Background

The Millwall’s Changing Communities project was triggered by media coverage of a memorial event in 2012.  This marked the death of a long-standing and highly regarded Millwall supporter known as Tiny. What struck me was that Tiny was black. To an outsider, being black and being Millwall would seem a contradiction. It was certainly strongly at odds with widely held popular images of what Millwall fans are all about. This question informed some of the project’s main themes.

What is the experience of a BAME supporter of a football club with a notoriously racist reputation? How has Millwall affiliation evolved?

Being a Millwall supporter provides a formal or informal membership of a fan community. A related question concerns the way Millwall affiliation provides access to other aspects of the neighbourhood community. Which doors does a Millwall fan identity open? And which are closed? How do the experiences of old and young BAME Millwall fans compare?
The next pages aim to answer some of these questions, mainly through the voices of some of those interviewed for the project.

By Dr Ole Jensen, PhD, Project Coordinator