers ordered the Bushwackers to get on the empty train, though only 50 did.
Bob then delivered a “Council of War” speech, telling the rest to get back to Cardiff’s mob and “kick them”.
The warring groups then went head to head, with 250 Bushwackers against 2,000 raging Welshmen.
“Ginger Bob” said: “We kicked the gates in, ran riot and smashed all the pubs up.
“The police had to come back and force us back. That was the day before my 18th birthday. It was just like the Wild West.”
Millwall has had a reputation for hooliganism for decades, though the club, which is eyeing a place in the Championship play offs this season, has shrugged off its past.
This includes the Kenilworth Road riot which saw bricks and bottles thrown, fighting in the stands and pitch invasions as Millwall faced Luton Town in an FA Cup sixth round match in 1985. It led to the authorities clamping down on football hooliganism.
But violence has continued to erupt on occasion. In 2002, hundreds of hooligans ran riot after Millwall lost a play-off to Birmingham City.
Then Millwall chairman Theo Paphitis defended the club, saying it could not be blamed for the actions of a mindless minority attaching themselves to the club.
In 2009, 20 people were injured as Millwall and West Ham fans clashed outside the Hammers’ Upton Park ground.
The FA, Premier League and EFL introduced new measures and stronger sanctions across the game last year in a bid to tackle increased anti-social and criminal behaviour.
Actions targeted pitch invasions, smoke bombs, pyrotechnics, throwing objects, drug use and discriminatory behaviour.
Offenders are reported by clubs to the police with prosecution possibly leading to a prison sentence.
The FA also announced a tougher charging and sanctioning policy for clubs, which are expected to reinforce the measures.
Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said: “Everyone should feel safe and able to enjoy a football match.”