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Millwall chief executive: "We are not hanging anyone out to dry"

Julian Finney

Yesterday brought yet another twist to the Marvin Sordell abuse saga. A statement from the club's Fan on the Board, Peter Garston, made it clear that the boy banned by Millwall for verbally abusing Marvin Sordell from the stands as Bolton lost 2-1 away at the Den, did not bring race into it. Now, Millwall's chief executive, Andy Ambler admits that both Millwall and Bolton Wanderers should have made that fact clearer in their initial statement.

Speaking to News at Den, Ambler said:

"We are not hanging anyone out to dry. We're trying to help this boy. We haven't banned him for life - he's banned pending completion of a course that we do in local schools all of the time.

"He's admitted that he did abuse the player, but not racially. I want him to come back to Millwall as soon as possible and enjoy his football.

"We have to have some sort of sanction for what happened on that day. It's not a case of hanging him out to dry.

"Club officials and Peter Garston have met with the boy and his family this week. I think in due course we will update the fans as to what is going on, with the family's blessing.

"But let's draw this to a conclusion rather than escalate it."

Ambler is also well aware of the media (and, in a larger sense, the public's) perception of Millwall and is adamant that his club is not like that.

"We defended the club against a media that had portrayed us all as racist," he said. We've defended the club in the correct way.

"The FA applauded us instead of charging us. We're not going to let the authorities use us as a scapegoat.

"When this was all at its peak, racism was at the forefront of British football for a while. It would have been very easy for Millwall to be charged and prosecuted.

"We made sure that we weren't. Some people have to focus on how we defended the club and the fans, rather than one person."