On This Day in Football: Shortest game in League history, Kenilworth Road Riots

On this day in 1899, Sheffield Wednesday and Aston Villa played the shortest recorded game of football in the history of the Football League.

The two teams had actually met four months ago in November, 1898. The game was abandoned after 79 minutes because of bad lighting. The League officials scheduled the rest of the 11 minutes to be played in March, 1899. The pointless game started with Wednesday leading by three goals to one. Eleven minutes later, they won 4-1.

Kenilworth Road Riots

On this day in 1985, the Kenilworth Road riots took place during an FA Cup sixth round tie between Luton Town and Millwall.

The 1980s saw the worst of football hooliganism in English football and the Millwall Bushwackers were one of the most notorious hooligan firms in the country. It is believed that the visiting Millwall fans began the riots after just 14 minutes. The referee seeing the crowd trouble getting worse, took the teams off in the 25th minute.

The match was continued a few minutes later and Luton’s Brian Stein put his team ahead in the 31st minute. The match finished 1-0. As the referee blew the final whistle, fans invaded the pitch and a full scale riot erupted on the Kenilworth Road pitch. Seats were ripped out from the stands and used as weapons.

“As a life-long Millwall supporter I could stand in disbelief as I watched the riots and I felt like crying. Children around me clung to their parents in fear; women and pensioners vowed never to go to a football match again,” wrote Jim Murray in a London newspaper.

“The scenes before me were ones of open bloody warfare… I was reminded of the Brixton riots. As a true Millwall fan it was impossible not to feel shame, not to feel sorrow for the game of football. And not to despair at how low life had sunk; for these were not fans, they were not people, they were animals.”

Nearly a hundred people were injured.

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