Following Saturday’s 2-0 opening day victory over Leeds United, Millwall FC manager Ian Holloway stated he was “bursting with pride” in regards to his team’s performance. But he went on to say that the actions from a group of his own supporters during the match were “obscene”.
Holloway was referencing chants that goaded Leeds supporters about their city’s link to Jimmy Savile, the former radio/TV personality who was later implicated as a sex offender.
The Millwall manager said:
“I don’t think the chants were right because they’re disrespecting [Savile’s victims]. What he did is an absolute disgrace. Let’s stop and think about what he has actually done, yeah?”
“That’s the most important thing and we don’t see it. ‘Oh it’s a bit of banter’. It isn’t funny, is it? I don’t think so. Nobody likes a laugh more than me but I’m respectful, and that’s what I’m trying to show to Leeds United. They’re a great club, they come here with so many fans and want to be treated the same as anybody else.”
Holloway went on to say that those chants were just one example of the sort of bad-tasting fan antics he wants eradicated from football grounds.
The Lions boss continued: “It is a really, really important issue if football supporters think they can go into a ground and sing songs about someone who has had a crash and aren’t here anymore, how disrespectful is that?”
“It goes against what football is about and to me that is obscene. That brings football into disrepute. I’ve been fined for disrepute by the FA God knows how many times. But I try and get people to be respectful and that’s all I want to say.”
“I’ve said it before the game ‘please come to the game, please enjoy yourself, go home safely and here we go let’s have a look at how good our team is’. Surely that’s the way forward.”
He closed by calling Leeds United a “great club” and said: “They’ve got so many fans. If I had a chance, I’d have a beer with one or two of them if I could.”
Ian Holloway is one of the most colorful and passionate characters in English football. The 51-year-old started his career as a player for his hometown club Bristol Rovers in March 1981 and enjoyed a 19-year career as a footballer. He then moved on to management, where he twice led Championships sides to Premier League promotion (Blackpool-2010 and Crystal Palace-2013).
Holloway is a man who wears his pride on his sleeve and is not shy from sharing his thoughts on a variety of topics.